Barclays Puts Its HQ In Madrid Up For Sale

5 October 2016 – El Confidencial

An iconic building in a unique location. That is the key selling point for Plaza de Colón, 1, the address of Barclay’s headquarters in Spain and the building that the British entity has decided to put up for sale in an operation that symbolises the bank’s downfall in the country.

The British entity has launched a process to sell the building for an amount that, depending on the bids received, could reach €55 million. In exchange, Barclays undertakes to remain as the sole tenant for a year, which will allow the new owner to lease the building to a new firm once it has completed the necessary renovation. Several sources familiar with the deal say that CBRE has exclusive rights to this operation, but neither the consultancy firm nor the bank have made any comments in this regard.

This divestment is the perfect finale to a real estate strategy that started to take shape two years ago, when Barclays sold its retail business to CaixaBank for €820 million. The British entity left this building outside of that transaction, as part of a reorganisation of its assets in Spain that followed the agreement with the Catalan bank.

In the specific case of the headquarters in Colón, the sale of the property by the former subsidiary (Barclays Bank SAU) to the mother ship in London was recorded at €15 million, an amount that will now allow the entity to recognise significant gains from its sale.

Following the agreement with CaixaBank, Barclays has limited its operations in Spain to activities involving investment and corporate banking, areas in which the entity hopes to gain market share in the future.

In fact, an official spokesperson acknowledged that “Barclays has started to explore the option of putting the building it owns in Colón up for sale”, and explained that the reason is that “we are considering the possibility of relocating the headquarters to a site that offers a better service in terms of facilities, technology and comfort, and which is tailored to the investment and corporate banking businesses that the bank is now focusing on and wanting to grow in Spain”.

End of an era

Barclays, which was ranked as the sixth largest entity in the country in its hey day when it purchased the former bank Zaragozano, took ownership of this three storey building two decades ago, when it acquired Banco Valladolid.

Now, with its sale, the bank is looking to take advantage of the strong investor appetite that currently exists in the Spanish real estate market. This interest is barely being met on the supply side, given that all buyers are complaining about the lack of quality buildings for sale along the Castellana thoroughfare, the most prime area in Madrid.

In this context, Plaza de Colón is experiencing a real metamorphosis, given that besides this operation, Mutua Madrileña has received several offers for its famous Torres de Colón, whilst BPA holds in its hands the future of the former headquarters of Banco Madrid.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake