Swedish Firm Quartiers Finalises the Opening of a Luxury Hotel in Marbella

16 April 2019 -Idealista

The Swedish property developer Quartiers Properties is developing a luxury hotel in Marbella. The company, which is listed on the Nasdaq First North stock market in Stockholm, purchased the hotel complex, which is located 200m from the beach, very close to Puerto Banús, in 2017.

Quartiers is going to invest around €8.6 million in the renovation and development of the 5-star hotel, which will be called Boho Club and which will have 50 rooms as well as a restaurant led by the Michelin-starred chef Diego del Río. The restaurant will be inaugurated this summer, whilst the hotel will open its doors at the end of the year.

This is not the only asset that Quartiers Properties owns in Spain. It also has the Hacienda del Señorío de Cifuentes, a complex located in Benahavís (also in Málaga), which comprises 99 rental apartments for vacation and residential use. Nearby it has built another 22 apartments (22 by Quartiers) and next door to that, it owns land for the development of another 60 homes. It is also working on the construction of two luxury villas, both on the Costa del Sol.

Original story: Idealista (by Ana P. Alarcos & P. Martínez-Almeida)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Andalucía’s Culture Department Approves ‘La Equitativa’ Hotel Project in Málaga

18 January 2019 – Málaga Hoy

The majority owner of the La Equitativa building, which is behind the partial restoration of the property for the installation of a 5-star hotel, now has the path clear to obtain the building permit for the work. The Delegation of Culture of the Junta de Andalucía has just issued a favourable report for the renovation project, plans for which were submitted almost eight months ago, which paves the way for the Urban Planning Department to grant permission for the intervention.

That was confirmed to this newspaper by sources close to the owner company, who indicated that it was the last procedure that was pending with the municipal entity. In terms of the timeframes that the company is working with to launch the work, the same sources said that it will depend on the announcements made by the municipal entity, which will have to validate compliance with the other technical requirements before proceeding to grant the permit.

The unblocking of the hotel project came on 22 June, when Key International, an investment fund headquartered in Miami, acquired 100% of the east part of the building, which comprises a ground floor plus seven upper storeys, through the firm Alameda Retail. The sale and purchase operation also involved one home and a commercial premise, and although they barely account for 3% of this section of La Equitativa, they were limiting the possibility of the project going ahead as a hotel.

That circumstance forced the private firm to not rule out the possibility of opting for residential use for that part of the building. Having closed the purchase of the remaining buildings, an operation that required several weeks of negotiations with the tenants, the investment fund has free reign to push ahead with its first objective: hotel use. It was precisely that purpose that sparked the firm’s interest in buying La Equitativa in the first place, closing the purchase of 60% of the historical building, which had been owned by Rubcapel until that time.

At the end of April, through the company Key Continental, a request was filed with the Urban Planning Department to proceed with the renovation of the property for that purpose. The data points to an establishment with capacity for around 80 rooms, with an investment of around €14 million. In addition, there will be commercial premises on the ground floors.

Once the position of Delegation of Culture, which is in favour of the intervention, has been defined, then the company may soon resume contact with hotel chains to close an agreement for the management of the establishment.

The other part of La Equitativa corresponds to the tower, comprising 14 floors, which will also be renovated but which will retain its residential use. For that, the owner, Ingomar, also requested a building permit from the Urban Planning Department last October.

The restoration of this building, which is still in the processing phase, is part of a major transformation process currently on-going in La Alameda area, with the future arrival of the metro and the semi-pedestrianisation work, promoted by the Town Hall, as some of the main features.

Original story: Málaga Hoy (by Sebastián Sánchez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Arum Group Invests Another €80M to Expand La Manga Club

20 November 2018 – Eje Prime

Arum Group is getting its wallet out to expand its resort in Murcia. The Spanish property developer, chaired by the magnate Jordi Robinat, is planning to invest more than €80 million in the upcoming expansion of La Manga Club, its residential complex located in the municipality of Cartagena, according to explanations provided by sources at the group speaking to Eje Prime.

The company is already processing a new partial plan to expand the resort by more than 48,000 m2, with the aim of developing new homes. Moreover, if the operation goes ahead, the group forecasts that the building work will begin between the end of next year and the beginning of 2020. The scheduled execution period is between three and four years.

Currently, La Manga Club has a surface area of 1.3 million m2, contains 2,300 homes, two 5- and 4-star hotels, three golf courses (one of which has 18 holes), thirty clay tennis courts, eight soccer fields and a cricket pitch.

With the majority of the residential assets now sold, Arum Group is developing the last one hundred homes, which will be primarily dedicated to international buyers. “English investors are the most common, although increasingly, we are closing more operations with Norwegian clients, as well as Belgians and people from other countries in the north of Europe”, explain sources at the company.

La Manga Club is the only project that the Arum Group has underway in the Region of Murcia. In fact, the property developer owned by Robinat purchased the complex from the Anglo-American cruise company, The Peninsular&Oriental Steam Navigation (P&O), in 2004 for €146 million.

Since then, the Spanish company, headquartered in Barcelona, has undertaken several expansions of the resort, which is one of the largest in southern Europe. The company owns three other residential projects currently underway in Spain, two in Cataluña and one in Tenerife.

The transformation of the Arum Group

The origins of the Arum Group date back to the 1990s, when Jordi Robinat, one of the people responsible for the launch and subsequent sale of the iconic Palace and Ritz hotels in Madrid, decided to set up on his own. He did so initially by creating the firm Med Resort before then formalising the expansion of the company in the Spanish real estate sector, under the brand Medgroup.

With that company, which at the time included George Soros and the former Goldman Sachs banker, Richard Perry, amongst its largest shareholders, Robinat introduced the tourist resort complex to the Spanish coast by integrating homes, hotels, golf courses, spa centres and commercial premises into the same complex.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Berta Seijo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Meliá Finalises Sale & Leaseback of Palacio de Congresos Hotel in Valencia

20 July 2018 – Las Provincias

The tallest skyscraper in Valencia is on the verge of changing hands. The sale of Meliá’s Palacio de Congresos Hotel, located on Avenida de las Cortes Valencianas, number 52, is being finalised for €50 million, according to sources speaking to Las Provincias. The operation is expected to be signed in September and several investors have expressed their interest in acquiring the former Hilton Hotel.

The owner of the iconic property, the fund Colony Capital, took just two months to put it on the market after acquiring it in February when it purchased the fund Continental Property Investments (CPI), the former owner of the hotel. According to the same sources, the candidates to acquire the building now include Socimis, institutional investors and family offices, such as the Valencian Zriser group, the firm owned by Pablo Serratosa. Another interested player is AXA Real Estate, the company that acquired the Hilton Hotel Diagonal Mar in Barcelona last year.

Despite the change of owner, the management of the hotel will continue to be entrusted to Meliá, which signed an extendable 10-year operating contract in 2011. It is a strategic asset for the hotel group, given its location next to the Palacio de Congresos, which makes it the best-positioned accommodation on the market for business people and guests of events organised in the Valencian enclave.

A yield of 5%

According to sources familiar with the operation, the asking price for the hotel was €45 million, which was the “minimum to make an offer”. Nevertheless, the market was pricing it at around 10% more, approximately €50 million and some even think that it will be sold more than that. “Socimis and institutional investors look for yields of 5% per year”, they reveal.

In addition, the sale price per room will range between €165,000 and €175,000. In terms of the price per overnight stay, hotels of this kind with an occupancy rate of 80% typically range between €90 and €95 per room. The expectation is that the former Hilton will cost around €100 per night in five years time.

The former Hilton is a 5-star hotel that opened its doors to the public in May 2007. It stands 117 m tall and has 29 storeys, with 269 rooms, 33 suites and two presidential suites. Moreover, it has a convention room and 18 meeting rooms. The building was constructed between 2002 and 2006 at a cost of €110 million, double the price at which the owners want to sell it for now. It was in 2010 when the owner company, the firm Hotel Palacio de Congresos SL, sold the property to CPI to avoid its definitive closure after that company filed for voluntary creditor bankruptcy.

Original story: Las Provincias (by Elísabeth Rodríguez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sabadell Sells Bal Hotel & Spa in Gijón to Grupo Artiem

27 December 2017 – Revista Hostel Pro

The 5-star Bal Hotel & Spa has 45 fully equipped rooms (doubles, junior suites and suites), as well as 4 meeting rooms, a restaurant, a piano bar, an extensive spa measuring 450 m2, a gym, 3 padel courts, a car park and a large garden area for events. It is located in Asturias, just 10 minutes from the city centre of Gijón.

The asset has been acquired by Grupo Artiem, which is also going to operate the property itself. Grupo Artiem, originally from Menorca, has a long history on its home island. It has recently started to operate hotels in the urban segment, incorporating the 4-star Artiem Madrid Hotel, with its 83 rooms, into the chain.

José Guillermo Díaz Montañés, CEO of Grupo Artiem, highlights: “The features of the property and its location in Asturias, a region that fits perfectly with our value proposition, make the Bal Hotel Spa Business & Leisure the perfect candidate for incorporating into Artiem Fresh People Hotels, given that our business philosophy is based on well-being, sustainability and people. The facilities and, above all, the team that we are incorporating into the Group will allow us to start to grow in the north of Spain and remain faithful to our philosophy and management model.

Íñigo Cumella, Hotel Broker and the person responsible for the operation, indicated: “this is a unique property in the area, both due to its quality as well as the variety of its services and facilities. On the other hand, its environment and location (just 10 minutes by car from both the beach and Gijón city centre) make it very attractive for leisure guests, as well as for the organisation of corporate meetings and the celebration of events. The completion of this operation once again highlights the significant investor interest in the hotel sector, where luxury assets such as the Bal Hotel & Spa are continuing to generate demand”.

Meanwhile, Inmaculada Ranera, Director General in España and Portugal added: “The month of December is proving to be particularly intense in terms of the closing of operations. We hope that this won’t be the last announcement of its kind before the end of 2017”.

Original story: Revista Hostel Pro 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Herrero & Lebois Are Behind Madrid’s Latest Luxury Homes

14 June 2017 – Voz Pópuli 

The owner of Kiss FM, Blas Herrero and the Mexican investor Rodrigo Lebois have completed one of the most significant real estate operations of recent times in the Spanish capital. The two businessmen have spent around €50 million on the building located at number 11, Plaza del Marqués de Salamanca, which they plan to convert into 15 luxury apartments measuring 300 m2 each.

According to sources close to the operation, the building has a surface area of 8,800 m2, with 1,000 m2 on each of its eight storeys. Until now, the property belonged to an aristocratic Asturian family and was authorised for residential and hotel use. During the sales process, the owners received nine offers: two from domestic investors and seven from overseas buyers, according to El Mundo.

The buyers plan to create three apartments per floor, and claim that they will be “the most luxurious homes in Madrid”. The building has a commercial premise on the ground floor and a rooftop, which will not be touched during the renovation work, which is due to begin soon. Until now, the homes in this building have operated under lease contracts. (…).

Blas Herrero and the real estate market

The operation again certifies Blas Herrero’s interest in the real estate market, in which he has made several significant investments in recent times. Just over three years ago, he paid €16.75 million – in a legal auction – for the Hotel Foxá 32 Suites, located next to Chamartín Station. A few months later, he reached an agreement with Barceló to manage the 158 rooms in this 5-star hotel establishment for 12 years (…).

For his latest purchase, of the building on Plaza del Marqués de Salamanca, Herrero has teamed up with the Mexican magnate Rodrigo Lebois, President of Unifin Financiera, one of the most active investment firms in Latin America, which specialises in pure leasing, factoring, automotive credit and insurance. At the time of the purchase, Lebois expressed his desire to keep one floor for his own personal use.

A third Mexican investor has also participated in the transaction, whose name has not been revealed, according to sources close to the operation.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Rubén Arranz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Polanco Family Sells Ritz-Carlton Tenerife To HI Partners

21 April 2017 – El Confidencial

The Polanco family has resorted to selling the jewel in the crown of its personal wealth, the luxury Ritz-Carlton Abama resort in Tenerife, to obtain some financial breathing space in order to try and balance out its complicated economic situation.

According to real estate sources, the former majority shareholder of Grupo Prisa has reached an agreement with the hotel group HI Partners (HIP) to sell 49.99% of the listed establishment for almost €50 million, a quantity to which another €25 million of investment will have to be added to expand the hotel’s facilities with its residential complex. Sources at Timón, the holding company of the editorial giant, have acknowledged the transfer, but have not revealed details of any amounts or commitments.

As El Confidencial revealed several weeks ago, the problems of Prisa, whose shares are trading at their lowest value for a year and a half, have been transferred to the Polanco family, who has requested help from its creditor banks in light of the difficulties it is facing to meet its loan obligations. Its request has been answered by Santander and CaixaBank, its two primary lenders.

To this SOS, a new loan amounting to €60 million has just been agreed, which forms part of the sales operation to HIP. According to sources familiar with the deal, Sabadell, the owner of HIP, has granted this 18-month loan, with the aim of enabling the Polanco family to put its accounts in order.

Once that period has elapsed, and provided the loan has been repaid or transferred to another entity, HIP will acquire 49.99% of the luxury resort, an operation that, between the sales value and the money to be allocated to new investments, would mean that Prisa’s shareholders will obtain another €75 million.

In the event that the Polanco family breaches that obligation during the 18 month period, the hotel chain will not become a shareholder of Ritz-Carlton Abama and the financial problems of the giant will get worse, given that Sabadell would increase its list of creditors to include the aforementioned €60 million. (…).

With losses of €7.5 million at the end of 2015, the most recent period for which figures are available, and sales of €55.25 million, this luxury tourist resort comprises the five-star Ritz-Carlton Abama hotel, a residential development where 148 villas are planned and Abama Golf, a 72-hole golf course. (…).

HI Partners owns 31 establishments and manages €850 million of hotel debt on behalf of Banco Sabadell. Moreover, a year ago, the firm signed an alliance with the giant Starwood Capital Group, to create a joint venture aimed at investing €500 million over the next three years.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

CaixaBank Sells €700M In Debt & Foreclosed Hotels To Apollo

29 December 2016 – El Confidencial

CaixaBank is going to close 2016 with a healthier balance sheet, thanks to the latest divestment operation that it is about to sign. According to financial sources, the banking institution led by Gonzalo Gortázar (pictured above), has reached an agreement with Apollo Global Management to sell €700 million in foreclosed assets linked to the hotel sector. The US fund is hereby going to acquire 20 four- and five-star holiday establishments that the bank has been holding in its portfolio following non-payments by customers.

The transaction, which has been dubbed Project Sun, is just awaiting the finishing touches from CaixaBank and Apollo, the opportunistic fund that purchased 84% of Banco Santander’s real estate company – Altamira – for €664 million and all of Evo Banco, which previously belonged to the former Novacaixagalicia for €80 million, amongst other things. Nevertheless, the agreement between the bank headquartered in Barcelona and the NYC-based firm is limited to two thirds of the portfolio that was initially put up for sale.

The Spanish financial institution, which has been advised by Alantra, had valued Project Sun at around €1,000 million, on the basis that it contained, on the one hand, unpaid loads secured by 112 hotels; and, on the other hand, 32 establishments that the bank had foreclosed due to non-payment. According to the internal documentation from the sales notebook, in total, 11,000 rooms were put up for sale, the largest hotel portfolio of the year. But at the last minute, the entity has decided to get rid of debt amounting to only around €350 million and 20 hotels worth a similar figure, which means that 12 properties have been left out of the agreement with Apollo Global Management.

The reason is that the offers that it received for these other holiday establishments were well below their respective book values, and so they have chosen to not sell them now so as to sell them for a bad price. Most of the hotels and loans are located in Andalucía (37), Cataluña (22) and the Canary Islands (19). Besides Apollo, which has been advised by Arcano and by Gustavo Gabardo, former Director General of NH Hoteles, CaixaBank had also received interest for this portfolio from other so-called vulture funds, such as Starwood, Cerberus, Oaktree and Bank of America, which had already acquired assets from Bankia, Santander, Sareb and Sabadell.

With this transaction, CaixaBank is going to close the year with €2,400 million less in terms of overdue debt, having already completed the sale of other non-performing loan portfolios. On 30 November, it got rid of the portfolio known as “Far”, which it sold for €700 million to Lindorff and D. E. Shaw. In July, it did the same with another package of unpaid credits for €900 million (Project Carlit), which it sold to Goldman Sachs and D. E. Shaw. (…).

This is the eleventh operation of its kind that CaixaBank has completed since it started to try to remove toxic loans from its balance sheet. (…). Over the last two years, it has managed to get rid of non-performing loans amounting to almost €6,000 million, a strategy that has allowed it to reduce its default rate from almost 12% at the height of the financial crisis to just 8.7%.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Agustín Marco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Antonio Calero Acquires Paseo Neptuno, 72 In Valencia

4 November 2016 – Real Estate Press

Through one of his companies, the businessman Antonio Calero has acquired the building located on Paseo de Neptuno, number 72, owned until now by Ernesto Martínez Colomer.

Calero is the main shareholder of the Marina Beach Club complex in Valencia, whose name will also be used on this occasion.

With a total investment of €14 million, to cover the cost of buying the building and converting it into a hotel, Calero, plans to turn the property into a hotel and restaurant.

The three-storey building has a similar structure to those of other hotel complexes in the surrounding area, which has been established by the municipal legislation that applies to the area, and especially to these types of buildings that overlook the Paseo Marítimo and the beach.

The municipal constraints also affect the design of the property, in such a way that the final façade still needs to be agreed in conjunction with the Town Hall of Valencia. In any case, the project has been assigned to the architect José Martí from the ERRE studio, a personal friend of the businessman, who is looking for a totally renewed and different concept at the club, with the fundamental premise that the complex be “very representative of the Valencian character”.

Each one of the hotel’s 50 rooms will be fashioned by a local designer, who will source supplies from major companies in the furniture and furnishings sector, including Andreu World, Viccarbe and Porcelanosa, according to Calero. “The idea is that our clients will be able to experience up to 50 different nights”, said the owner.

Calero also highlighted the “exclusive” character of this new project. The price per room will reflect the rates charged in the area for a 5-star hotel. Although the figures have not been determined yet, competitors in the area charge between €150 and €900 per night.

Those figures are based on low season rates at the nearby Hotel Balnerio Las Arenas, located just a few metres away. At Hotel Neptuno, which is also nearby, but which is a 4-star property, prices range between €100 and €400 per night.

In any case, to obtain the highest distinction in terms of hotel category, the owner will have to make a series of structural changes to the property, which still need to be defined.

The purchase has just been completed, which means that the project is in its very early stages. The application for the building licence and permits will now be submitted and the construction work is expected to take at least 15 months, which means that it is unlikely that the hotel will open for another two years. In other words, the new hotel should be ready for summer 2018.

Original story: Real Estate Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

Urbas’ Share Price Rises By 8% Boosted By H1 Results

19 September 2016 – Expansión

Urbas was one of the best performing companies on the stock market on Thursday. The share price of the real estate company, which has a strong presence in Madrid’s Corredor de Henares, rose by around 8% to €0.013 per share. The major catalyst for the increase was the fact that, during the first half of this year, the group left behind seven years of losses to record a consolidated net profit of €0.74 million.

The figure contrasts with losses of €4.7 million that it recorded in 2015. As at June, the net value of the group’s assets exceeded €415 million thanks to the reverse merger with Aldira Inversiones Inmobiliarias in 2015, which allowed it to strongly capitalise the company.

The strong increase in the share price of Urbas – which is constructing a hotel and resort in Cienfuegos (Cuba), which will consist of a marina, six golf courses, six 5-star hotels, three apart hotels, 1,500 villas and more than 3,000 apartments – is being accompanied by an unusual increase in trading volume.

More than 210 million shares have changed hands, a figure that significantly exceeds the average of just over 15 million during 2016.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake