31 May 2016 – Cinco Días
Domo Gestora has submitted an offer to acquire the historical Edificio España as part of the sale process that the Chinese group Dalian Wanda currently has underway. Three sources close to the operation have confirmed the bid, but it is expected that the company will have to compete with other interested parties.
The sale of Edificio España is being managed by the consultancy firm JLL, which declined to comment on the process. The intermediary closed the first deadline for the presentation of non-binding offers last Friday, 27 May 2016. Over the next few weeks, the Chinese group will analyse the offers it has received for the building, in which Wanda had planned to open a hotel and luxury homes, as well as a shopping arcade. The plan is to finalise the sale before August. Domo is one of the possible candidates to take over the property and is expected to form an alliance with a hotel partner or other investor, whose identity has not been revealed.
Domo is a medium-sized company that specialises in the management of housing cooperatives. According to the sources familiar with the transaction, it could become the perfect local partner to take over the renovation and marketing of the apartments. The management firm has been in the news recently for its involvement in Residencial Maravillas, a luxury housing development on Calle Raimundo Fernández Villaverde (in Madrid), where work has not started yet and whose approval divided the municipal Ahora Madrid government.
The sources consulted understand that Wanda lost interest in this Madrilenian project after it was unable to carry out its renovation plans, which involved demolishing the property to rebuild it from scratch in keeping with the original style. After the plans were rejected by the Administration, the company decided to withdraw its complex renovation plans. The group purchased the 1950s building from Santander for €265 million in 2014. Domo is thought to have been inspired by a proposal put forward by the architect Carlos Rubio Carvajal, who submitted a more respectful design to the financial institution.
In addition to Domo’s offer, sources in the sector indicate that other investors, who were potentially interested in the building initially, have also analysed this operation, however, it is not known whether they have submitted bids in the end or not. The other parties include the Chinese fund Fosum, the Hong Kong-based firm Platinum Estates, the Philippine group Emperador – which recently acquired Torre Espacio from the Villar Mir Group -, the US fund Hines and the insurance company Axa, which declined to comment on its involvement in the sale. Both Wanda and JLL are maintaining the utmost confidentiality surrounding this transaction.
Experts in the sector indicate that Wanda will only be interested in selling the property if the consideration offered exceeds the €265 million it paid in 2014. Meanwhile, the Asian group is continuing its negotiations with the Town Hall regarding the handling of the renovation work, given that the property would be worth more if the group manages to obtain the necessary building permits.
Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón)
Translation: Carmel Drake