13 January 2017 – Cinco Días
The company General Aguas de Barcelona has sold Torre Agbar to Merlin Properties for €142 million. As such, the project announced by Emin Capital in 2013 to convert the property into a luxury hotel has been abandoned, given the difficulties involved. In theory, the plan was for a hotel to be opened there and managed by Hyatt, but the hotel moratorium imposed by the mayoress Ada Colau made that project impossible, according to sources at the fund.
In the end, Merlin pipped the Andorran investor group Emin at the post and purchased the iconic skyscraper, which will be used for office space. As such, the Socimi will not need to request any change in its designated use. Meanwhile, yesterday, Emin asked the Town Hall of Barcelona to cancel the request it had filed to change the designated use of the building to allow it to open a hotel.
Located at number 211 on Avenida Diagonal, the building designed by Jean Nouvel has become a symbol of the city and marks the entrance to Barcelona’s technological district, 22@. The pace of activity in the office market in the district has caused the number of operations to double in the last two years, establishing it as the city’s business hub.
At 142 m, Torre Agbar is the third tallest building in the city and has a gross leasable area of 37,614m2, spread over 34 floors and an auditorium with capacity for more than 350 people. In addition, it has 300 parking spaces on four underground floors and until July 2015, it housed the headquarters of Aguas de Barcelona.
Merlin – listed on the Ibex 35 – is the largest Socimi in Spain. It has a portfolio of assets worth €9,600 million, following its acquisition of Testa from Sacyr and the integration of Metrovacesa’s portfolio of commercial properties. Its main shareholders include Santander and BBVA, as well as international funds.
The company, led by Ismael Clemente, sold 19 hotels to Foncière des Regions for €535 million at the end of December, given that that type of property does not form part of its strategy. It has announced that it will allocate the resources raised to reducing its debt and to possible acquisitions. It also revealed that it wants to grow its presence in Barcelona, which accounts for just 13% of the value of its portfolio. On this occasion, it has been advised by Savills. (…).
Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz and Laura Salces)
Translation: Carmel Drake