El Corte Inglés Should Receive Approval for Madrid Mega-Centre in March

23 December 2017 – Expansión

Three years have passed since El Corte Inglés acquired the most sought-after plot of land in Madrid, a space measuring 13,000 m2, located on Paseo de la Castellana. The group paid €136 million to be awarded the land, previously owned by Adif, in a deal that involved an initial payment of €68 million, followed by the disbursement of the remaining amount three years later. And that is also how long it has taken for El Corte Inglés to process the paperwork to allow it to expand the jewel in its crown, its Castellana shopping centre. According to sources familiar with the process, in January, the Town Hall of Madrid will submit its approval of the definitive plan to the central Spanish Government (…). According to the same sources, if all goes according to plan, El Corte Inglés will receive the green light to expand its Castellana megacentre in March, or, in any case, before the summer.

A complex project

The wait of more than three years to unblock the project has been due to a mix of complexity and bad luck. The urban planning proposal for the land established a total buildable surface area of 35,192 m2, of which 10,176 m2 corresponded to three above-ground storeys for tertiary use and 25,000 m2 to four underground basement floors for parking.

This proposal was very complex given the location of the land, located as it is, right on top of the Nuevos Ministerios Metro and Renfe stations (…).

Once it has been given the green light, it is likely that El Corte Inglés, which declined to comment, will not take long to start the building work to expand its Castellana centre. Its flagship store in the Spanish capital spans a surface area of more than 170,000 m2, with 70,000 m2 of retail space spread over seven floors and 1,600 underground parking spaces. More than 3,000 people work there.

According to sources in the sector, El Corte Inglés will also take the opportunity (of the construction of the new building) to reorganise the retail space that it owns in Nuevos Ministerios, and which includes its stores located between number 83 and 85 Paseo de la Castellana, which it sold to the real estate firm Monthisa in September 2016 through a sale and leaseback agreement (…).

Premium fashion and gastronomy

The marketing and design of the new retail space that El Corte Inglés is preparing to build on the land acquired from Adif is being carried out with the utmost secrecy by the retailer, which has refused to hire real estate agents like normally happens in these types of projects (…).

The most likely course of action is that it will create a premium space to house luxury brands and the highest-level gastronomy – although that is not the only possibility that the retail chain is currently contemplating -. That would strengthen one of the main objectives of its star centre: to attract tourist shoppers in the capital (…).

Original story: Expansión (by V. Osorio and R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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