13 January 2017 – Cinco Días
The Baraka group has taken a giant step forward in its acquisition of Edificio España from the Chinese holding company Wanda. The company, through which the Murcian businessman Trinitario Casanova is handling the operation, has announced the launch of a joint venture with the hotel chain Riu.
Through this joint company, Rui will hold a stake in the property amounting to between 25% and 30%. Sources close to the agreement indicate that the hotel chain will participate as an investor through the joint venture for the acquisition and renovation of the building, which is actually still owned by the Chinese group Wanda.
The Mallorcan hotel chain, founded by the Riu family, in which the tour operator giant Tui owns a 49% stake, will also manage the future five-star hotel in Edificio España, which will operate under its Riu Plaza brand under a long-term lease contract. It will be the first property to operate under the brand in Spain, which was created in 2010 and which specialises in urban destinations, such as New York and Miami in the USA, Guadalajara in Mexico and Berlin in Germany.
The future establishment, which may open its doors at the end of 2018, will have almost 700 rooms, spread over 22 floors and will have a surface area of just under 70,000 m2. It will join six other properties operated under the same brand across Europe and America. (…).
Riu operates more than 100 hotels across 18 counties and each year receives more than 4 million clients, which means that the future hotel in Edificio España will have a very international profile.
Meanwhile, Baraka also made a second payment for the historical building yesterday, amounting to €14 million….the final operation must be signed before 31 March 2017, at which point the Murcian businessman will have to pay the remaining balance to make up the figure of €272 million agreed with the Chinese group.
Casanova reached an agreement with Dalian Wanda to purchase the property in July. The Chinese investor Wang Jianlin had purchased the building from Santander in 2014 for €265 million, but his plans to demolish the building and reconstruct it were never approved by the Town Hall ruled by Manuela Carmena.
Casanova had been looking for a partner to deal with the renovation of the property, which will have an additional cost of around €200 million. The businessman was looking for an operator for the hotel with which he could sign a fixed lease contract, which caused the major international chains to withdraw their interest. And that, despite the fact that Baraka managed to negotiate a 30 year contract with the US group Hard Rock. (…).
Original story: Cinco Días (by A.S. and L.S.)
Translation: Carmel Drake