15 January 2018 – Eje Prime
Carlos Slim has changed his mind about Torre Realia in Barcelona. The real estate company owned by the Mexican magnate has decided to suspend the sales process of its most iconic asset in the Catalan capital, according to explanations provided by sources close to the process. Realia has received offers for more than the asking price (€140 million), however, the company has decided not to sell, citing changes in the company’s strategy.
Last June, Realia entrusted JLL and BNP Paribas with the mandate to sell this asset, equivalent to Torre Kio in Madrid. The tower is located in one of the fastest growing areas of the Catalan capital in terms of the office sector, in Plaza Europa, which is set to become the city’s new business district.
Although sources at the group claim that the decision is linked to a change in strategy, given that the offers that Realia had on the table were “higher than the price set by the real estate group”, it seems that the political situation and the climate of instability may have also been triggers for Slim’s group to decide to postpone the sale to a later date.
Realia’s trophy asset in Barcelona has 24 floors and a surface area of 31,960 m2, as well as 399 parking spaces. The property, which comprises two buildings, was designed by the architect Toyo Ito, in collaboration with Fermín Vázquez, from the B720 Arquitectos studio. Torre Realia is 110 m tall and its ground floor houses a shopping arcade that joins the two towers.
In terms of its real estate activity, at the end of the first half of 2017, Realia primarily owned offices and shopping centres for rent, which spanned a combined surface area of 405,842 m2 and had an occupancy rate of 93.5%. Moreover, at that time, it also owned an asset measuring 18,324 m2, in the form of the Los Cubos building in Madrid, which it ended up selling to the French group Therus for €52 million.
Realia’s stock of offices for rent spans a surface area of 226,729 m2, with an occupancy rate of 94.7%. Moreover, the company owns 41 residential plots for family homes, destined for self-promotion, which it has put up for sale. Realia’s current land portfolio spans a buildable surface area of 1,851,392 m2, of which 49% is located in Madrid and the central region of Spain, according to data from the group.
Plaza Europa, on the rise
The sale of Torre Realia comes at a time when the area in which it is located is enjoying a real boom. As the headquarters of KPMG in Barcelona, Realia’s asset has seen its value rise in recent months thanks to the large number of operations that have been closed in this enclave and to the growing number of large corporations that are moving their head offices to this new financial district, in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.
One of the main players in the area is the Puig family, which has joined forces with the Catalan Socimi Colonial to build a 14,000 m2 tower at Plaza Europa 46, right opposite Grupo Puig’s corporate headquarters, which it just purchased from BBVA for around €60 million.
Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)
Translation: Carmel Drake