Azca & Diagonal: The Most Sought-After Office Space In Spain

17 July 2015 – Expansión

According to the consultancy firm JLL, the scarce supply and improving economy will cause office rental prices in Madrid and Barcelona to rise by more than anywhere else in the EMEA region over the next five years.

Specifically, the consultancy expects that office rents will rise in Madrid by 6.2% each year on average, from €25/m2/month in 2014 to €34.5/m2/ month in 2019. Meanwhile, rents in Barcelona will increase by 5.3% per year, to €23/m2/ month by the end of 2019. The highest rents will be seen in the prime areas, i.e. in the central business districts: Azca in Madrid and Avenida Diagonal (between Francesc Macia and Maria Cristina) in Barcelona.

In fact (…) prices in Barcelona will not only rise on Diagonal, they will also increase on Paseo de Gracia. Overall, rents increased by 6% in Q2 2015 in Barcelona, to reach €19/m2/month on average in those two areas.

According to JLL, only 15,000 m2 of office space is currently available on the best section of Diagonal, out of a stock of around 275,000 m2 in that area, which represents an availability rate of around 5%, a figure not seen since 2008.

In fact, between 2010 and 2011, large companies such as Axa, Unilever and KPMG decided to leave the business district and move to more peripheral areas. Axa left ‘La Illa’ to move to WTC Almeda Park in Cornella, where it rents 9,000 m2; KPMG was the pioneer in moving to the new Plaza Europa business district in 2010, where it rents 6,000 m2 in Torre Realia BCN. And in 2011, Unilever moved to the Viladecans Business Park, where it rents 7,000 m2. (…).

More office space is available in Madrid: up to 46,458 m2. Moreover, that figure is expected to increase to almost 108,000 m2 in the next two years, as almost 23% of the total surface area of 475,784 m2 in the area becomes available. (…). This is partly due to BBVA’s upcoming move to its new headquarters in the neighbourhood of Las Tablas – the bank currently occupies the building at Castellana, 81, where it will leave a space measuring 24,000 m2, which is expected to become available in Spring 2016. Furthermore, KPMG is going to move from Torre Europa (pictured above) to Torre Cristal (in the Cuatro Torres complex) and will free up around 21,000 m2 of space at Castellana 89 from next year. Finally, space will become available in Torre Ederra (Castellana, 77), recently acquired by GMP, which is going to undertake a complete renovation of the property, to be completed at the beginning of 2017.

Until then, 9.9% of the total office space in Madrid is immediately available. Most is located in Torre Titania (on Calle Raimundo Fernández Villaverde, 65), which accounts for 34% of the available space. The remainder is spread across other office buildings in the area, including the Masters I and II buildings (Calle General Perón, 38), the Mapfre building (Calle General Perón, 40) and the Alfredo Mahou building (Plaza Manuel Gómez Moreno, 2). (…).

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

CaixaBank Sells The ‘Torre Norte’ To SegurCaixa

15 April 2015 – Expansión

Barcelona / SegurCaixa has acquired the ‘Torre Norte’, valued at €14.5 million, as part of the strategic alliance between the bank and the insurance company.

SegurCaixa Adeslas, owned by CaixaBank and controlled by Mutua Madrileña, has purchased the Torre Norte (one of the three Nissan Towers in Barcelona) from CaixaBank. The transaction was valued at €14.5 million.

The sale forms part of the insurance sector alliance between Mutua and CaixaBank. The agreement made resulted in the segregation of the business between VidaCaixa, a fully owned subsidiary of CaixaBank, and SegurCaixa Adeslas. The latter was granted the option to buy the building, which it has (now) decided to exercise.

Following this transaction, the employees of SegurCaixa will occupy the Torre Norte and those of VidaCaixa will be housed in the Torre Sur. Microbank, another subsidiary of CaixaBank will occupy the top floor of the Torre Centro.

Mutua Madrileña hereby adds another building to its growing list of properties, worth €1.2 billion, which generated unrealised gains of €357 million last year.

The flagship building of the company, chaired by Ignacio Garralda, is the Torre de Cristal in Madrid, which has an appraisal value of €504 million, and therefore accounted for 41% of the insurance company’s total property portfolio at the end of 2014. The unrealised gain on that property amounted to €59 million. Then, the building located on Paseo de la Castellana, 33 in Madrid, where Mutua has its headquarters, is the second largest in the company’s portfolio by value. It has an appraisal value of €115 million, compared with a book value of €69.8 million.

The third building in the ranking is the Alfredo Mahou property in Madrid, which has a market value of €104 million and a book value of €29 million, i.e. has unrealised gains of €75 million.

Investment plan

Last year, Mutua Madrileña completed the investment plan it launched in 2008, which sought to modernise its properties to “convert them into flagship properties in the market. Through this, we created the distinctive Mutua Building”, explains the company in its annual accounts for 2014. The company also sought to reduce operating expenses (through this plan) to increase the appeal (of its properties) to clients.

The leased buildings generated revenues of €32.8 million for Mutua in 2014 and the company made investments amounting to €13.6 million during the year. Its occupancy rate last year was 90%, up from 88% in 2013.

Real estate investments accounted for 20% of the company’s total investments during the year, which had a market value of €6,654 million.

Original story: Expansión (by E. del Pozo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Mutua Owns Prime RE Assets Worth €1,200M

9 April 2015 – Expansión

The real estate subsidiary of the insurance company owns more than twenty assets, including 15 (properties) on the Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid’s prime (real estate) axis.

Mutua Madrileña is not only one of the largest insurance companies in the Spanish market, it is also one of the largest owners of office buildings. Through its real estate subsidiary, led by Emilio Colomina, Mutua manages a portfolio of more than twenty real estate assets, with a (combined) surface area of around 200,000 square metres.

Fifteen of the buildings in the portfolio are particularly noteworthy; they have a (combined) surface area of approximately 175,000 square metres and include several properties located on the prime axis (the most sought after area) of Madrid. Mutua Inmobiliaria owns numbers 31, 36, 50 and 110 on the capital’s main thoroughfare, the Paseo de la Castellana, as well as the Torre de Cristal, located in the Cuatro Torres complex, at number 259.

And just a stone’s throw away from La Castellana, in the heart of the capital’s financial district, the company also owns the Alfredo Mahou building (pictured), which has a surface area of around 24,000 square metres; as well as the Torres de Colón.

At the end of 2014, these fifteen buildings had an appraisal value of €1,200 million, representing a slight increase on the previous year, with unrealised gains of €356 million.

In 2014, the real estate company recorded turnover of €46.8 million from rental payments, and (its buildings) had an occupancy rate of 90%, i.e. 2% higher than last year.

“The favourable development of Mutua Inmobiliaria’s business is due, to a large extent, to the investment plan that the company launched in 2008 and completed in 2014. As a result, the company modernised its (portfolio of) buildings”, explains the insurance company.

During this period, Mutua invested around €150 million in upgrading (its buildings, including) the Torres de Colón, for example – work there began in late 2011 and involved a budget of around €25 million. “The investments made have allowed us to build loyalty and retain customers, sign new rental contracts, at maximum prices, and reduce operating costs, which has increased the attractiveness and efficiency of our properties”, says Colomina.

The new (rental) contracts include: the move of the law firm Hogan Lovells to Castellana 36-38 late last year, where it leases 4,608 square metres, and KPMG’s upcoming move to Mutua’s skyscraper in the Cuatro Torres, which has a surface area of 20,000 square metres.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake