Elix Buys a Building in Barcelona for €4.1M

26 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Elix VRS is continuing to grow its portfolio as a listed company. The Socimi, led and founded by Jaime Lacasa and Jorge Benjumeda, has acquired a building in Barcelona for €4.1 million, according to a statement filed by the company with the Alternative Investment Market (MAB).

The purchase of the property, located on Calle Consell de Cent of the Catalan capital, has been financed in part by the company’s own funds (45%) and in part by a loan (55%). The loan, granted by CaixaBank, has a five-year term and a quarterly repayment schedule.

This operation follows the acquisition of four buildings in the centre of Barcelona that the company carried out in August for €34 million. The new assets of Elix VRS, controlled primarily by the property developer Elix and the funds KKR and Altamar, are located in iconic areas of the Catalan capital.

During 2018 and after just one year of life, the Socimi already has 25 projects underway in Madrid and Barcelona. With this volume of operations, the real estate company is going to put more than 300 homes on the market. Six of these projects are new build and the other 19 are renovations.

Elix’s plans involve buying around forty buildings by 2021 to subject them to comprehensive renovations and place the homes on the rental market once they have been renovated. These rents will fee the Socimi, which plans to rotate the portfolio of assets that it builds every three years.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bizcayan Investors Acquire the Café Iruña Building in Bilbao for €18M

11 September 2018 – El Correo

It seems that, sooner or later, everything that is put up for sale in the real estate market in Bilbao ends up being sold. No matter how big the operation. The latest example is the building that houses Café Iruña; an iconic property in the heart of the city, which the Heredia-Spínola family has sold for around €18 million. The entire operation, from when the property was put on the market, to the negotiations and finally the sale, have been conducted with the utmost discretion. In the end, according to sources speaking to El Correo, a Bizcayan investment fund has taken ownership of the building, although international funds also expressed interest.

Initially, the asking price was €20 million, but after a few weeks, that figure was reduced to €18 million (…) for several reasons. According to experts consulted, one of the main drawbacks of the building is that it comes “with tenants” (…). And, what’s worse, many of those tenants pay low rents.

Specifically, around twenty companies undertake their activity in this property, ranging from law firms and attorneys to advisors, massage salons, yoga and pilates studios, insurance brokers, psychologists, study centres and a nursing home for the elderly. Some have long-term long contracts, which will force the new owners to hold intense negotiations if they want to evict them and make a radical change to the operation of the building.

In this sense, there is already talk in social media about the upcoming closure of Café Iruña, an icon of Bilbao since 1903, although that information has been categorically denied by its owners, Grupo Iruña Servicios de Hostelería. They explain that the business will continue – its contract runs until 2020 – and that no closures are planned.

Bilbao as a safe haven

In addition to all of that, another of the problems that the experts associate with this building and which may have made its sale more difficult than expected are its internal features, “it does not have an internal patio”, which makes the central spaces “very dark”, above all if the plan is to convert the property into housing.

Even so, despite everything, the building has now been sold and is another example of the appeal of Bilbao’s property sector. In reality, the real estate market has been consolidating its position for a long time as a safe haven for many investors who, with interest rates at minimum levels, are looking for alternatives to invest their money, albeit with moderate returns (…).

This is happening across almost all of Spain. But in Bilbao, there are additional attractive features: rents are high and land is in short supply. A good combination for doing business in the housing market. On the other hand, the environment is stable, a far cry from the upheavals in Cataluña (…). Moreover, with the disappearance of ETA, Euskadi has shed its straitjacket (…).

Original story: El Correo (by Luis Gómez & Luis López)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Café Iruña Building in Bilbao Goes On The Market for €20M

28 February 2018 – El Correo

The Heredia-Spínola family, owner of the property that has been home to the popular Café Iruña since 1903, has the future of one of the large real estate operations in Bilbao in its hands, after putting the building up for sale for €20 million. In addition to the hostelry establishment, which has been operated by the businesswoman Alicia Garmendia since 1980, the building, which has one of the most spectacular chamfered street corners on the Ensanche, also houses more than twenty companies on its upper floors.

Offices for lawyers and attorneys as well as for business and tax advisors, massage salons, yoga and pilates studios, insurance broker desks, psychologist and psychiatric clinics, study and documentation centres and even a nursing home are some of the services that occupy the six storeys of one of the most iconic premises of the Vizcayan capital. The Chinese Institute also has its headquarters in this building with views over Colón de Larreátegui and Berastegi.

There have been lots of comings and goings in the property since its owners expressed their intention to put the building on the market a few months ago. The operation, which is being undertaken with the utmost secrecy, is keeping a large number of its tenants in suspense. Most companies have been paying old rents, which are well below current market prices, for several years. But some are now starting to move out as their contracts are expiring and the new rents, more in line with the prevailing prices in the centre of the town, are proving unviable, both in the office and retail segments.

One of the fashion stores located on the ground floor of the property closed its doors several weeks ago after its rental cost increased. The other – Quo Bilbao – dedicated to the sale of clothing and accessories for women, which has been selling off its stock at a discount for weeks with articles costing between €10 and €50, is still open and has no intention of shutting down (…).

A hotel or luxury homes

Those who are also clear that “under no circumstances” shall they move from the site that they have occupied for 115 years are the managers of Café Iruña, the most popular cafeteria in Bilbao. Coincidently, it will reopen its doors tomorrow after being closed since last Monday to undertake several maintenance and conservation jobs (…). The Iruña Servicios de Hostelería Group confirmed that (…) under no circumstances will the change of ownership affect the operation of the business, which was founded on 7 July 1903 by the Navarran property developer Severo Unzue and which has become famous for its Moorish pintxos, amongst other snacks.

“We employ almost 30 people and we are going to continue”, insisted Garmendia. With two years to go until the current contract expires, only an exorbitant increase in the rental price may call into question the survival of this establishment, which spans 300 m2 and whose décor is inspired by the Mudejars with polychrome ceilings and stunning tiles that captivate thousands of tourists, making it one of the main restaurants of choice  in the city (…).

The companies that enjoy this central location are under the impression that the new owners could convert the property into luxury homes or turn it into a hotel (…).

Original story: El Correo (by Luis Gómez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Town Hall of Granada Sells Former Housing Dep’t HQ for €1.5M

2 February 2018 – La Vanguardia

The Town Hall of Granada has sold the historic building that used to house the headquarters of the now defunct municipal housing company, together with three parking spaces that form part of its estate, for around €1.5 million. Approximately €1 million of the proceeds received will be allocated to the renovation works that are currently underway in the neighbourhood of Santa Adela.

At a press conference following the local government meeting on Friday, the councillor for Urban Planning in Granada, Miguel Ángel Fernández Madrid, confirmed the sale of the property located on Calle Lepanto, behind the headquarters of the Town Hall of Granada, together with three parking spaces in Plaza Gamboa, nearby in the centre of the city.

According to legislation, the proceeds obtained from the sale of the municipal land asset must be allocated to investments in the city. “As we have an extended budget and the beans have been accounted for, the bulk of the money, almost €1 million, will go towards paying the costs” that the Town Hall is currently facing on the Santa Adela project, explained Fernández Madrid. He added that this will serve to “justify” the municipal investment with a view to the receipt of European Edusi funds for this project.

The future of the half a million euros that will be left over from the sale of the former headquarters of Emuvyssa and the three parking spaces is yet to be decided, but it is expected that that amount will also be invested in projects with Edusi funds, for which the Town Hall has to justify that “it is going to spend around 30% of the money”, that it will receive from Europe, in other words around €3 million.

For this reason, investing most of the proceeds resulting from the sale in the Santa Adela construction work is “the best option”, said the councillor for Town Planning. He recalled that the plenary approved the disposals of municipal land property and that belonging to the now defunct Emuvyssa “by sufficient majority”. They mostly comprise social housing developments that “carry a municipal mortgage”, representing a “substantial amount”, which the Town Hall has to pay each month.

The building on Calle Lepanto has a total constructed surface area of more than 600 m2 – according to information available on the website of the Town Hall of Granada. According to the information provided by Miguel Ángel Fernández Madrid to the media, a tender was held to dispose of the property but no one participated, and so the asset has been sold to the first bidder willing to offer the asking price.

Original story: La Vanguardia

Translation: Carmel Drake

Cuatrecasas Buys Another Asset On La Diagonal For €7M

13 July 2017 – Eje Prime

Emilio Cuatrecasas is on a roll on Barcelona’s Avenida Diagonal. The lawyer’s family office, Emesa, has redoubled its commitment to the avenue with the acquisition of the headquarters of the Ophthalmology Institute for €7 million. This purchase follows its recent acquisition of 31,000 m2 of land in Project Finestrelles, located in Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona), where it plans to build six office blocks.

The building in question this time, which used to house the headquarters of Grand Tibidabo, has a surface area of 2,000 m2 and is located at number 632 on La Diagonal, at the intersection with c/Sarrià. The property has a long-term rental contract with the clinic, which currently belongs to the Quironsalud group.  The property used to be owned by the former owner of the Ophthalmology Institute in Barcelona, Andreu Coret, through the firm Inmo 632, according to Expansión.

In recent months, the investment arm of Emilio Cuatrecasas has made several acquisitions, including of number 444 on La Diagonal, for which it paid €35 million. That property, known as the Majorica building, has three façades overlooking La Diagonal, Paseo de Gràcia and Calle Còrsega, and until December last year, it housed the offices of the law firm Cuatrecasas.

Last summer, Emesa also completed the acquisition of a unique asset. The investor group purchased the Ullastrer Palace, in the Baix Empordà area, with the aim of promoting a premium hotel chain. The estate, known as Can Romaguera, is currently being restored and offers up to 2,500 m2 of space for hotel use, with an investment of €7 million.

The asset portfolio of Emesa, which is led by Ferran Forrellad, is completed by a building at number 191 on Avenida Diagonal, which houses the new headquarters of Cuatrecasas; number 579 on Avenida Diagonal, where Emesa’s headquarters of located; two office buildings in Mas Balu and a logistics park in El Pla de Santa María, in Tarragona.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Telefónica Sells A Building In Madrid To Princeton For €25M

16 January 2016 – El Economista

Telefónica has sold a building with a surface area of 9,700 m2 located in the Argüelles neighbourhood of Madrid to the British real estate group Princeton Investments for around €25 million.

According to the British group, the operation, which was announced by Princeton Investments, represents a decisive step in its expansion strategy in Spain.

The real estate company highlighted that the building is in an “excellent location” for the development of luxury housing.

According to sources in the real estate sector, the price paid for the property amounts to around €25 million.

The building, a unique asset located on Calle Irún, next to Parque del Oeste, has a garden and a roof top pool with views over the Royal Palace and the Templo de Debod.

In addition, it has 350 parking spaces, a gym and common recreation rooms.

According to Princeton, the operation consolidates its investment position in Spain, a market in which it has already made several purchases.

In 2015, the British group acquired a building with a surface area of 10,600 m2 on La Cuesta de Santo Domingo, close to Gran Vía, also from Telefónica, for its subsequent rental.

In March 2016, Princeton bought a building with a surface area of 4,000 m2 next to the Google Campus in Madrid from Gas Natural to open a co-working centre.

That property, which is being renovated, has been leased to Regus and will be inaugurated in Q2 2017.

In parallel, the British group plans to launch a student hall of residence project in Valencia in a building that has a surface area of 10,160 m2.

Princeton is keen to replicate this model in other major university cities across Spain, including in Madrid and Barcelona.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Catalana Occidente Buys Castellana, 55 From Standard Life For €60M

22 December 2016 – El Confidencial

Real estate investors are making the most of the last few days of 2016. The Catalana Occidente group, through its subsidiary Plus Ultra Seguros, has purchased the building at number 55 on Paseo de la Castellana from Standard Life. The asset is located on Madrid’s most important thoroughfare and represents an geunine object of desire for all of the major real estate investors. The group has paid almost €60 million for the building, which represents a yield of around 3%. For Standard Life, selling the building for this amount signals the finishing touch to a perfect operation, given that the insurance company invested €35 million when it acquired the property.

The building has a surface area of 5,625 m2, distributed over seven above ground office floors of 734 m2 each. Moreover, it has a garden for exclusive use by its employees and 27 parking spaces. The property was completely renovated in 2007, but its main architectural and protective features were respected, such as the façade that overlooks Paseo de la Castellana, the entrance hall and the main staircase.

The process has been advised and managed by CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield – the consultancy firms that have conducted a competitive process involved a restricted number of investors.

Castellana 55 is one of the most iconic buildings in the prime area of Madrid and its surface area is leased out in its entirety. Moreover, it is one of just a handful of assets that has gone up for sale in the most prime area of Madrid. Sources familiar with the operation say that the process has received a lot of interest, given the vast shortage of prime products in the market.

Sales and Brexit

The sale of Castellana 55 is the second major divestment that Standard Life has made in Spain this year, after it sold the Las Mercedes Business Park to GreenOak for €140 million. Las Mercedes is an office complex measuring almost 80,000 m2, comprising 10 buildings. It is located on the outskirts of Madrid, next to the A-2 highway and close to the Campo de las Naciones Exhibition Centre and Barajas airport.

The manager completed this operation in June, just one month before it was hit by Brexit and was forced to announce the suspension of trading of its fund Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund. The vehicle, which has funds amounting to GBP 2,900 million (€3,420 million), focuses exclusively on investments in the UK, although in October it announced that it has returned to normality.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

KKH Property Buys Monte de Piedad’s Former HQ For €80M

9 December 2016 – El Confidencial

A year after engaging Irea to organise an official sales process for its headquarters in Plaza del Celenque, the Fundación Montemadrid (the successor of the former Fundación Caja Madrid) has reached an agreement with KKH Property Investors to sell the property for around €80 million, according to sources consulted by El Confidencial.

This is a key operation both for the Fundación, which will raise funds through this divestment to allow it to ensure the continuation of its social work, as well as for the buyer, which is entering the sought-after real estate market in Madrid with a bang.

Headquartered in Barcelona, KKH Property is a joint venture between KKH Capital, the investment group controlled by the former CEO of Renta Corporación, Josep María Farré, and Perella Weinberg, which owns a stake in this partnership through one of its opportunistic funds.

The JV plans to convert the Monte de Piedad building in Madrid into a luxury hotel, with 180 rooms and suites, as well as an extensive range of restaurants and spaces for conferences and social events. The building has a surface area of 27,000 m2, spread over seven above ground floors and two basement floors, used for parking.

Located between Plaza de Celenque and Plaza de Las Descalzas, the property will continue to house the activities of the Fundación Montemadrid, which will continue to occupy approximately 2,000 m2 of the property. (…).

The building was constructed in 1975, on the site of the former Montepío, just opposite the Monastery of Las Descalzas Reales and only 200 m from the Puerta del Sol. (…).

The sale of the former headquarters of Fundación Montemadrid, whose offices are now located next door in La Casa de Las Alhajas, sparked interest amongst a large group of buyers. Nevertheless, the price expectations of the seller ended up whittling down the potential candidates to just two, KKH Property and Hispania, both of which submitted definitive offers in the summer, according to market sources.

In the end, KKH has emerged victorious. Although this is the company’s first major operation in Madrid, the vehicle led by Farré already owns several iconic buildings in Barcelona, most notably the former headquarters of Deutsche Bank, located at numbers 109 and 111 on Paseo de Gracia, which it acquired in July 2014. (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Ibosa To Convert Hotel Foxá Into Luxury Homes

30 November 2016 – Cinco Días

The Hotel Foxá located next to Chamartín train station will soon disappear to be converted into a residential tower containing luxury homes, worth up to €1 million each. According to the property developer, the Ibosa Group, the design will adopt a “New York architecture” style.

The company, which manages housing cooperatives, will spend €30 million (including the purchase of the building) on the project to convert the former Hotel Foxá M-30 in Madrid – which has been closed since 2013 – into a 16-storey residential complex containing 72 homes, which are expected to be handed over to their owners during the final quarter of 2018.

70% of the homes in the tower, known as Torre Borealis, have already been sold and the demolition work is expected to begin next spring, once all of the properties have been sold. The construction work will involve the complete renovation of the building, including a total transformation of the façade, according to explanations provided by the Head of Ibosa.

In fact, the company expects to obtain the licence that it needs to undertake the work at the building within the next few weeks. The property previously housed a four star hotel for 13 years.

The price of the homes will range from €175,000 to €900,000, with each property containing between one and four bedrooms. Moreover, the constructed surface area will range between 40m2 and 200m2 per apartment. The building, located on Calle Serrano Galvache 14, will have a double height entrance hall and 1,000 m2 of common areas, including a “gastroteca”, a swimming pool and a gym. There will be several different types of apartments, including ground floor duplexes, (normal) duplexes and penthouses with terraces up to 120m2.

Hotel Foxá M-30 closed its doors after the company Trome, owned by the businessman Mariano Moreno Fernández, was declared bankrupt, with debt amounting to around €300 million. The company used to own several hotels and spas.

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake

German Firm Buys Building In Valencia To Convert Into Hotel

10 November 2016 – Real Estate Press

Realzia, the real estate consultancy firm, has advised on the sale of a building on Calle María Cristina, 8 in Valencia, located between the Central Market and the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, which has been acquired by a German property developer.

The property has a surface area of 1,723 m2, distributed over nine above ground floors and one basement level. It overlooks both Calle María Cristina, as well as the pedestrianised Calle San Fernando. The asset used to belong to Unicaja, but because of the complex urban planning rules associated with it, has been in disuse since 2008.

Following several months of urban planning work, the Town Hall of Valencia recently granted permission for the building to be used as a hotel, which has resulted in this purchase by the German property development company.

As such, within the next 18 months, Valencia will have a new and exclusive 35-room boutique hotel and restaurant, with a terrace on the ground floor, right in the heart of the city.

Realzia specialises in the sale of tertiary-commercial assets and urban land, for both residential and tertiary use. The company currently owns one of the most important portfolios in the city containing buildable land and buildings that need to be renovated, with almost a hundred assets in total in Valencia capital alone.

Original story: Real Estate Press

Translation: Carmel Drake