BNP Paribas Buys Agbar’s HQ in Barcelona for €60M

8 January 2019 – Expansión

The real estate arm of BNP Paribas has acquired the headquarters of the Agbar group located in Barcelona for more than €60 million. The building forms part of the office complex known as Distrito 38 and until now was owned by the US bank Goldman Sachs, which purchased it as part of a batch of assets in 2015 for €355 million.

It was one of the last operations to be closed in 2018 in Barcelona but it has not been published until now. The building used to be managed by Patrimony, the real estate firm founded by Jordi Tremoleda, and the previous owner was advised by Savills Aguirre Newman during the sale.

The property was designed by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and has a surface area of more than 16,200 m2. It was first occupied by Agbar in 2015, when that firm moved from Torre Agbar, the iconic building designed by Jean Nouvel, to this office complex located on Paseo de la Zona Franca in Barcelona, in search of a more functional building. In theory, the water management company said that it was going to be a temporary home whilst a new corporate headquarters was constructed, but for the time being, there is no information that a new transfer is being planned.

Agbar left Jean Nouvel’s tower after having agreed its sale with the fund manager Emin Capital, but that operation was not executed in the end and the Socimi Merlin Properties ended up acquiring the building at the beginning of 2017 for €142 million.

Despite being a recently constructed building, Agbar’s current headquarters has already changed owner several times. The office complex was designed by the real estate company Habitat, when that property developer was still owned by the Figueras family. The office development was then acquired by Caja Madrid and, in 2015, by which point it was in the hands of Bankia, it was sold to Goldman Sachs. Sources close to the US investment giant said yesterday that in just three years the bank has achieved a very profitable operation.

According to provisional data, as we wait for the final operations closed in 2018 to be published, Barcelona recorded a good year in terms of real estate investment, albeit below 2017. The consultancy firm CBRE estimates that the outlay on buildings could have amounted to €1.973 billion, compared with €2.177 billion the previous year. A large part of these operations (46%) correspond to the office sector, which accounted for investment of €906 million, compared with €757 million in 2017. According to the same report, 68% of the purchasers that invested in Barcelona were foreigners. And of the domestic investors, half were Socimis.

Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Goldman Sachs Puts Agbar’s Home in Barcelona Up For Sale

12 November 2018 – Eje Prime

Goldman Sachs wants to take advantage of the high level of demand in the office market in Barcelona. The US bank has put the headquarters of Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona (the General Water Company of Barcelona or Agbar) up for sale. The property is known as Distrito 38 and is worth around €100 million.

The asset, located on Paseo de la Zona Franca, is going up for sale in the office market just three years after Goldman Sachs acquired it. The bank purchased the building in 2015 from Bankia, as part of a larger portfolio, for which it paid €355 million, according to Cinco Días.

In light of the great demand in the office segment, which recorded total investment to September of €1.117 billion, according to data from Cushman & Wakefield, the financial company plans to close the operation before the end of the year.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Merlin Leases 8 Floors in Torre Glòries to Competence Call Center

26 April 2018 – Eje Prime

Merlin has found a new tenant for one of the most iconic assets in its portfolio after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) decided to vacate the property. The Socimi, led by Ismael Clemente, has signed the lease for 9,000 m2 of space spread over eight floors to Competence Call Center. Merlin has been advised by Savills Aguirre Newman and CBRE.

Standing 142 m tall and comprising a gross leasable area of 37,614 m2, the building in Barcelona has received investment of €15 million from Merlin. After the decision by the EMA, the Socimi decided to convert the property into a multi-tenant space dedicated to the office sector.

The building was designed by the architects Jean Nouvel and Fermín Vázquez and was inaugurated in 2005. It contains 34 storeys and an auditorium with a capacity of more than 350 people. In addition, the property has four floors of parking with 300 spaces. In total, the property spans 51,485 m2.

The real estate group acquired the building in January 2017 for €142 million. Through that operation, the Socimi avoided the tourism moratorium imposed by the mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau, which had prevented Emin Capital from opening a luxury hotel in the famous tower.

Emin Capital reached an agreement with Agbar at the end of 2013 to acquire the building for €150 million. That commitment materialised at the beginning of 2016 when the group made its first payment of €35 million.

The 22@ district is the main area of growth for the office market in Barcelona, having consolidated its position as a magnet for international innovation companies such as Cisco, Ebay, Yahoo, Deutsche Telekom, Sage, SAP, Capgemini and Indra, amongst others.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Vips, Cepsa & Axa Give Impulse to RE Market

5/09/2014 – Expansion

Over the last months, real estate movements in Spains capital intensified, especially in the office segment, bringing another proof of recovery. In total, according to CBRE, year-to-date almost 200.000 square meters have been included in rental contracts.

Among the most noteworthy operations, there is the move of Vips which decided to get together all its offices in Madrid and locate them in front of the Cuatro Torres Business Area in a building at 278 Paseo de la Castellana street. Prior to the relocation, the firms team was divided between the Maria de Molina and Mirasierra areas. Vips rented around 6.000 square meters inside one of the properties in the Navalis complex belonging to Metrovacesa.

Before, the office complex housed Repsol which moved to its business campus in Mendez Alvaro at the beginning of 2013.

Another 2014 top operation was conducted by insurance company Axa which rented an over 23.000 square meter office building situated at 81 Avenida de America street from Torre Rioja. The 5-storey property offers jointly 480 parking spaces (380 underground and 100 above the ground level). This rental agreement has been proclaimed one of the three biggest in the past five years, CBRE says.

According to JLL, availability rate of offices for rent in Madrid posts 12.17%, about 1% less than in the first quarter of 2013.

Next significant move has been done by Alstom. The railway manufacturer signed a rental contract on a nearly 6.000 square meter office complex with Colonial. The property is located at 49 Martínez Villergas street and a part of it has been serving Iberia as headquarters since 2013.

In turn, last year Cepsa negotiated on rental conditions of its new offices, however the move-in took place this year. The oil company has rented a skyscraper designed by Norman Foster included in the Cuatro Torres towers from Bankia which will still occupy five floors of it. The iconic tower is presently up for sale.

When it comes to the city of Barcelona, the most notable is the move of Agbar that sold its tower and relocated to new offices on the Paseo de la Zona Franca street. The well-known bullet-shape tower overlooking Barcelona will be converted into a Hyatt hotel. It was acquired by Emin Capital for €150 million.


Original article: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: AURA REE