Mastercard & Commerzbank Move Into Torre de Cristal

13 September 2016 – El Confidencial

The Cuatro Torres district is the new “City” in Madrid and is one of the areas where the leading real estate players have been operating with the most intensity over the last two years. The company chaired by Ignacio Garralda, Mutua Madrileña, fired the starting gun in February 2015, when it signed an agreement with KPMG to lease 18 floors in the Torre de Cristal, a third of the entire building, in an operation that allowed it to boost its occupancy rate from 42% to 70%.

Just four months later, Grupo Villar Mir put Torre Espacio up for sale, which the Philippine Group Emperador ended up buying for €558 million. By then, the skyscraper where PwC has its headquarters – the black tower that is also home to the Eurostars Hotel – had already changed hands, thanks to Merlin’s acquisition of Testa, and the sheikh Khadem al Qubaisi had already started putting the feelers out to sell Torre Cepsa, the skyscraper for which Amancio Ortega has offered to pay €490 million, according to El Confidencial.

Amidst this game of Monopoly being played out at the north of Paseo de la Castellana, two overseas financial entities, Mastercard and Commerzbank, have decided to transfer their offices to Torre de Cristal, the highest building in Spain, which measures 250m tall and contains 52 floors.

The credit card company has already moved into the skyscraper, whilst the German bank is currently undertaking refurbishment work ahead of its move before the end of the year.

But these two entities are not the only ones who have decided to move into the building owned by Mutua Madrileña. In recent months, following the arrival of KPMG with its 1,900 professionals, Torre de Cristial has seen a significant increase in the number of itstenants, after sealing several agreements with companies such as Red Hat, Cerner and Gesternova, which has allowed it to increase its occupancy rate to more than 82% and lease out a further 5,000 sqm.

Hardly any free floors left

The direct impact of the appetite for these skyscrapers from tenants and owners alike means that there are hardly any free floors left in the Cuatro Torres district (…).

Tower Sacyr (now owned by Merlin) is the only fully occupied tower, but it had to drastically reduce its rental prices to reach an agreement with PwC in 2011, during the worst years of the crisis, in order to acheive that.

Bankia also demanded that Cepsa occupy 100% of Torre Foster, but the oil company has now decided to put eight vacant floors up for rent. Those floors have a surface area of 13,000 sqm, a figure that is slightly higher than the 10,200 sqm that is also being marketed in Torre Espacio, the skyscraper where the main tenant is Grupo Villar Mir, which occupies half of the building.

These numbers show that the average occupancy figure for the Cuatro Torres district now exceeds 80%, a ratio that it has reached at a time when Azca, the traditional financial district in Madrid, is seeing a significant number of its properties undergo profound transformations.

The Cuatro Torres area will be further consolidated as a business centre with the upcoming construction of the so-called Fifth Tower, a skyscraper being developed by Grupo Villar Mir, in partnership with the fund Corestate, which Instituto de Empresa will occupy along with the health group Quirón, according to experts.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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