Madrid Gov’t Wants To Sell Its Land Next To The Cuatro Torres

24 March 2015 – Expansión

Plans / Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the deadline for bidders to submit alternative plans to the Town Hall for the land where a convention centre was initially proposed.

The Town Hall of Madrid has decided to take advantage of the momentum in the Spanish real estate sector and make a profit from the plot of land it owns next to the Cuatro Torres, land that was severely hit by the crisis.

The site, located just behind the four skyscrapers owned by Bankia, Sacyr, Mutua Madrileña and Grupo Villar Mir, was designed to house Madrid’s International Convention Centre. However, in 2010, once construction work had already begun, Madrid’s Government got into financial difficulties, which put a stop to the project that was going to cost €300 million.

Five years later, the Town Hall of Madrid has launched a tender for the development of this plot and the transfer of the right to use this land for a 75-year period. The deadline for the receipt of offers ends tomorrow, according to the initial plan. However, sources in the real estate sector believe that this date may be extended, since interested parties have barely had a month to evaluate the land’s characteristics and its possible uses.

The land measures 33,325 square metres, with a maximum buildable area of 70,000 square metres. Around 53,000 m2 of this space must be devoted to public use. The remainder, around 17,500 square metres, may be used as a commercial area, but not a large shopping centre. “The special plan classifies the land as a single premises and, as an alternative use, it includes the possibility of devoting the land to the public administrations. Moreover, it establishes a regime of compatible uses, such as recreation and leisure, small and medium sized shops and other tertiary uses besides offices”, say sources at the Town Hall.

The possibilities include the construction of a large educational centre or a hospital. To this end, several investment funds have made contact with companies, Spanish and international, to offer them a turn-key project. That is, they buy the land and construct a building for a company, which then commits to rent it under a long-term contract.

In its award of the land, the Town Hall will take into account not only the financial offer, but also the requirement for the buildings be energy efficient, both during their construction and their subsequent use, and that the architectural appearance contributes “a singular piece to the urban landscape”. The successful bidder will pay an annual fee of €1.935 million.


KPMG’s recent move to the Cuatro Torres makes it the latest tenant to occupy offices in the complex. Opened between 2008 and 2009, the Madrid skyscrapers suffered when the (real estate) bubble burst, as its rate of uptake slowed down. Following KPMG’s move, Mutua’s property (Torre de Cristal), which until now had the most space available, will reach an occupancy rate of 70%. Torre Foster, owned by Bankia, is mostly occupied by Cepsa, although the bank itself also uses several floors. Sacyr’s skyscraper is entirely rented out to PwC and the Eurostars hotel, whilst the Torre Espacio has an occupancy rate of close to 90%.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Who’s Who In The ‘Operación Chamartín’ Project?

2 March 2015 – Expansión

Madrid / The most important real estate project to be undertaken in Spain in recent years is being driven by BBVA and the San José group, which together own the development company; three public bodies are also participating in the project, as well as companies such as Renfe.

On 30 January, a swarm of photographers surrounded tens of public figures including distinguished representatives from the financial world, such as Francisco González, Chairman of BBVA, and Spanish businessmen and politicians. It was not a chance encounter, but rather a meeting to formally present of one of the largest real estate developments ever planned in Spain and one of the most important in the world today: the Castellana Norte project.

The official presentation of the development, known until now as Operación Chamartín, put the finishing touches to more than two decades of negotiations and collaborative work between public and private companies.

The project, which will require an investment of almost €6,000 million for the development of almost 3 million square metres (of land), has required consensus from the developers, BBVA and the constructor group, San José, as well as the Town Hall of Madrid, the Community of Madrid, the Ministry of Development and executives at Renfe. But, which role will each party be taking on?

“This would not have been possible without the support of BBVA”, announced one of the real estate experts who has worked, together with 31 professional teams from more than twenty countries, on the preparation of the Castellana North project. The financial entity owns 75.5% of the plan’s developer, the Castellana Norte Madrid company (formerly Dutch), having inherited the stake from Argentaria following its acquisition in 1999. The company is the owner of the rights of 61.6% of the land (amounting to almost two million square metres).

Its partner in this (development) company is the construction group San José. The company owned by Jacinto Rey had to divest its real estate assets during the last refinancing process it underwent. Nevertheless, it managed to retain its stake in the former company Dutch, showing its commitment to this project, which is expected to be executed over 20 years.

After the Castellana Norte company, the Town Hall of Madrid owns the next largest plot of land, with a 5.3% stake. On 19 February, the Council approved the revision of the Partial Plan for the Interior Reform of Operación Chamartín (Plan Parcial de Reforma Interior de la Operación Chamartín), which will organise the 3,114,336 square metres under development.

In that document, the Town Hall has committed to carrying out the construction works of the Nudo Norte (North Junction) and Nudo Fuencarral (Fuencarral Junction) set out in the plan, although the expenses incurred will be borne by the developer.


62% of the land owned by the company Castellana Norte was transferred from Renfe. This land is partly occupied by the train tracks that converge at Chamartín station. The railway company, which reports to the Ministry of Development, will receive €1,250 million for the transfer of this land over a 20 year period.

Furthermore, Renfe, which owns 1.4% of the land, together with Adif, will take responsibility for the execution of the remodelling of Chamartín Station; the construction of the new tunnel to connect the high speed line between Atocha and Chamartín; the construction of the stations in Fuencarral; and the construction of the structure that will cover the tracks.

Meanwhile, the Community of Madrid will be responsible for the design and execution of the construction of the new metro line that will run through the area, but the cost of that will be borne by the management company.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake