Trinitario Casanova Loses Court Battle Over the Hotel Plaza España

2 December 2019 – Trinitario Casanova, an executive based in Orihuela who is the head of the Murcian Baraka Group, lost another round in his lawsuits against the RIU hotel chain. Casanova has been battling in court since an operation in which he intervened to buy the Edifício España in Madrid from Chinese investor Wanda and, simultaneously, sell it to the Mallorcan firm to turn it into a hotel. The courts had already ruled against the executive in May when RIU was allowed to open the hotel. Now the latest ruling stated that the Baraka Group did not have a repurchase option on the ground-floor commercial premises.

Original Story: Alicante Plaza – David Martínez

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Trinitario Casanova Files €713-Million Lawsuit Against BBBVA

16 October 2019 Trinitario Casanova announced that he had filed a €713-million lawsuit against BBVA, demanding compensation for damages stemming from Operation Chamartín.

The owner of the Baraka Group contends that he is filing the lawsuit to defend the right of reversion that he acquired from the members of the Non-Abuse association, an NGO which was created to defend the rights of the original owners of the land where the Chamartín station is now located.

In his lawsuit, Casanova argues that BBVA should pay him a total of 713 million euros should it not wish to accept the executive’s right of reversion and return the 1.3 million square meters of land linked to the Operation Chamartín.

Original Story: Eje Prime

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Trinitario Casanova’s Baraka Group to Build Hotel in Valdebebas

14 October 2019 The executive Trinitario Casanova is planning on building a new hotel in Madrid Norte, the capital’s new residential area, between Valdebebas and Operation Chamartín. Casanova’s Baraka Group confirmed that it would develop the new hotel on a 38,000-m2 plot of land its owns near to the Real Madrid sports complex and the access to Madrid-Barajas airport. The project reportedly also includes plans for rental offices on the same site.

The area where the hotel will be located is in the ‘Valdebebas Fintech District’ in the new Madrid Nuevo Norte in the north of Madrid, where 11,400 new homes are already under development.

Original Story: La Información – Ana Sánchez Juárez

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Trinitario Casanova Invests €15M in a Logistics Platform in Barcelona

21 February 2017 – Expansión

Through the Baraka Group, the Murcian businessman has purchased a plot of land measuring more than 30,000 m2 from Consum, where it is going to build a logistics warehouse.

The construction group Baraka, controlled by the well-known businessman Trinitario Casanova, has completed the purchase of a plot of land dedicated to logistics-industrial use, located in the municipality of Sant Esteve Sesrovires, in Barcelona.

The land, owned until now by the Consum group, spans 30,665 m3; and Baraka is going to build a 19,213 m2 complex on the site, split into modules of around 6,000 m2, with the aim of leasing them to three operators, said the company. Currently, Baraka is negotiating with two companies interested in the project, say sources at the group, speaking to Expansión.

Sources at the company highlight the location of the future platform in the “strategic enclave of the Can Estella industrial estate, located next to the A-2 and AP-7 motorways, which connect the Mediterranean Arc with Barcelona, the main traffic route from Europe through the Mediterranean and Pyrenees, with Madrid”.

In total, Baraka is going to invest €15 million in this project.

In parallel to this industrial project, Baraka is working on the marketing of the commercial area of Edificio España, the property that it acquired last June from the Chinese Wanda Group, only to immediately sell it onto RIU Hotels.

In addition to the Edificio España operation, Casanova acquired a building on c/Preciados 13, also in Madrid, as well as the adjacent building, which houses the Carlos V Hotel. In the case of c/Preciados 13, Baraka has teamed up with the real estate group Hines, which is acting as the financial partner, whilst the Spanish firm is taking care of the building work and the search for a new tenant.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Baraka Completes €7M Capital Increase & Ends Deal With Hines

13 December 2017 – Eje Prime

Trinitario Casanova is ending the year with a low profile. After the hype of Edificio España and his various other investments in the Spanish real estate market, the Murcian businessman is preparing for next year by inflating his financial capacity by €7 million. Moreover, his company recently broke its agreement with Hines to market the asset that the former sold to the latter, specifically, number 13 Calle Preciados, according to sources close to the group speaking to Eje Prime.

The group’s most recent activity includes a €6.8 million capital increase by the company Baraka Invest Global, the investment arm of Trinitario Casanova, through which he invests in real estate and other types of business. In this way, the company’s share capital rose to €96.8 million, according to the Official Gazette of the Mercantile Registry.

Baraka Invest Global is the company through which Trinitario Casanova has carried out its most recent real estate operations. It is also the parent company of other entities such as Baraka Ventures of Florida, specialising in real estate investments; Baraka Viviendas, specialising in the development of homes and residential land; and Baraka Renta, which is responsible for promoting and operating shopping centres for rent.

Despite fortifying its investment companies, the firm has lost several businesses along the way this year. One example is the agreement that it held with Hines regarding number 13 Calle Preciados. Sources in the sector explain that, although Casanova had signed a marketing agreement with the US group, that deal is no longer valid, and Hines is now solely responsible for marketing the asset (…).

Baraka sells land

Nevertheless, Trinitario Casanova has been pushing ahead with many of the projects in his portfolio (…). In November, he sold the last three residential plots he owned in one of the development areas in the north of Madrid, Valdebebas. In fact, Grupo Baraka sold land with a total buildable surface area of 35,000 m2, after reaching an agreement with the joint venture between Gestilar and Morgan Stanley. The new owners plan to invest €100 million on the construction of around 200 homes (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Trinitario Casanova Sells Large Plot In North Madrid To Gestilar-Morgan

13 November 2017 – El Confidencial

It has taken Trinitario Casanova more than a year to make his move since he became a landowner in Valdebebas, one of the main areas of development in the north of Madrid. But in the end, he has acted and he has done so with one of the new stars in the market, the joint venture created by Gestilar and Morgan Stanley. The parties are currently finalising an agreement, which, if nothing goes wrong, will be signed this week and which will result in the sale of all Casanova’s residential plots.

It was in the spring of 2016 when the owner of the Baraka Group purchased Parque Empresarial El Olivar, a company owned by the Cort Lagos family. With it, he acquired 114,000 m2 of land, spread over eight residential plots, plus one for industrial and commercial use that by itself measured 46,000 m2.

Since then, Casanova has been focused on removing the company from the bankruptcy situation that it fell into four years ago and which had reached the liquidation phase when Baraka appeared. This objective was achieved on 27 September, when the Mercantile Court number 5 of Madrid resolved “to declare the reactivation of the dissolved company Parque Empresarial del Olivar”, according to the ruling to which El Confidencial has had access.

With this sentence in his hand, Trinitario has been able to sit down and negotiate, with ease, to sell the three residential plots that he still owns in Valdebebas, given that the other five were auctioned off before Baraka managed to purchase Parque Empresarial and were pre-awarded to Grupo Amenábar and Premier. The party chosen by the businessman as the new owner of his land is the joint venture that Gestilar and Morgan Stanley have created.

The property developer owned by the García-Valcárcel family has been analysing these plots in Valdebebas for a while, and other giants, such as Castlelake, the fund behind Aedas Homes, had also expressed their interest in the past. The negotiations accelerated following Parque Empresarial’s exit from bankruptcy and last week, they managed to reach the point of agreement, according to the sources consulted.

As El Confidencial revealed, Gestilar and Morgan Stanley have constituted a joint venture, which they plan to endow with €100 million, whose vocation is to acquire plots of land over the next four or five years. They plan to build around 1,000 new homes thereon, a figure that equals the entire portfolio that Gestilar currently has under development.

An important portion of this plan may be achieved only with the success of the operation in Valdebebas, one of the most sought-after areas in Madrid, and therefore in all of Spain, but also one of the areas most affected by legal uncertainty. For years now, the courts have been ruling against the way in which this development has been carried out, which has forced licence granting processes to be suspended on several occasions.

Trinitario Casanova, who took on the debt of Parque Empresarial when he acquired the entity, will continue to be present in the development, as he will retain control of the 46,000 m2 industrial and commercial plot, where he wants to boost the activity of his construction company Trabis, an aim that is always behind the real estate movements of the Baraka Group.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

RIU Seeks To Grow Its ‘Hotel Plaza’ Business Line

17 May 2017 – Expansión

RIU is on a roll. As it waits for the starting gun to fire on its Edificio España project in Madrid, the Mallorcan hotel chain is analysing other destinations in order to strengthen its Plaza business line, which is strategic for the group, whereby adding new locations to the Plaza brand.

The CEO of RIU and Head of Canary Islands, Morocco, Portugal and Cape Verde, Félix Casado, explained in an interview with Expansión that the group is considering destinations such as Barcelona, Paris and Rome to continue the business it started in 2010, when it opened its first RIU Plaza hotel in Panama. Since then, it has added another five Plaza branded establishments in Berlin, Dublin, Miami, Guadalajara and New York. But, for the time being, it does not have any in Spain. At the beginning of the year, the company announced its plans to team up with Baraka to manage and invest in the mega-hotel that the Murcian group is planning to open in Edificio España.

“We are very excited about the idea of handling this project in Madrid, in particular, in a building as iconic as Edificio España. The negotiations are not proving easy and now we have to wait for the purchase operation to be closed, which has been delayed for three months, before we can start construction”, said the Director. Casado said that his firm’s investment commitment with the Baraka Group “continues”, in line with expectations, with the aim of creating a joint venture to which the hotel chain will contribute 25% of the investment.

In terms of the possibility of undertaking a project on its own, in the event that Baraka does not manage to close the purchase within the scheduled timeframe – i.e. by June – Casado simply said that that option “is not envisaged”. And he added: “The other line would be a separate study that would have to be analysed from the point of view of the required investment and the return”.

Entry into China

Besides the urban business, the hotel group’s growth plan involves expanding into vacation destinations, both in America as well as in Asia.

The company, which operates in 19 countries with almost one hundred hotels, is considering entering China, starting out in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. “We would be willing to invest in all of these destinations. RIU is going to attend the ITB Tourism Fair in China to consolidate its relations there and create new business opportunities”, said Casado.

In addition, RIU has not ruled out returning to Cuba, which it left in 2015, with the management of new hotels. “We are looking at various possibilities to return to Cuba. We have experience in that destination and if an opportunity arises that fits with out philosophy then we will explore it”.


In addition, the hotel group is committed to repositioning its products through major renovation projects. Within the framework of this strategy, the Spanish group will spend €400 million this year on construction and renovations, of which almost €150 million will be spent on improving its hotel portfolio in Spain.

“We are diversifying the product and we are updating it, so as not to get left behind, with the aim of ensuring that our clients are happy, which is one of the priorities of RIU”, he said. Recently, RIU opened the doors to its Club Hotel RIU Costa del Sol in Torremolinos, after combining and renovating the RIU Belplaya and RIU Costa Lago hotels.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hines Acquires c/Preciados 13 & c/Maestro Victoria 5 In Madrid

13 March 2017 – Mis Oficinas

The Baraka Group, the former owner, will manage and market the property until the renovation project is completed.

Aguirre Newman has advised Hines on the purchase of the adjoining buildings on Calles Preciados 13 and Maestro Victoria 5 in Madrid, from the Baraka Group. The future plans for the property involve the development of a 5,000 m2 flagship store, which will be managed and marketed by the Baraka Group until it is handed over (most likely in 2018).

It is the second operation between Hines and the Baraka Group that Aguirre Newman has advised and it may be considered to be the most ambitious and representative development on Calle Preciados, given that it will house a large store with a surface area of more than 5,000 m2 spread over several floors.

In fact, according to Aguirre Newman, this operation will be one of the most representative of the year on the high street in terms of volume and representativity, given that, although investor appetite to invest in retail premises is high, few opportunities arise to acquire assets with similar characteristics.

Calle Preciados is still the most expensive street in Spain, although prices there are still well below those charged in the prime areas of London, Paris and Milan.

For Aguirre Newman, the imminent developments in Canalejas and Edificio España have already become a reality and are changing the central area of Madrid. The strong tourism figures, as well as the future retail and hotel projects that are going to be developed in the area, are attracting international brands and investment funds, seduced by what is expected to be the great transformation of the central area of Madrid, which began with the commercial development of Gran Vía and is now moving along the Canalejas-Sol-Plaza España axis.

Retail groups’ interest in positioning themselves in the centre of the city also extends to adjacent streets such as Montera and Arenal, according to the real estate consultancy Aguirre Newman.

Original story: Mis Oficinas 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Baraka Seeks Tenant For Edificio España’s Shopping Arcade

9 March 2017 – Expansión

The Baraka Group is looking for a tenant for the 15,000 m2 retail space that it will open in Edificio España. Galerías Lafayette is holding negotiations with the Murcian group. El Corte Inglés and Printemps are also interested.

With less than a month to go before construction work begins at Edificio España, the Baraka Group already has suitors to occupy the first few floors of the building, which will house a shopping arcade. Galerías Lafayette is one of the parties interested in leasing and managing the retail space, which will have a surface area of 15,000 m2, spread over three floors and one basement area.

If it manages to reach an agreement with Baraka, Galerías Lafayette’s entry into Edificio España would also represent its arrival in Spain. The large Parisian department store already has four stores outside of France. (…).

The Baraka Group has also said that other parties are interested in leasing the retail space in Edificio España, including the French firm Printemps and El Corte Inglés. The group chaired by Dimas Gimeno already owns stores on Calles Princesa and Preciados, as well as in Callao, and so, a priori, this project is not strategic for the Spanish chain.

“Nothing has been agreed yet. We have received bids from lots of interested parties, some of them have been rejected and others are being considered. All of the major players in the world of retail are interested”, explained the President of the Baraka Group, Trinitario Casanova, yesterday.

The businessman emphasised that there is still plenty of time to analyse the bids. “The company is not going to receive any rental income for another two years, so there is no rush. The negotiations – some of which are in advanced stages – could take three to six months or even a year”.

In addition to the shopping arcade, the skyscraper will also house a hotel, which will occupy twenty-three floors, with around 700 rooms, as well as a sky bar on the roof, meeting rooms, themed restaurants and a swimming pool.

The Murcian group signed an agreement in July last year with the Wanda Group to buy the asset for €272 million, €7 million more than the Chinese Group paid Banco Santander for the property in 2014. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Baraka Seeks Financing For Edificio España Purchase

3 March 2017 – Expansión

The Baraka group still has a month left before it has to close the operation to purchase the Madrilenian building Edificio España from the Chinese group Wanda, but the initial idea of financing the acquisition through a syndicated loan secured by the property itself, is not going to be possible.

The group is going to have to find another way, whereby it either contributes the funds to complete the purchase directly, or it finds a partner to participate with it in the operation.

By way of background, Baraka, the group owned by Trinitario Casanova, signed an agreement to purchase Edificio España for €272 million, in July 2016. To date, it has only disbursed a small amount of that sum, around €20 million, with the remaining balance due before the deadline at the end of this month (…).

The group has already held negotiations with Banco Sabadell and Bankia, as well as with other possible interested parties, regarding the granting of a syndicated loan amounting to almost €300 million. The idea was that it would serve to finance part of the purchase of the building and part of the renovation project, which is going to house a hotel, luxury homes for rent and a retail space, which will include a luxury restaurant and maybe even a casino.

This alternative, in which the group Matutes was initially going to participate, became impossible when Baraka reached a definitive agreement with the hotel group RIU. The deal significantly modified that real estate project, given that RIU agreed to contribute €100 million to carry out the renovation, in exchange for the expansion of the surface area designated to the hotel (to occupy 22 of the floors in the building), at the expense of space initially allocated for rental homes. The plans now involve building a 4-star macro-hotel in the centre of Madrid with 650 rooms, which will be run by the RIU Plaza brand.

However, the contract signed between Baraka and Riu strictly prohibits the mortgaging of Edificio España to finance the purchase operation, and so that ruled out the possibility of the syndicated loan. The banks interested in granting financing for the purchase of the building have asked Baraka to provide other, different, properties by way of guarantee. The group, which operates in the construction, real estate and supermarket businesses, owns several buildings but even combined they do not represent sufficient collateral, say sources in the sector.


One of the pitfalls for financing the operation is the high LTV demanded by the group led by Trinitario Casanova. Baraka has approached the entities to finance between 75% and 80% of the property’s value, however, the entities are prepared to lend only around 65%, say these sources.

Another option is that Baraka, which has sufficient funds, disburses the amount necessary to complete the purchase operation and then the banks finance the renovation project. In total, Baraka must invest around €400 million, from which it will have to deduct the €100 million that RIU will contribute (….) or reach an agreement with a third investor willing to participate in some or all of the project.

In addition, RIU reserves the right to veto any financing operation if it considers that it could endanger the project. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by S. Arancibia and R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake