5 September 2016 – Expansión
Along the one-hundred year old Gran Vía, fashion houses and hotels are now competing with restaurants, cafes, theatres and cinemas to occupy space on the sought-after street in Madrid. The thoroughfare was known as the Madrilenian Broadway in its heyday, thanks to the profusion of cinemas and theatres that it housed and which, to a lesser extent, still remain today.
In the race to set up shop on the busiest thoroughfare in Madrid, the largest brands and more contemporary designer hotels now occupy buildings that were formerly inhabited by banks, insurance companies and large cinemas.
In this sense, the size of the buildings on Gran Vía, makes them more attractive assets for fashion chains to house their large flagship stores than, for example, the properties on Calle Preciados. According to a calculation by the consultancy firm CBRE, in 2014 and 2015, real estate investment on the street amounted to €1,100 million.
Undoubtedly, the most significant operation in recent years was Pontegadea’s purchase of the property at Gran Vía, 32 in January 2015. The investment arm of Amancio Ortega, the founder and majority shareholder of the retail giant Inditex, paid €400 million for the asset. And that is the building that Primark chose to locate its flagship store, which occupies five storeys over 12,400 sqm. The megastore has become a tourist attraction in itself and there were traffic jams and queues at its doors during the first few months after its opening.
Following this example, other brands have opened stores on Gran Vía in the last year. For example, the fashion accessory chain Parfois and the Spanish jewellery firm Tous, have taken up residence at numbers 42 and 38, respectively. In addition, the cosmetics firm Nyx and the sports brand Adidas both opened new stores at numbers 21 and 36 of the Madrilenian street in the spring of 2016.
Moreover, the stretch of Gran Vía that runs from Plaza de Callao to Plaza de España has been revitalised in recent months, with the arrival of the gift and accessories chain Ale-hop at number 74, the perfume store Druni, at number 61 and Axa’s purchase of the Rex cinema building.
The future renovation of that building, alongside the refurbishment of the controversial Edificio España, which has changed hands several times in the last two years, will also help to reactivate this final stretch of the street.
Other important transactions on Gran Vía have involved the premises at number 44, measuring 500 sqm. That property, which used to house a branch of Bankia, was acquired by Hines at the beginning of the year from the Baraka group – the current owner of Edificio España – for almost €40 million. Meanwhile, the Socimi Saint Croix acquired another property on Gran Vía – specifically the building located at number 55 – for €13 million in March this year.
The size of the buildings on Gran Vía makes them ideal properties for flagship stores.
Original story: Expansión (by R.Arroyo)
Translation: Carmel Drake