Baraka to Invest Nearly €20 Million to Acquire and Convert the Cinema Ideal into a 4-Star Hotel

8 November 2019 – Baraka is planning to convert the former Cinema Ideal in Alicante into a four-star hotel in a total investment of nearly twenty million euros. The firm is negotiating to buy the property from its current owners for approximately €6 million and to invest another 13 million euros in the renovation.

The firm is looking to convert the asset into a 60-room hotel, including a restaurant, gym and lounge bar. Baraka hopes to inaugurate the hotel in 2022. NH has agreed to operate the unit under its NH Collection brand during a 20-year lease.

Original Story: Alicante Plaza – Raúl Navarro

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Riu Hotels Wins a Small Victory Over Casanova in the Dispute Regarding Edificio España

1 March 2019 – El Español

A small victory (bringing the total to two) for Riu Hotels in the fight for ownership of the commercial space in Edificio España. The judge has dismissed the precautionary measures that the Baraka group, owned by the Murcian businessman Trinitario Casanova, requested to prevent the registration of the property in the name of the hotel group.

The magistrate has rejected the claim on the basis that there is no evidence, “in a clear and unequivocal way, of the relationship that must necessarily exist between what is claimed in the lawsuit and what is recorded in the Property Registry”. Specifically, Baraka requested that the inscription in the registry should include a note establishing the existence of a dispute over the ownership status.

The objective of that measure is to ensure that any possible investor in the commercial space knows that problems may arise in the future regarding the ownership. Nevertheless, the magistrate considers that the group owned by Trinitario Casanova has not proved its ownership of those spaces in the correct way.

Baraka is going to appeal

Specifically, and according to explanations provided by the group, there is a discrepancy between its lawyers and the judge because the lawsuit against the hotel firm was made directly by Baraka’s parent company, rather than by the company that the group used to purchase Edificio España (and which was subsequently transferred to its parent company ahead of the sale to Riu).

This is the second time that the courts have rejected Baraka’s requests, which in the opinion of Riu Hotels is good news. “We are continuing to work to open Hotel Riu Plaza España in the summer of 2019”, said the group in a statement to this newspaper.

The decision by the judge will be appealed by the Baraka group (…) and the Murcian group is convinced that it is in the right.

Original story: El Español (by Arturo Criado)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Baraka Invests €60M in the Construction of 2 Skyscrapers in Torrevieja

21 January 2019 – Idealista

Trinitario Casanova is on a roll with Baraka. Baraka Properties, the group’s arm specialising property development, has invested €60 million in the construction of two skyscrapers in Torrevieja, which will house more than 130 homes and 250 tourist apartments, according to explanations provided by the company to Idealista News.

The project is going to materialise into two 26-storey towers. Whilst the first will be dedicated to housing in its entirety, the second will be dedicated to hotel use. “Right now, the approval of the project is in the evaluation phase, although our plans are to finalise this first phase during the first quarter of the year”, explain sources at the group, “and once the project has been approved, we will request the licence”.

The land on which the two towers are going to be built is located on Avenida Doctor Gregorio Marañon, on the seafront next to the Doña Sinforosa park. “It is 200 metre from the marina, and all of the homes from the first floor up will have views of the sea. The homes from the fifth floor up will have 360º views”, say sources at Baraka Properties.

According to the company, these will be the first towers in the city, and the tallest to date. The other enclave with towers of this calibre is Benidorm. “The trend for tourists in the area is to look for more unique properties, with higher quality finishes, where they can be offered services like in an American condominium, and this plot fulfils all of those characteristics, both due to its location, and its scale/volume”, they conclude.

In total, 32,000 m2 of space is going to be built in the two towers, and by way of reference, the price per m2 of the penthouse will amount to around €7,000/m2, making it one of the most expensive developments in the area (…).

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja & P. Martínez-Almeida)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Baraka Triggers the Immediate Suspension of the Building Work at Edificio España

23 November 2018 – El Economista

The magistrate of the Court of First Instance nº 67 of Madrid has ruled that the building work on Edificio España in Madrid be suspended immediately due to the risk alleged by Baraka before that legal body.

Baraka, the company owned by the businessman Trinitario Casanova, filed a lawsuit before the courts of Madrid in August requesting the suspension of the building work on the hotel in Edificio España, in Madrid, which is now owned by the hotel chain Riu. The hotel firm purchased the iconic building in Plaza España from Baraka last year.

Baraka is claiming in the courts that the commercial premises inside the building, spanning 15,000 m2, belong to it and that Riu is refusing to sign across the deeds.

The hotel group Riu indicates that it has not yet received any notification to suspend its building work, according to sources speaking to El Economista. The hotel chain clarifies that Baraka does not have any contract with purchase rights or to register on public record the commercial space in Edificio España. Indeed, they note that at the time of Riu’s purchase of the building, Baraka signed “a non-representative mandate contract to search for investors for the commercial area, which it has failed to do”, despite repeated requests from the hotel chain.

The firm points out that a sales agreement has been reached with Corpfin Capital Real Estate for the commercial area, which was signed in September and which is on the verge of being executed. Riu is threatening to sue Baraka for damages and losses if the building work at Edificio España is affected. The hotel chain is going to invest between €380 million and €400 million in the project, including the purchase of the building (around €272 million) and its renovation.

The future hotel will be a four-star property and will have 589 rooms, 15 meeting rooms and almost 3,000 m2 for social and corporate events. The inauguration of the hotel is planned for September 2019 and the property will operate under the brand Riu Plaza.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Riu Negotiates Sale of Retail Space in Edificio España to Corpfin

22 August 2018 – Eje Prime

Riu is taking action and, after falling out with Baraka, it now has a potential buyer for the retail space in Edificio España. The hotel chain is finalising the sale of this space in the property, which spans a surface area of 15,000 m2, to the Spanish Socimi Corpfin Capital.

On Tuesday, the Baraka Group announced that it is going to file a lawsuit against Riu for the hotel chain’s refusal to recognise in the deed the 15,000 m2 of retail space that had been promised to the company Baraka Renta following the sale of the building last year. Moreover, the real estate company has demanded that the renovation work on the building, which began in the autumn of 2017, be suspended.

Following the breakdown of the agreement, Riu is now finalising the sale to Corpfin, which, in the event that it goes ahead, will acquire an asset that will be worth €200 million once the renovation of the property has been completed, according to Expansión.

Corpfin Capital has been extremely active in recent months. Just a few weeks ago, the Socimi led by Ana Granado purchased two prime stores from El Corte Inglés in Madrid and Bilbao for €100 million, as reported by Eje Prime. Moreover, in the logistics sector, the company invested €8 million in the acquisition of an asset from Makro.

On the divestment side, in July, Corpfin completed the sale to the fund Swiss Life of thirteen retail premises for €83 million. That operation was carried out through the two Socimis that the company has listed on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB): Corpfin Capital Prime Retail II Socimi (Ccpr II) and Corpfin Capital Prime Retail III Socimi (Ccpr III).

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Baraka Injects €13.4M to Strengthen its Residential & Commercial Businesses

17 May 2018 – Eje Prime

Trinitario Casanova is continuing to add projects to his real estate business in Spain. The Murcian group Baraka has just injected another €13.4 million into its companies that specialise in the residential and commercial sectors. The group’s upcoming plans in Spain include initiating operations in Chamartín, where it has just acquired a plot of land measuring 1.2 million m2.

According to the Official Gazette of the Mercantile Registry (Borme), Baraka has injected another €10 million into its company Baraka Renta. That business division of the group focuses primarily on the purchase of land and the subsequent development and execution of rentals for various companies, both domestic and international, in the food sector.

Baraka has also strengthened its company Baraka House, where it has increased the share capital by €3.5 million. That branch of the group focuses on the development of high-rise homes for young people. “This new line is being carried out in the main cities in Spain thanks to the use of pre-fabricated constructions”, explain sources at Baraka.

In this way, the group is injecting new resources into its companies to undertake new real estate projects in Spain. The latest deal that Casanova has carried out focuses on Madrid, specifically the Operación Chamartín macro-project.

The Murcian businessman has paid €400 million to the original owners of some of the plots of land in Operación Chamartín for their reversion rights to develop 1.2 million m2 of land that is currently owned by Adif.

Rente expropriated these plots with the idea of building the railway station on the site, but, subsequently, the public company reached an agreement with BBVA and Grupo San José to develop the land.

Both companies created the property developer Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN), which is now leading this urban development operation that is going to build 10,500 homes on a surface area spanning 2.66 million m2.

Nevertheless, Casanova wants to take advantage of the claim being made by the reversionists, who are asking the administration to be awarded the right to acquire their former plots in the event that Renfe decided to change the use for which they were expropriated and to sell them, as has actually happened, according to these parties.

Casanova’s next steps for this project in Chamartín involve first paying a cheque for €400 million to the reversionists, who have received a small payment for now whilst they wait for the rights that they are requesting to be activated or not, and later on to pay €1 billion to Adif for the outright purchase of the plots. That is the amount that DCN has promised to pay the Spanish railway manager.

Second generation and reinforcements for the property developer 

Proof that the residential sector is firmly in Baraka’s sights came with the appointment of Fuensanta Casanova, daughter of Trinitario Casanova, as the Head of Development and Investment at Baraka, as Eje Prime revealed in Madrid (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

RIU Starts Work On Edificio España To Open Hotel In 2019

24 October 2017 – Expansión

The Mallorca-based hotel chain RIU has started work to renovate Edificio España, which will house its first hotel in Madrid and which will be the company’s flagship property in the country.

The future RIU Plaza will have a four-star rating and will contain 589 rooms and 15 meeting rooms, with almost 3,000 m2 to be used for events. Moreover, the hotel will have a gastro bar in the reception, two restaurants and a sky bar located on the two upper floors, one of which will have a terrace and a swimming pool.

The hotel chain purchased Edificio España from Baraka back in June in a three-way transaction, shortly after the Murcian group owned by Trinitario Casanova had purchased the property from Wanda for €272 million.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Baraka To Build Nursing Home In Barcelona For €300M

18 July 2017 – Eje Prime

Baraka is setting its sights on the healthcare market. At the beginning of July, the real estate investment company completed the purchase of 600,000 m2 of land and a roof spanning 300,000 m2 for €300 million in Montcada i Reixac (Barcelona), where it will build a complex for the elderly.

The area acquired is located in Can Cabanyes, a zone that borders Barberà and Santa Perpètua de Mogoda. According to Manuel Abadía (pictured above, right), the representative in Cataluña of Trabis (the group’s construction company) (…) once the sale has been signed, work will begin to define the project in more detail.

The company does not have any experience managing these kinds of facilities, and so it will have to team up with a partner specialising in hospital care and management, according to Expansión.

“We intend to create a complex for the elderly, with villa-type homes and garden areas, which will be accompanied by personal care and also, one or two hospitals”, explained Manual Abadía. The representative for Trabis in Cataluña said that the construction phase alone will provide work for 400 people and that when the complex begins operating, “we think that it will sustain at least 200 permanent jobs”, he added. For the time being, no dates have been set for the opening of the facilities.

Baraka set up shop in Cataluña a year and a half ago with the intention of becoming a leading company in the real estate market, especially in the industrial and logistics sector. One of its most recent operations was the purchase, in June, of Edificio España from Wanda. The firm wants to grow its residential projects, amongst other initiatives.

Original story: Eje Prime

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”.

Renovations

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

Riu Rules Out Buying 25% Of Edificio España

3 April 2017 – ABC

Edificio España’s foundations are starting to wobble again. The project backed by the Murcian group Baraka, which announced its plan to buy the skyscraper in July last year, has been hit by two serious setbacks in the last few days.

The first, a problem with Wanda’s documentation, put the brakes on the completion of the sale of the building to the company chaired by Trinitario Casanova. Initially, the two parties had agreed to meet at a notary’s office in Madrid to close the operation, after months of comings and goings, but the Chinese group went to the meeting without the deeds or the annual accounts for the financial year 2016, and so the SPA could not be signed.

According to Baraka, that setback will lead to a delay of three months – at least – in the start of the construction work (which is how long it will take the Chinese group to prepare all the necessary paperwork). Nevertheless, the Murcian company has now suffered an even more important setback. According to sources in the financial and real estate sectors, the hotel chain Riu has decided against investing in the project. The Mallorca-based company was going to acquire a 25% stake in the skyscraper, for which Baraka has agreed to pay Wanda €272 million in total.

700-room hotel

In return, Riu was going to manage the five-star hotel, which would occupy the vast majority of the property. The building was going to have 700 rooms, two swimming pools (one outdoor pool on the roof and another indoor pool on the 16th floor), independent conference rooms and themed restaurants. The rest of the building – four floors – was going to be allocated to retail space and according to Casanova, firms such as El Corte Inglés, the French companies Galerías Lafayette and Printemps, amongst other international brands, had already expressed interest in occupying the space.

However, the whole project is now up in the air following the Riu chain’s decision to not contribute the €68 million that it had committed. The decision will force Baraka to look for a new partner if it is to go ahead with its plans. (…).

Sources in the real estate sector do not rule out the possibility that the “failure to sign” last week was a manoeuvre by the Chinese group to try to thwart Baraka’s purchase of Edificio España and win more time to continuing benefitting from the appreciation in value of the skyscraper. (…).

Meanwhile, the questions surrounding the operation and the project itself are the main reasons that led Riu to decide against acquiring 25% of the complex. However, the Mallorca-based company, which does not have any financing problems, has not ruled out continuing as the tenant of the building and paying a rent in exchange for managing the hotel. (…).

Original story: ABC (by Miguel Oliver and Marta R. Domingo)

Translation: Carmel Drake