19 September 2016 – Expansión
Take advantage of the improvement that the Spanish real estate sector is enjoying to increase the value of its Spanish jewel. That is the objective that the Philippine group Emperador has set itself. The company, which specialises in the sale of alcoholic drinks, erupted onto the real estate market in November with its purchase of the Torre Espacio skyscraper, measuring 235m tall and with a surface area of 60,000 sqm, located in the Cuatro Torres complex in Madrid.
Emperador fought off other candidates that have more experience in the Spanish property market, by offering Grupo Villar Mir €558 million. Ten months later, the Philippine group has launched an ambitious marketing campaign, which includes a new name (Torrespacio versus the original Torre Espacio), with the aim of achieving a 100% occupancy rate in the tower (it is currently around 85% full).
“We want to boost the campaign launched in 2015 when we saw an upturn in office rental prices in Madrid”, explains Eduardo Corral, the CEO of Torre Espacio Gestión, the company (belonging to Grupo Villar Mir) that has been responsible for managing the skyscraper since it was constructed. Its role has not changed as a result of the change in ownership. “The Emperador Group has not asked us to do anything new and although it was not included in the sale and purchase contract, our long-term management contract remains in place”, said Corral.
The managers of Torrespacio are looking for new tenants to occupy the available space, measuring 8,800 sqm, at a time when office rental prices in Madrid are experiencing a slight increase; they amount to €27.50/sqm/month in the prime office area (CBD) of the city. “We are reviewing our rents, but we are in line with market prices”, says the CEO of Torre Espacio Gestión.
The prices are well below €45/sqm/month that the first tenants paid for the same skyscraper, which is 57-storeys high. “In 2009, we started to fill the building, and we achieved a 70% occupancy rate, but in 2008, we already had preliminary rental agreements, and, despite the crisis, we have achieved an 85% occupancy rate”.
Since it was opened, the main tenant of Torrespacio has been Grupo Villar Mir, something that has not been affected by the change of owner. “Villar Mir continues its commitment to lease the property and, so do the other tenants. The next lease contract is not due to expire for three years”.
The future tenants will not only be neighbours of Villar Mir, but also of the British, Dutch, Canadian and Australian embassies, the tobacco company BAT, Red Bull, Ubi and the Emperador group itself, which has opened its Madrilenian offices on the 28th floor of the skyscraper. “They are just finishing their move”, confirms Corral. Before the arrival of Emperador, the most recent tenant to move into the tower was the Chinese group Qbao, who moved in at the beginning of the year.
Of the available space, there is just one floor left in the top third of the building (the 44th floor), four floors in the middle section (floors 31, 29, 27 and 23) and two half floors. “We have one of the best buildings in Madrid and Europe, and the companies that move in will enjoy services such as a gym, a hairdresser, facility services, three restaurants and a chapel”.
Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)
Translation: Carmel Drake