Primark to Open a Megastore in Barcelona’s Plaza Cataluña

12 July 2018 – Idealista

Primark is finally entering the centre of Barcelona. The low-cost fashion company is going to open a flagship store at number 23 Plaza Cataluña, in a building owned by the fund manager IBA Capital, according to confirmation from real estate sources speaking to Idealista News. Until now, the property has been occupied by the El Corte Inglés department store group, but now the Irish chain is going to take over the 7,393 m2 property.

IBA Capital acquired the building in 2013 for €100 million and, over the last six months, since it has been on the market, the asset has attracted attention from the main fashion groups in Europe, including H&M, Primark, Inditex and the Japanese firm Uniqlo.

The building has a gross leasable area of 7,393 m2 and is located at the junction of Plaza Cataluña and Las Ramblas, one of the new commercial thoroughfares in Barcelona following the opening of establishments by the Galician giant Inditex there, as well as by operators such as Mango, Apple and Urban Outfitters.

The building was leased in its entirety to El Corte Inglés until a few months ago, which operated it through a multi-brand concept with firms such as Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, Diesel, Maje, Sandro, Stefanel and Desigual.

The property was renovated in 1998 and used to house the former headquarters of Banco Central and one of the only stores that the British firm Marks&Spencer used to have in Spain. Following the purchase by IBA Capital, El Corte Inglés and the fund signed a sale and leaseback contract, which expired in 2018.

IBA Capital in the Spanish market

Founded in 2013, IBA is led by Thierry Julienne and Jesús Valderrama, the founders of the investment vehicle. The fund manager has the capacity to manage all classes of real estate assets and its portfolio is currently worth €1 billion.

The portfolio comprises more than a dozen assets situated in first-rate locations in Madrid and Barcelona. Its properties include number 18 Gran Vía, number 9 Preciados and the ABC Serrano shopping centre, which have been acquired for subsequent renovation.

The other assets are office buildings including the property at number 96 Calle Santiago de Compostela, in Madrid and the Tripark Business Park, in las Rozas. Moreover, the fund owns the Vodafone Building, located at number 115 Avenida de América, and the Manoteras Leisure Park, also in the Spanish capital.

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bankia Puts Branch in Barcelona’s Plaza Cataluña Up For Sale for €28M

5 July 2018 – Idealista News

Bankia is replicating in Barcelona what it has already done in Madrid with c/Alcalá 1. The bank has put up for sale the commercial premises in the building that it owns at number 9 Plaza Cataluña, in the centre of Barcelona, for €28 million.

The entity opened the bidding last week and will start to receive offers for the premises, which have a surface area of 1,000 m2, from Friday 6 July onwards. The asset, located between the Apple and Desigual flagship stores, has already attracted several suitors, including retail operators and international investment funds, according to Idealista.

The premises, which Bankia debating whether to put up for sale or lease, was the object of desire of the Japanese fashion giant Uniqlo for its arrival plan in Barcelona. In the end, that firm opened its flagship store close to Plaza Cataluña, at the intersection of Gran Vía and Paseo de Gracia.

This operation follows the deal that Bankia already initiated in March involving c/Alcalá 1 in Madrid, as revealed by Eje Prime. For that central property in the Spanish capital, two real estate funds, Renta Corporación and Arcano, are still the favourites to acquire the asset, which, nevertheless, has not yet been sold for its minimum asking price of €20 million.

Original story: Idealista News

Translation: Carmel Drake

Apple’s Landlord to Build a 20,000 m2 Hotel in Central Madrid

27 June 2018 – El Economista

The Mexican Díaz Estrada family, owner of the Apple store in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol, has decided to launch a new hotel project in the heart of the Spanish capital. It will be a large complex, spanning almost 20,000 m2, which is going to be built on Calle Montera, in two adjacent buildings, one of which used to house the former Acteón cinemas for many years.

According to several sources in the sector, speaking to El Economista, the Latin American group has decided to re-launch this development now, although it has been working on it for several years. In this way, the family acquired numbers 25-27 Calle Montera in 2013 through its company Exacorp One. That building had been owned by the public company Madrid Espacios y Congresos, which purchased it in 2007 for €55.4 million during the reign of Alberto Ruíz Gallardón. The intention of the Administration was to renovate the property and give it a new lease of life as a hotel, but that operation was thwarted by the arrival of the crisis and the plummeting prices. In the end, it sold it for €34 million to Exacorp One, which, in 2015, also acquired the adjacent building (Montera 29-31) where the Acteón cinemas used to be located.

Now the group is going to convert both buildings into a 173-room hotel complex, according to the project plans to which this newspaper has had access. Thus, the company obtained the permits to carry out this project last summer and according to the same sources, may have already reached an agreement with a chain to operate the hotel. According to the experts, this project has sparked interest amongst all operators, especially those who still don’t have a presence in Spain. “It is a very iconic project in the heart of Madrid, where there are few developments of this size underway. Moreover, Calle Montera has undergone a very significant transformation in recent times, to improve its retail and restaurant offer”.

The construction of the new hotel will involve the complete demolition of the building at number 29-31 (the Acteón cinemas) in order to build a new building connected to the adjoining one. The 12-storey establishment will have one of the best terraces in the centre, spanning 654 m2 – housing a restaurant – with a swimming pool (…). The initial plans also include the installation of a gym, a bar, meeting and banquet rooms, as well as a function room for the hotel. In addition, the building will house five commercial premises.

This is not the first hotel project from the Díaz Estrada family, which is also the owner of the new Hyatt Centric, at number 31 Gran Vía. With that opening, the chain returned to Madrid in December 2017 after leaving the management of the Villa Magna nine years ago. The Hyatt name is precisely one that is being suggested as a possible contender to operate the hotel on Calle Montera, under one of the chain’s other brands, given that it could do so by reaching a double agreement with the owners.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Cerberus Puts 2 of Bankia’s Prime Branches Up For Sale

12 March 2018 – El Confidencial

Cerberus wants to take advantage of the appetite that exists for retail premises on Spain’s main high streets at the moment and to this end, has opened a process to sell two of Bankia’s star branches, located on Plaza de Catalunya in Barcelona and at number 1 Calle Alcalá in Madrid, according to sources familiar with proceedings.

The operation has been instrumented through Haya Real Estate, the real estate servicer of Cerberus, which is in charge of managing the assets thanks to the contract signed with the entity, and has been organised as a closed process, rather than through the website, like it does with other assets when it puts them on the market.

In both cases, the bank chaired by José Ignacio Goirrigolzarri is planning to vacate the premises, so that the buyers can let them to a new tenant and whereby obtain more attractive offers.

The establishment located on Alcalá 1, a historical building dating back to the 19th century, has a surface area of 900 m2 spread over the ground floor and basement. The process, which was launched last month, has received interest from several parties looking to acquire the empty space.

On the plus side, it is located right next to the entrance of the well-known Puerta del Sol, and it is very close to Calle Preciados, the most expensive shopping street in Madrid, with an average rent of €3,180/m2, according to Cushman & Wakefield (C&W). On the downside, its shop window overlooking Calle Alcalá is very reduced.

Meanwhile, in Plaza de Cataluna, the 1,000 m2 branch that Bankia owns is homes to its headquarters in the Catalan capital. Haya already identified it at the end of last year as a serious candidate for sale, a decision that it took in the end boosted by the record retail investment figures.

According to figures from Savills-Aguirre Newman, investor interest in the commercial segment in 2017 allowed it to break records, reaching €3.5 billion, levels that the real estate consultancy expects will be maintained this year thanks to the strong outlook that still exists for tourism, amongst other factors.

Plaza de Catalunya is also one of the most commercial areas in Spain, with rents exceeding €1,200/m2, and with the added bonus that it is a genuine magnet for large fashion firms.

In fact, Uniqlo was on the verge of acquiring the 3,000 m2 that Fundación Montemadrid used to own next door to Bankia’s branch, a property that ended up being sold to Desigual to house its new flagship store. El Corte Inglés, Apple, Zara and Fnac are just some of the distinguished neighbours on this sought-after square.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Solvia Invests €8M In Two Logistics Projects In Cataluña

4 October 2017 – Eje Prime

Solvia is strengthening its position in the logistics sector. The real estate company and property developer, which is owned by Banco Sabadell, is going to construct two new logistics platforms in Cataluña. These properties, in which Solvia will invest €8 million, will house the headquarters of Nexans and Mediapost and will be located in Polinyà (Vallès Occidental).

Solvia will finance the turn-key operations and will ultimately own the two assets, which are going to be built on land already owned by the bank, according to Expansión. Nexans and Mediapost, specialising in cable solutions and promotional marketing, respectively, will sign long-term lease contracts with Solvia.

Whilst Nexans’ warehouse will have a surface area of 7,200 m2 and will be ready by the first quarter of 2018, Mediapost’s space will have a surface area of 13,900 m2 and will be handed over during the first quarter of 2019.

In addition to developing its logistics business, Solvia is also boosting its commercial footprint across Spain. Its strategic plan includes opening 180 franchised branches and 36 own offices all over the country between now and 2019.

In addition, as Eje Prime revealed, Solvia plans to open branches in prime locations. The company opened a flagship store in the Spanish capital, on Calle Alcalá (in the heart of the Salamanca neighbourhood) during the first half of this year and has just opened an iconic office in the heart of Barcelona, at number 16, Ronda Universidad, a stone’s throw from fashion operators such as Zara and Desigual, as well as Apple’s flagship store in the Catalan capital.

The most recent business line to be developed by Solvia is that of real estate brokerage, with companies and investors. The company is strengthening its advisory and brokerage divisions, whereby positioning itself to compete with the main consultancy firms that operate in Spain, such as CBRE, Aguirre Newman, Cushman&Wakefield and Knight Frank, for example.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Solvia Plans To Have 55 Estate Agent Branches By YE

7 September 2017 – Eje Prime

Solvia is fuelling its high street estate agent business. The servicer arm of Banco Sabadell plans to have more than fifty branches in Spain before the end of the year. The company already has 19 branches of its own spread all over the country and it plans to open around thirty franchises before the end of the year.

According to Cinco Días, Solvia’s strategic plan includes opening 180 franchises and 36 own offices all over Spain between now and 2019. The network of Solvia Stores sold 1,850 homes during the first seven months of the year, worth €233 million.

Moreover, as EjePrime revealed, Solvia plans to open offices in prime locations. The company opened a flagship store in the Spanish capital, on Calle Alcalá (in the heart of the Salamanca neighbourhood) during the first half of the year and has just opened an iconic establishment in the heart of Barcelona, at number 16 on Ronda Universidad, just a stone’s throw from fashion retailers such as Zara and Desigual, and the Apple flagship store in the Catalan capital.

In this way, Solvia is completing its strategy with a physical presence on the high street. For the time being, it has stores open in cities such as Sevilla, Madrid, Alicante, Oviedo, San Sebastián, Valencia, Marbella, Torrevieja and Badalona, amongst others.

The last line of business to be developed by Solvia is that of real estate broker on behalf of companies and investors. The company is boosting its advisory and broker team, in a move that will allow it to compete with the major consultancy firms in Spain, such as CBRE, Aguirre Newman, Cushman & Wakefield and Knight Frank, for example.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Intu To Buy Xanadú Shopping Centre In Madrid For €500M

1 February 2017 – Real Estate Press

Intu has put the highest offer on the table for the Xanadú shopping centre and, although the final terms of the deal have not yet been agreed, all indications suggest that the British group will end up acquiring the sought-after asset.  

Market sources say that the price of this operation (…) could reach as much as €500 million, with an initial yield of almost 4%. That figure would represent a milestone for the market and represents yet another example of the high degree of interest being shown in this kind of asset.

A price of €500 million would exceed the €495 million paid by Deutsche Bank when it purchased Diagonal Mar in Barcelona last year and would make it the largest shopping centre transaction ever closed in Spain.

The Xanadú shopping centre, which is located in the Madrilenian municipality of Arroyomolinos, was inaugurated in May 2003 and is owned by the Canadian group Ivanhoé Cambrdige, the real estate division of Caisse de Dépôt et placement du Québec, one of Canada’s largest institutional funds.

Ivanhoé bought Madrid Xanadú in 2006 from Mills Corporation, together with two other shopping centres, one in Canada – Vaughan Mills (Ontario) and one in Scotland – Saint Enoch (Glasgow) – for a combined value of around €770 million.

The shopping centre in Arroyomolinos has a total surface area of c. 180,000 m2, as well as almost 10,000 parking spaces, of which 500 are indoors.

Madrid Xanadú houses almost 220 stores, leased to tenants such as Hipercor, El Corte Inglés, Bricor, Apple, Hollister and Decathlon. It also offers leisure facilities, oriented towards families and young people, including a 15-screen cinema, a mini-golf course, a mini theme park, themed restaurants and a bowling alley.

The shopping centre also has an indoor ski area, the only one in Spain and the largest in Europe, with almost 18,000 m2 of slopes.

Moreover, last summer, Ivanhoé signed an agreement with the attraction park manager Parques Reunidos to construct an Aquarium in Madrid Xanadú. Both companies reached the agreement with Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), a division of Viacom to construct a leisure centre with characters from Nickelodeon at Madrid Xanadú.

The aquarium, which will open its doors in 2017, will be the first in Madrid and the first in a shopping centre in Spain, whilst the Nickelodeon leisure centre will open its doors at the beginning of 2018 and will be the first of its kind in Madrid. Madrid Xanadú is located fifteen minutes from the centre of the capital by car and is well connected to all points in the Community of Madrid.

Original story: Real Estate Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ivanhoé Puts Madrid’s Xanadú Shopping Centre Up For Sale

14 September 2016 – Cinco Días

It is going to be one of the largest operations in the real estate market. The Canadian giant Ivanhoé Cambridge has begun the process to prepare the sale of the Xanadú de Arroyomolinos shopping centre (in Madrid), one of the largest five shopping centres in Spain. The aim is to close the transaction during the first half of 2017.

Several real estate brokers have already registered their interest and, in turn, have started to sound out potential investors with high purchasing power, given that it is expected that the operation price will exceed €500 million; that would represent a record figure for a transaction involving a shopping centre in Spain.

Madrid Xanadú was inaugurated in 2003. The property was developed by a joint venture between the US multi-national The Mills and the Spanish company PGC (Parcelatoria Gonzalo Chacón), which sold its stake to its American partner a year later. The real estate company Ivanhoé Cambridge acquired the centre in 2007 for €770 million, in an operation that included two other retail complexes in the UK and Canada.

Located 29 km away from the centre of Madrid, Xanadú was an innovation more than a decade ago as it included an artificial ski slope, open all year round. The centre has a gross leasable and leisure area measuring 152,000 sqm, exceeded only by Puerto Venecia (Zaragoza), Marineda City (A Coruña) and Parquesur (in Leganés, Madrid), according to data from the Spanish Association of Shopping Centres and Retail Parks (AECC). The centre is home to range of stores including the Inditex group, H&M, Apple and Primark. Hipercor and El Corte Inglés also have shops there, although those assets would fall outside of this transaction.

The search for investors

Various source in the sector have confirmed that Ivanhoé Cambridge has commissioned the US real estate broker Eastdil Secured to start designing the sales process. It is likely that the firm will look for a partner with a presence in Spain (one of the large specialist consultancy firms) with more knowledge of the local market. The aim is that the process to look for possible buyers will begin between October and November so that an agreement can be reached from the beginning of next year onwards.

Eastdil Secured was in fact responsible for selling the Diagonal Mar shopping centre in Barcelona this summer to Deutsche Bank for €493 million, in a record deal that demonstrated investors’ confidence in the economic recovery in Spain and in the local real estate sector after the harsh years of the crisis, which began in 2008.

Expected to fetch at least €450 million

The various sources disagree with respect to the possible price of this asset, saying that it could range from €450 million to more than €500 million. In its favour, this shopping centre is one of the largest in the country, it houses many of the major retailers, and it also offers a vast leisure space. But, unlike Diagonal Mar, it is a long way from the city centre. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Ivanhoé Cambridge explained that the firm does not comment on “market speculation” about the investment strategy.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Pontegadea’s Profits Doubled In 2014 To €182M

14 August 2015 – El País

Amancio Ortega’s property company Pontegadea closed 2014 with assets worth €5,593 million, an increase of €1,004 million compared with 2013. The company generated rental income of €182 million in 2014, compared with €93 million in 2013. Meanwhile, Pontegadea Inversiones, the parent company through which Ortega manages all of his investments, made a profit of €2,560 million.

Pontegadea Inmobiliaria’s revenues increased to €189 million last year, up by 10%. However, its profits doubled. According to the management report submitted by the real estate company to the Companies Registry, “the increase in profits was driven mainly by an improvement in the financial result, due to the positive evolution of the property market and favourable exchange rate differences”.

Ortega founded his real estate company in 2002. Its head office is in Arteixo (A Coruña), which is also home to the headquarters of Inditex, the company that owns fashion chains such as Zara and Massimo Dutti, which converted Ortega into a millionaire. (…).

Landlord to global brands

Pontegadea’s core business is the lease of buildings. In fact, it is the landlord to some of the world’s most famous brands, such as Apple in Plaza de Cataluña in Barcelona, Primark’s new store on Gran Vía in Madrid and a multitude of Zara stores throughout Europe. Through its leases, it had committed receipts worth €433 million in 2014; less than in 2013, when they amounted to €571 million.

The company has transferred all of the profit it made in 2014 to its voluntary reserves, i.e. to increase Pontegadea Inmobiliaria’s cash balance. In total, the company owes credit institutions €55 million. And its liability balance is fairly small, given the sector in which it operates, but it has increased by 71% in just one year. The majority of its commitments are short term, with €412 million due to mature within one year.

Ortega’s interest in property represents a small part of his huge investments. Pontegadea Inmobiliaria is accountable to Pontegadea Inversiones, the parent company that organises all of his activities. He also receives revenues from his shareholdings in Inditex (which he owns through Gartler and Partler). He also owns real estate subsidiaries in the UK, Mexico, France and Canada, as well as a biotechnology firm. According to the consolidated accounts, the group ended the year with assets amounting to €21,519 million, an increase of €2,182 million. Its revenues amounted to €18,362 million (up by 8.3%) and its profits increased by 2.1% to €2,560 million.

Original story: El País (by Cristina Delgado)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Amancio Ortega’s RE Jewels In The Heart Of Madrid & BCN

26 March 2015 – Expansión

The largest shareholder of Inditex has an extensive real estate portfolio that includes properties and retail stores on the two most desirable streets in both cities.

They are the most sought-after streets in Spain for any real estate investor. On the one hand, Paseo de Gracia, in Barcelona, the star shopping street in the Catalan capital. On the other hand, the Paseo de la Castellana, in Madrid, an object of desire for any investor and a prime office location. As such, both have piqued the interest of Amancio Ortega, who owns more than ten buildings on the two thoroughfares.

Through Pontegadea, the company that the founder and majority shareholder of Inditex channels his investments through after closing his Sicavs, Ortega has purchased six buildings on the Catalan avenue and another five on the Madrid street.

In the case of the Paseo de Gracia, the most recent acquisition was made last year when Ortega purchased an office building located at number 1 on the street, on the corner with the famous Plaza Cataluña, for €44 million. This space, which has been leased to Banesto until now, will be converted into an Iberostar Hotel. A few months earlier, he acquired the commercial premises in the same building for €80 million, which are leased to Apple (see picture above). That US multinational is not Ortega’s only illustrious tenant; others include Fnac, Baker & Mackenzie, Burberry and Google.

In March 2012, Pontegadea acquired another building also on the Paseo de Gracia. In that case, Ortega’s company paid Sacyr €53.5 million for the building located at number 56. Measuring more than 9,000 square metres, it is leased to the British textile manufacturer Burberry. The Inditex owner is also the landlord of the building at number 93.

Madrid

The purchases made in the last decade have made Amancio Ortega one of the largest property owners on Madrid’s main thoroughfare: the Paseo de la Castellana. The owner of Zara joined the select club of property owners in that area in 2004, when he acquired number 92 (that same year he made a joint purchase with Metrópolis of an office building on the Paseo de Gracia, 16, which was converted into luxury housing). On the Castellana, Ortega also owns number 35, which he acquired in 2005; and number 79, the former headquarters of Axa, which he renovated to create a new office building with a shopping area, now leased to Fnac and Habitat.

But, undoubtedly, the jewel in Ortega’s crown in Madrid was acquired at the end of 2011, when he signed an agreement with FCC to purchase the Torre Picasso. He paid €400 million for the skyscraper that sits in the heart of the city’s financial district, just a few metres from the Paseo de la Castellana – a record figure for a single building, second only to the €815 million that the then Caja Madrid invested in the Torre Foster.

Nevertheless, it was not the first time that Pontegadea had paid so much in a real estate transaction. At the end of 2007, Amancio Ortega paid €458 million to Santander for the acquisition of ten buildings located in several Spanish cities, which included Castellana, 24 and Paseo de Gracia, 5.

These two great Spanish streets are just an example of Ortega’s extensive property holdings, which also include buildings leased to Inditex companies, such as for example Serrano, 23, in Madrid, which is leased to Zara. In the last full financial year (2013), Pontegadea’s assets were valued at €4,519.5 million and they generated a profit of €93.3 million, compared with €70.5 million a year earlier.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake