Platinum Buys the Park Hyatt Site Near Sotogrande to Open its Own Hotel

25 April 2019 – El Confidencial

Platinum Estates has just completed the purchase of Finca Doña Julia, a plot spanning 40,000 m2 located in Casares, between Marbella and Sotogrande, where the Hong-Kong based fund is planning to open a 4-star hotel.

The future establishment is going to be built on the structure that the property developer Evemarina designed for Park Hyatt. Work was suspended on that project after the company filed for bankruptcy when the economic crisis hit.

The debt ended up in the hands of seven banks, which have now sold their stakes to Platinum for an undisclosed amount. The fund led in Spain by Juan Luis Segalerva has been advised by Garrigues.

The same financial institutions have also transferred another plot to Platinum next to Finca Doña Julia, measuring 11,000 m2.

All of these assets are located next to Finca Cosentín, where KKR, together with Altamar and Single Hom are going to invest €450 million in the development of exclusive villas and apartments.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Barcelona Gets Ready for the Residential Equivalent of Coworking: ‘Coliving’

29 January 2019 – Idealista

Whilst last year, coworking was one of the most repeated words, this year, it seems that the residential equivalent is on everyone’s lips, specifically, the new formulae for housing, ‘coliving’. So much so that Barcelona is already preparing to receive the first operators: the Consortium of the Zona Franca, a public entity tasked with the economic revitalisation of the city of Barcelona and its metropolitan area, is already managing licences to open the first coliving centres in the La Marina neighbourhood.

Although the names of the firms that are going to make their debuts in Spain under this model are unknown for the time being, sources in the sector say that they have already started to process the first permits for projects that are in an initial phase. “Just like coworking has become a successful phenomenon for the office market in Spain over the last 2 years, so professionalised coliving wants to follow in its footsteps and try its luck in the residential market”, explain sources at the real estate consultancy firm Forcadell.

“The large international investment funds, in their search for alternative assets that offer higher returns, are studying the Spanish market to implement this model, which has already proved successful in other countries such as the USA, Germany, the UK and Japan (Tokyo)”, say the sources at Forcadell.

With their arrival, these operators will professionalise a common practice in Spain of house sharing, by adding sophisticated aspects more typical of student halls. The coliving projects that have been developed to date comprise complexes with bedrooms and individual bathrooms on the one side and large common areas with movie theatres and games rooms (with ping pong, pool. etc.), libraries, gyms, restaurants and swimming pools, amongst others, on the other side.

According to Toni López, Partner at Forcadell and Director of the company’s real estate area, “the millenials have changed the way of consuming and have championed a change of thinking around property ownership, experience and use; it is logical and inevitable that this trend will expand to the real estate sector”. They are a generation that values experiences and seeks to optimise resources to the max, paying only for the use and experience of an asset, without incurring the cost and hassle involved with its ownership.

Medici and Corestate, the first brave players

Medici and Corestate have become the first groups to look closely at Spain for their new homes under the coliving formula (…). The German company Medici has joined forces with the German fund Corestate to invest more than €1 million in the development of business across all of Europe. In the Spanish market, the company will operate under the Quarters brand and it is already negotiating its first coliving project in Barcelona (…).

Medici already has three coliving buildings in Berlin, with capacity for 45 residents and nine apartments; and two more in the USA, in cities such as New York and Chicago, where the monthly rents range between USD 1,100 (€967) and USD 1,500 (€1,320) (…).

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

HG Inaugurates its First Urban Hotel & Prepares another Vacation Project

15 January 2019 – Alimarket

The chain HG Hoteles has opened the 4-star HG City Suites Barcelona aparthotel containing 58 accommodation units on Avenida Vía Augusta 89, in the Sarrià-Sant Gervasi district of Barcelona. The establishment is the result of the purchase and complete renovation of a building that used to house the Hotel NH Belagua (3* and 72 rooms), which was active until March 2017. The renovation project has resulted in both an increase in the category of the property from 3* to 4*, as well as a reduction in the number of rooms in order to offer units that are apartment-suites and studios.

The new HG City Suites Barcelona is located just a few minutes walk from Avenida Diagonal and Paseo de Gracia. It is surrounded by services, is next to some of the most prestigious medical centre in Barcelona, and is very close to the Sant Gervasio, Plaza Molina and Fontana metro stops”, explained the company. With his hotel, HG, which has just celebrated its 50th anniversary, is making its debut in the urban hotel segment and is opening a new path of expansion.

Cristian Park will open in 2020

Nevertheless, the company’s next new property will be in the vacation sector and is scheduled for opening at the end of 2020. As Alimarket Hoteles reported, it will consist of the opening of a 4* new build aparthotel, to be operated by the owner, in the south of Tenerife, where HG Hoteles already has several apartment blocks: ‘HG Cristian Sur’ (3* and 90 rooms) and ‘HG Tenerife’ (3* and 189 rooms), in Los Cristianos. Indeed, it will open the future HG Cristian Park in that same town, with 202 accommodation units.

HG’s sun and beach offer is completed with the HG Lomo Blanco apartments (3* and 131 rooms) in Lanzarote, as well as some aparthotels in Menorca, namely: the ‘HG Jardín de Menorca’ (4*-144) and the ‘HG Cala Llonga’ (3*-30). The rest of its portfolio is made up of ski and mountain properties, including: the Huesca hotels ‘HG Alto Aragón’ (4*-134) and ‘HG Cerler’ (3*-101), the Girona-based ‘HG La Molina’ (4*-65), the Navarran ‘HG Isaba’ (3*-49) and the Granada-based ‘HG Maribel’ (4*-30).

Original story: Alimarket (by Paco Mota)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Excem to Promote 5,000 Luxury Homes in the Costa del Sol & Murcia

21 November 2018 – Eje Prime

Excem is increasing its commitment to the luxury residential sector. The company owned by the Hatchwell family has set itself the objective of promoting 5,000 luxury homes on the Costa del Sol and Murcia, within the context of the development of its LOV Real Estate division. To launch these homes, which will follow in the footsteps of a development on Calle Fuencarral in Madrid, Excem has created the brand Solomon Homes.

Excem’s plans with LOV Real Estate involve starting to promote its entire land bank in 2019. The first projects to be commercialised in the south include four promotions in Condado de Alhama, one of the best resorts on the Costa Cálida. In that complex, LOV has already started work on the construction of Villa Primavera, Villa Amapola and Villa Atardecer, as well as Edificio Poniente. The company plans to hand over those homes next summer.

Further south, on the Costa del Sol, the property developer is finalising the signing of several projects with “the same model of avant-garde and unique architecture” in the area, on the fashionable coastline of the Spanish residential market. The company expects to achieve a return of more than 20% in each of its projects.

The starting point for luxury

Nevertheless, Excem’s starting point with LOV Real Estate will be a 25-home development on Calle Fuencarral in Madrid. The group’s first development will involve an investment of €14 million and will be located at number 142 of the Madrilenian street, right in the heart of the Spanish capital.

The company has already started work and its pre-sales amount to 80% with just four homes left to market. The buyers include investors and architects, explain sources at Excem (…).

The property developer plans to handover those homes, which will have between one and three bedrooms, before the end of 2019. The homes will have surface areas ranging from 55 m2 to 175 m2, and prices starting at €400,000, and going up to €1.5 million (…).

Excem: true to its roadmap 

The last investment vehicle launched by Excem Real Estate, the real estate division of the Excem Group, was Siwork, specialising in co-working and for which the group has partnered with WeWork, as Eje Prime revealed. With Excem Capital Partners Siwork, the group stays true to its roadmap: to be present in the Spanish real estate sector with three Socimis, diversified by type of asset and focused on millennial clients.

The first of the three companies launched by the Israeli family in Spain was Excem Capital Partners Sociedad de Inversión Residencial. Specialising in rental housing aimed at millennials, the company debuted on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) in July worth €17 million. Currently, the company owns 28 assets in Spain and has several shareholders ranging from private investors to business people and family offices.

Besides Excem Capital Partners Sociedad de Inversión Residencial, the Hatchwell family also operates in the Spanish real estate sector with Situr, a firm specialising in tourist properties such as apartments and hostels. The investment target for this second Socimi is approximately €250 million between now and the rest of 2018. The company has set itself the objective of having 3,500 beds in a dozen buildings, located primarily in Madrid and Barcelona, as well as in other tourist cities around the country.

With the activation of Siwork, the plans for this new company involve carrying out an investment of €200 million to acquire a dozen buildings in Spain’s main cities.

The Hatchwell family’s links with the real estate world date back to the beginning of the 1970s, when Mauricio Hatchwell Toledano founded the group, specialising first in cement and later in technology and real estate. Nowadays, the company is led by his children David, Philip and Kareen Hatchwell Altaras.

Original story: Eje Prime (by J. Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Beds for Tourists on Costa del Sol Grew by Almost 20% during YTD August

10 October 2018 – Diario Sur

At a time when international tourism demand is cooling, the supply of beds in regulated tourist accommodation, in other words, in hotels, apartments, campsites, country houses and tourists apartments, grew by almost 20%  in Málaga during the 8 months to August, according to a report about the Tourist Situation on the Costa del Sol. Behind this significant increase is the boost from holiday rental homes, which caused the volume of establishments to skyrocket by almost 50% during the first eight months of the year. In other words, during this period, 9,500 new businesses to house tourists have been put on the market, which have added 52,431 beds so far this year. With this rise, the Costa del Sol now has the capacity to accommodate 321,374 visitors each day, whilst in August 2017, that figure amounted to 291,000.

These figures warn of a greater dynamism in the registration of properties destined to travellers during the peak months of the summer. And a report compiled by Costa del Sol Tourism about the evolution of the supply of accommodation in that destination shows that during the six months to June, the number of beds grew by 10% and the number of businesses grew by 25%. The destination ended the first half of the year with a supply of 26,424 tourist establishments with the capacity to house 308,288 visitors. Sources at Costa del Sol Tourism highlight that, during that period, the highest growth in beds was seen in rental homes dedicated to tourists, which saw an increase of 26,154 beds to reach a total of 112,294, up by 30.4%. They were followed by rural houses, with 1,744 new beds taking the total supply to 12,952, up by 15.6%; and apartments, with 1,002 new beds out of a total of 58,670 on offer, up by 2%.

The boom in holiday rentals has resulted in a complete transformation of the supply of accommodation along the Costa del Sol, in such a way that, nowadays, tourist homes account for the highest volume of beds, followed by hotels and apartments, accounting for 36.4%, 29.5% and 19%, respectively. The Director-General of Costa del Sol Tourism, Arturo Bernal, highlighted that holiday rentals “are a reality of the tourist sector that we must strengthen ties with”, urging people to work towards full regulation of the whole accommodation supply and to offer high-quality accommodation.

Original story: Diario Sur (by Pilar Martínez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Owners of Mywigo Buy 2 Buildings in Ciudad Gran Turia Complex in Valencia

26 July 2018 – Eje Prime

Cirkuit Planet is turning off the phone for a second to invest in real estate. The Valencian group, owner of the smartphone brand Mywigo, has reached an agreement with the Deposit Guarantee Fund to purchase two buildings in Valencia. The assets used to be owned by Banco Sabadell until 2016, which inherited the properties from CAM.

The operation has been led by Strongterra, the real estate arm of Cirkuit Planet, which is acquiring the last two buildings in the sale of the Ciudad Gran Turia complex, previously known as Ciudad Ros Casares, according to reports from València Plaza.

The sale is one step away from being signed and two Valencian partners have participated in it. Sabadell’s servicer, Solvia, has been the entity in charge of leading the sale of the properties, which have been in high demand in a booming real estate market such as Valencia’s.

The buildings, located close to the Vara de Quart Industrial Estate and the Gran Turia shopping centre, span 3,100 m2 each and comprise homes. In addition to that surface area, the transaction includes another 900 m2 in parking spaces. Nevertheless, the ground floor commercial premises in the two properties do not form part of the operation.

With 58 lofts, including twelve penthouses, the two residential blocks, are two of the brand new buildings that remain in Valencia. Although the exact price has not been revealed, the sale could be closed for around €4 million.

Strongterra plans to generate a return from this investment by placing the homes on the medium- and long-term rental market, to which end it is already holding negotiations with several hotel and apartment operators to obtain annual returns of between 8% and 10%, according to estimates from the company itself.

The company’s investment in Ciudad Gran Turia is its third in Valencia. Led by Jonatan Fatelevich and Maximiliano Gavilán, shareholders of Cirkuit Planet, Strongterra plans to group together all of the real estate properties owned by the two businessmen into the company and then convert it into a Socimi over the medium term.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Chinese Group Gaw Capital Joins Forces with Alicia Koplowitz to Target Hotel Sector

25 July 2018 – Expansión

The Chinese fund manager Gaw Capital Partners is making its debut in the Spanish hotel sector hand in hand with Omega Capital, the family office owned by Alicia Koplowitz. Specifically, the investment firm specialising in real estate assets has purchased 50% of the Hospes Hotel Group, worth €125 million, and has created a joint venture together with Omega Capital – with which it will share the ownership – for the development and expansion of the Spanish chain.

Before the entry of Gaw Capital Partners, the hotel chain was owned in equal parts by Fonsagrada – a company owned by the Koplowitz family -; the Areyhold group, owned by the Yera family; and Telescom, owned by the Hernández López family.

Hospes, founded in 2010, owns nine boutique hotels located in Alicante, Cáceres, Córdoba, Granada, Madrid, Mallorca, Salamanca, Sevilla and Valencia. The company’s establishments, which are all four- and five-star properties, are located in unique buildings that are rich with historical and architectural heritage.

According to the results for 2016 (the latest available in the Mercantile Registry), the chain generated an operating profit of €10.5 million, up by 18% compared to the previous year, and sales of €30 million.

Growth in Europe

The purchase of 50% of Hospes by the Chinese fund has been carried out through the fund European Hospitality Fund I, managed by GCP Hospitality, its hotel division.

GCP Hospitality, founded by the shareholders of Gaw Capital Partners and by Christophe Vielle in 2008, currently manages 39 assets (hotels, apartments and university campuses) and 7,450 rooms around the world.

GCP Hospitality, led by Vielle, has regional offices in Bangkok (Thailand), Beijing (China), Hong Kong (China), Perth (Australia), San Francisco (USA), Singapore and Rangoon (Myanmar).

Vielle, CEO of GCP Hospitality Management, explains to Expansión that, with the good outlook for the European tourism industry, the company is “actively” studying ways of expanding its portfolio across the Old Continent.

“We will take advantage of the reputation of the Hospes Hotel Group and our international network to raise the profile of the brand”, says the CEO GCP Hospitality Management.

In this sense, the evolution of the Spanish tourism sector in recent years has been spectacular. Spain recorded a new milestone last year with the arrival of 82 million international tourists and has also registered eight consecutive years of growth in terms of tourism GDP. For Vielle, the acquisition of Hospes Hotel Group is an example of the “solid track record” of GCP Hospitality in the launch and management of successful hotels and first-rate brands.

Since its creation in 2005, Gaw Capital Partners has raised almost USD 10 billion (€8.557 billion) and currently has USD 18 billion (€15.403 billion) in assets under management. The fund manager, which is investing in different segments of the real estate market, has a significant presence in the Asia Pacific region and in the USA.

Promoting the brand

Meanwhile, the alliance with the Chinese investment fund manager allows Omega Capital to boost its investments in the tourism sector.

Hospes is not the only firm that Koplowitz is backing in the hotel sector through her family office. Specifically, Omega Capital, together with the Orient Express group (now Belmond) purchased the Madrilenian Hotel Ritz for €125 million in 2003. More than a decade later, in 2015, Omega Capital and Belmond sold that iconic hotel to a consortium formed by the Olayan family, from Saudi Arabia, and the Mandarin group, which manages the establishment, for €132 million. The property is currently closed for refurbishment.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

A Turning Point for the In Tempo Building in Benidorm

1 June 2018 – Diario Información

The In Tempo building in Benidorm is starting a new phase and putting an end to the previous phase that was fraught with economic and legal problems. The new company that acquired the property from the bad bank  Sareb has now received the green light to finish the construction work and start marketing the homes in the tallest residential building in Europe given that it has been officially granted all of the construction permits. In addition, the property developer behind the tower block, the company Olga Urbana, has also ceased to exist.

Just three days ago, the Town Hall of Benidorm, through a decree from the Councillor for Urban Planning, Lourdes Caselles, to which this newspaper has had access, approved the issue of the transfer of the urban planning licence that was previously held by Olga Urbana SL, the property developer behind the project, to the new company that owns the building, Teach Spire SLU.

That licence was granted to the former company in 2006 for the construction of a building comprising 269 homes, 398 parking spaces and 133 storerooms (…). The same decree also covers the transfer of the construction project from the former company in favour of the new owner. With this step, the new company now has all the rights and obligations in place resulting from the transfer of the licences.

Now, the new company has the green light to finish the construction work. The new owner of the In Tempo building in Benidorm, the firm SVP Global, forecasts that the property will become a reality within 12 months and that it will be able to start marketing the 269 homes before the summer, according to a statement issued in April.

In the autumn, the Company for the Management of Assets proceeding from the Restructuring of the Banking System (Sareb) sold the property’s debt to SVP Global for more than €60 million. The bad bank had been left with a loan amounting to €108 million five years ago albeit secured by the tallest building in the Community of Valencia.

The project, which was first approved almost a decade ago, has a 93% completion rate and what has been built is in a good condition despite the fact that the construction work was suspended four years ago after the Alicante-based property developer Olga Urbana filed for bankruptcy (…).

Not only has a chapter been closed for In Tempo in terms of the building permits, but also, the property developer Olga Urbana has also ceased to exist following its bankruptcy. The Official Gazette of the Mercantile Registry (Borme) of Alicante published the inscription of the dissolution of the company yesterday, issued by Mercantile Court number 1 in Alicante, a process that was started in 2014, according to the publication (…).

Original story: Diario Información (by A. Vicente)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Airbnb Unveils New Tool to Help Town Hall of Barcelona Crack Down on Illegal Operators

28 May 2018 – Eje Prime

A new approach in the collaboration between Airbnb and the Town Hall of Barcelona. The US company has announced the launch of a new technological tool that will provide the City Council with access to data about its hosts, such as their full name, DNI and address.

That will allow the authorities to identify those flats that do not comply with local regulations. Currently, the Town Hall is reviewing a list of potential illegal operators, as part of a procedure established by the law agreed between it and Airbnb.

Through this new tool, Airbnb’s hosts will indicate whether their accommodation should be registered by law or not, and they will give their consent for some of their personal data to be shared with the Town Hall of Barcelona. This measure, which will facilitate the work of the City Hall to eliminate potential illegal operators, will enter into force on Friday 1 June.

“By working together, Airbnb and the Town Hall of Barcelona can help more local families to share their homes, comply with the law and generate new sources of income to strengthen our neighbourhoods”, said Arnaldo Muñoz, Director General of Airbnb in Spain, in a statement.

Since last summer, collaboration between the US group and the Town Hall has resulted in the withdrawal of more than 2,500 adverts and the introduction of a limit of one advert per host for apartments located in Ciutat Vella.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Benidorm Fever: TM Sells 15 Apartments in Just One Day

10 May 2018 – El Confidencial

More than 40 homes have been reserved in just two weeks. And fifteen of them in the first 24 hours. TM Grupo Inmobiliario, the owner of the largest batch of land located one street from the beach in Benidorm, one of the most sought-after markets along the coast at the moment, has put the first units up for sale of what is going to be its most ambitious project ever.

In January, the Alicante-based company acquired 165,000 m2 of land in Benidorm, which will initially, in its first phase, be home to two buildings comprising 132 homes each, containing two-, three- and four-bedrooms. The appetite for buying homes in the city has been so great that in just two weeks, 15% of the units that are going to be built in this first phase have already been reserved.

The prices of the two-bedroom homes range between €275,000 and €325,000, whilst the prices of the three-bedroom homes range from €325,000 to €400,000. To give us an idea, on the market at the moment, you can find properties ranging from small apartments costing just €20,000, to detached homes costing as much as €4 million. The reality is that, since its origins as a tourist destination, Benidorm has always been suitable for all kinds of budgets.

In fact, the town boasts the most expensive property prices per square metre in the region, with an average of €1,585/m2 – for new build and second-hand homes – above the prices paid in neighbouring Altea, Calpe and l’Alfàs del Pi, according to data from Tinsa. Although prices have fallen by almost 44% since their peak, it is one of the places in Spain that is enjoying a fair wind. In the last year, prices have risen by 11%, according to the latest report from the appraisal company about the coastal market.

The land, acquired in January this year, is located one street back from Playa de Poniente in Benidorm – right opposite the In Tempo skyscraper, marketing of which will also begin shortly – and around 1,200 homes are planned for the site. In addition to the residential area, the overall project will also include commercial and social use plots. Moreover, the land is located next to the Sunset Drive development, another one of TM’s projects in Benidorm, which has been completely sold.

The project was chosen in accordance with the bases of an ideas tender held for that purpose, to provide an avant-garde serene and long-lasting image, characteristic of the environment in Benidorm. The winning studio was Gea Arquitectos, which has already collaborated with TM on other developments (…).

The buildings are going to be located on the highest part of the plot and their layout is going to be designed to maximise the sea views as you go up (…).

Given its design, TM’s project is reminiscent of Promora’s Delfín Tower, which is going to occupy the last available plot on the beachfront in Benidorm. The main difference between the two stems from the fact that the latter is a luxury housing project, comprising 44 homes containing two-, three- and four-bedrooms, spread over 22 floors. Almost 50% of the properties have been sold and the project holds the record for the most expensive home ever sold in Benidorm. According to different sources, the home is located on the 16th floor and the buyer, a foreigner, paid just over €2 million for it.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake