2 June 2017 – El Mundo
The soap opera surrounding the sale of Edificio España in Madrid reached its finale yesterday morning, with the completion of a three-way operation, which saw the Chinese Group Wanda official sell the building’s deeds to the hotel chain Riu. The hotel group reached an agreement with Grupo Baraka to acquire 100% of the property and to subsequently undertake the necessary renovation to convert it into the first hotel in Spain to operate under its Riu Plaza brand.
All of the parties met at the notary’s office yesterday morning in Madrid, and once the purchase of the property from Wanda by Grupo Baraka (which held the initial purchase rights) had been formalised, the latter sold the property to Riu Hotels & Resorts. The consideration paid amounted to €272 million, according to the consultancy firm JLL, which has advised the sale.
“Our strategic plans include opening a Riu Plaza hotel in Spain and this opportunity in Madrid, in an unbeatable location and in an iconic building, completely fulfil all of our requirements,” said Carmen and Luis Riu, CEOs of Riu Hoteles. “The operation had been on the cards for several months before the option opened up of Riu acquiring 100% of the building. After analysing that opportunity in detail, we decided that we didn’t want to waste it”, explained the directors.
Trinitario Casanova, President of Grupo Baraka, will take responsibility for leasing the retail space, measuring 15,000 m2, where several department stores will be opened.
The building work could start today
After hearing of the sale, the Councillor for Sustainable Urban Development at the Town Hall of Madrid, José Manuel Calvo, said that the new owner of Edificio España could start the building work to consolidate Edificio España right away. The licence to undertake the structural work was granted on 31 March and its terms are “not affected” by the identity of the building’s owner.
The processing of the permit to open a hotel in the skyscraper will take a bit longer. Sources at the Palacio de Cibeles (the Town Hall) predict that the green light will be given for the construction of the establishment in “the autumn”, given that the municipal technicians and Baraka’s architects have been working together on this project for several months now.
In terms of the retail surface area, which will be housed on the lower floors of the property, in Plaza de España, the presentation of an affidavit is all that is required to start the refurbishment work.
The future Hotel Riu Plaza will occupy 24 of the 27 floors in Edificio España, whilst the remainder will be used as retail space. The establishment will have approximately 650 rooms and will be a 4-star property.
The hotel will also have a space measuring more than 1,800 m2 for events, which will include an open plan room measuring 1,500 m2, with 6 m high ceilings, which will become a unique space in the centre of Madrid.
The establishment will also have two restaurants, a rooftop swimming pool, where there will also be a Sky Bar and an additional space for events, spanning more than 900 m2.
Original story: El Mundo (by Luis M. Ciria, Marta Belver and Roberto Bécares)
Translation: Carmel Drake