Catalana Occidente Acquires Turn-Key Office Building in Las Tablas, Madrid

18 November 2019 – Metrovacesa announced that it had sold a turnkey office building in the Las Tablas area of Madrid to the Catalana Occidente group for an undisclosed amount.

The property Catalana Occidente is acquiring will have a total surface area of 11,250 square meters, with six above-ground floors and two basements with enough room for about 300 parking spaces. The building, the architecture studio BOD designed, will have a highly-energy efficient, avant-garde design. Metrovacesa expects to deliver the finished property in 2022.

The operation follows the insurance group’s strategy of acquiring prime assets for its real estate investment portfolio. The firm focuses on office buildings located in prime areas of Madrid and Barcelona.

Original Story: Cinco Dias – Alfonso Simón Ruiz

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Catalana Occidente Acquires Office Building in Madrid from Kefren Capital

30 September 2019 – The insurance group Catalana Occidente has acquired a five-storey building on Calle de Méndez Álvaro, in Madrid, from Kefren Capital for an undisclosed amount. The co-working firm Talent Garden is currently leasing the building.

The property has 3,600 square meters on five above-ground floors and just over 2,000 m2 below ground level, with 59 parking spaces.

Original Story: La Vanguardia / EFE

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

 

Catalan Occidente Merges its RE Subsidiaries to Cut Costs

7 March 2019 – Expansión

Catalana Occidente is looking to cut costs by merging some of its recent real estate purchases, without impacting the entity’s business model.

Last year, the insurance company acquired Chezsuccess, owner of the Luxa Business Park in Barcelona, home to the headquarters of Amazon and WeWork, for €90 million. That firm has subsequently been renamed GCO Activos Inmobiliarios.

Catalana Occidente also bought Legión Empresarial, owner of the WIP office building in Barcelona’s 22@ district, for €20 million.

Now it is merging its two subsidiaries, which means that all of the acquired assets will be grouped together in GCO Activos Inmobiliarios.

In total, the insurance group’s real estate assets were worth €1.4 billion at the end of 2018, accounting for 12% of its investment portfolio. Fixed income securities represented 59% (€6.6 billion) of the total and equities 11% (€1.3 billion).

Original story: Expansión (by E.d.P)

Translation: Carmel Drake

HP Leases Entire Building in Madrid’s 22@ from UK & European Investments

9 October 2018

The asset, located at 66 Calle de Tangér, is owned by UK & European Investments and has five floors and 7,200 square meters.

The US-based tech giant is moving to Madrid’s 22@. Barcelona’s technology district, a benchmark in today’s office market, will now play host to Hewlett & Packard (HP), which has just leased an entire office building at Calle Tangér from UK & European Investments, the real estate developer announced.

The property, located at 66 Calle de Tangér, a centrally located street in the district, has five floors and 7,200 square meters of surface area, 800 square meters or which are on the roof, with stunning views of Barcelona.

The American technology will set up shop next door to other giants of the tech sector, including Amazon and WeWork in the Luxa office complex, which is owned by Catalana Occidente. Other large international firms, mostly related to technology, have also recently moved to the area: Facebook moved into Merlin’s iconic Torre Glòries, while Schibsted and King will share a space in a new building that Colonial is building in 22@.

UK & European Investments acquired HP’s new home in Barcelona in July 2016. The asset underwent a complete rehabilitation, converting an industrial building into an office building, the first in Barcelona to have a Leed Platinum certificate. The London architectural office of Buckley Gray Yeoman (BGY) and Spain’s Deerns participated in the project.

UK & European Investments, headquartered in London and headed by its CEO, Barney Kelham, specialises in the development of prime industrial-style office spaces. In Spain, where the firm has an office, the company’s rehabilitation of the 66 Calle de Tangér building is one of several projects that the group has underway in the country, with a gross total development value of more than 130 million euros. Among them, two residential projects in Madrid and Marbella stand out.

TLG, a private investment firm that operates in eleven countries, with a significant presence in the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Germany and Spain, owns the company. The firm is active in fashion distribution, fund management, hotels and venture capital.

Original Story: EjePrime

Translation: Richard Turner

Catalana Occidente Injects €31M into its Real Estate Subsidiary to Buy Assets

20 September 2018 – Eje Prime

Catalana Occidente has given a boost to its real estate subsidiary to handle new purchases. Grupo Catalana Occidente Activos Inmobiliarios has carried out a capital increase amounting to €31.1 million, which has been fully subscribed by several group companies. Those funds have been earmarked for the acquisition of the WIP office building and the Bellesguard Tower, both located in Barcelona, according to sources at the company speaking to Eje Prime.

With this operation, the real estate arm of the insurance group is dealing with the strong investment activity in the real estate sector, with a cumulative investment of more than €200 million in two years. Following the increase, the share capital of Grupo Catalana Occidente Activos Inmobiliarios is set at more than €69 million.

In July, Catalana Occidente purchased the WIP office building from the property developers Castellví Group and the funds Stoneweg and 1810 Capital for €20 million. The property, located at number 121 Calle Ciutat de Granada, in the 22@ district of Barcelona, has a surface area of 4,400 m2 and is leased to the multi-national WeWork.

WIP is located next to two other buildings, Luxa Silver and Luxa Gold. They have a surface area of 10,000 m2 and 7,000 m2, respectively, and have formed part of Catalana Occidente’s asset portfolio since September 2017. The group spent €90 million on the purchase of the Luxa office complex, which is leased to Amazon and WeWork.

These three new buildings have been added to the one that the company purchased at the beginning of last year, also in the 22@ technological district, when it acquired the La Llave de Oro building, which houses the Atos headquarters, for €21 million.

A clear commitment to the office market

The other asset behind this capital increase is the Bellesguard Tower, a modernist building located in Barcelona and constructed by Antonio Gaudí. In July, Catalana Occidente reached an agreement to acquire that property, owned by the Guilera family, for €30 million.

The operation responds to the group’s intention to “add value to the company, and is exceptional nature”, according to a statement from the insurance company, which also plans to finance the conservation and restoration of the tower, which is open to the public.

At the end of 2017,  Catalana Occidente had real estate assets worth more than €1.17 billion. Its portfolio mainly comprises offices (95%), a strategy that seems to have a lot of potential. In fact, in the last two years alone, the company has spent €208 million on the purchase of six business buildings located in prime areas of Madrid and Barcelona.

Original story: Eje Prime (by B. Seijo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Catalana Occidente Finalises Purchase of Gaudí’s Torre Bellesguard for €30M

20 July 2018 – Idealista

Catalana Occidente is adding a new asset to its portfolio. The real estate investment arm of the insurance company Catalana Occidente is finalising the purchase of Torre Belleguard, constructed by Antoni Gaudí at the beginning of the 20th century, for €30 million. The Town Hall of Barcelona, the Generalitat and the Regional Council of Barcelona have declined to exercise their right of first refusal and preferential acquisition.

The Catalana Occidente Group, which is headquartered in Sant Cugat del Vallès, has expressed its interest and is willing to pay the owners €30.1 million, excluding taxes, such as the property transfer fee, which would increase the consideration to at least €33 million, according to El País.

The acquisition of this property (which has been classified as an Asset of National Cultural Interest since July 1969) is pending “a few finishing touches” and the intention is for the building “to continue to be open to the public because we are aware of its importance and great heritage value”, explain sources at the company.

Torre Bellesguard was threatened in 2008 when deteriorations caused by the passage of time forced its owners to undertake a comprehensive restoration project and invest €600,000 (a cost shared equally between the family, the Generalitat and the Town Hall).

The high cost of the renovation led the family owner of the property to open it to the public in 2013, organising guided tours inside the tower. It also opened its gardens for the celebration of cultural and social events.

Following this purchase, Catalana Occidente would increase its asset portfolio. The insurance group has invested up to €208 million in the purchase of properties in Spain over the last two years. In total, the company has acquired six offices buildings located in Madrid and Barcelona.

The largest purchase made by the company, which is itself controlled by the Serra family, was the acquisition last year of two properties (Luxa Silver and Luxa Gold) in the 22@ district of Barcelona for which it paid €90 million to the fund Stoneweg.

Moreover, at the end of 2016, the insurance company purchased the building at number 55 Paseo de la Castellana, in Madrid, for which it disbursed €60 million. The asset, which was sold by Standard Life with a 100% occupancy rate, has a surface area of 5,625 m2.

The €27 million that it paid for a second property in the Spanish capital, located in the Montecarmelo area (…) completes the number of acquisitions made by the group’s parent company since 2016.

With these investments, Catalana Occidente’s real estate portfolio in Spain amounted to €1.265 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2018. This line of business generates gains of €476.6 million for the group, in which the real estate component of the investment portfolio (€12.2 billion) amounts to 11.3%.

Original story: Idealista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Cerquia’s Directors Launch New Hotel Development Company: Xpandia

14 February 2018 – Eje Prime

The managers of Cerquia have set their sights on achieving five stars. Carlos Cercadillo, Javier Pérez Picallo and Jesús Salinero, all senior members of the Spanish company, have teamed up with a group of investors to leap into the hotel sector. The executives have launched Xpandia Projects, a company specialising in hotel development with a focus on Spain and Portugal, according to Pérez Picallo, CEO of Cerquia, speaking to Eje Prime.

Picallo will be in charge of the new project, although he will also continue in his position at Cerquia, as will Cercadillo, who is the President of the company and Salinero, who leads the expansion department.

“The hotels will be urban properties and they will be handed over turnkey-style to the operators”, explains the CEO of the company (…). The objective of the property developer is to hand over 800 rooms over the next three years. For the time being, the company is going to work on three projects, two in Lisbon and one in Valencia. The latter, located on Calle Guillem de Gastro, is on the verge of being granted its licence, with the aim of being completed and ready for delivery in 2020. In the case of the Portuguese assets, the delivery will take place in 2018 and 2019, respectively. In total, these three hotels will place 386 rooms on the market. Some of the major operators for which the firm is going to work include groups such as Accor, Iberostar, Hotusa, Vincci and B&B.

The development of the assets will be undertaken through both the renovation of buildings, as well as the construction of new build properties. The first project in Valencia and one of the projects in Lisbon involve the complete renovation of two properties. In addition, during this first phase, the company has pre-agreements to develop hotels in Madrid, Valencia, Alicante, Sevilla, Málaga, Bilbao and Donostia.

Xpandia is not planning to accumulate assets itself. “We will not hold onto the assets, instead we will sell them to investors who will operate them after we complete the building work”, explains Picallo, adding that “in some cases, we will hand over the hotels completely decorated and furnished”. The only hotel that the new company will own is a property in Lisbon, currently owned by Cerquia, which will be transferred from one portfolio to another. Despite the obvious synergies between the group and the property developer, “this is a project that will operate outside of Cerquia”, said its CEO.

The property developer will work on all stages of the projects from the location and selection of the properties to the drafting of the technical plans and the organisation of the construction work. Location wise, the properties will always “be in cities, primarily in central areas, to respond to the tourist interest that operators demand”, says Picallo. The property developer will study 100 potential projects per year.

The company is not going to work in Barcelona for the time being. Although the Catalan capital is the most touristic city in Spain, the property developer considers that “there is too much uncertainty around obtaining hotel licences in the city” (…).

During this first phase, the hotel operators that Xpandia is working with are expected to invest around €30 million. The hotels that the company is going to develop will be 3- and 4-star properties.

The group driving the project, Cerquia, is a company dedicated to the management and operation of its own real estate assets. The company, created in 2006, has offices, hotels and homes for rent in a portfolio that spans a surface area of approximately 20,000 m2 in the office sector alone across the Iberian Peninsula.

The firm’s clients include companies such as Banco Santander, Uria Menéndez, Garrigues, Catalana Occidente, Hoteles Vincci,  Bausch & Lomb, Intermoney, Worx, Lycamobile and Shine Ibérica, amongst others. For 2018, the group’s roadmap is to maintain its activity and continue with the progress of its three residential developments.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Jabier Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Stoneweg Still Has €200M To Invest In Spain

10 November 2017 – El Economista

The Swedish real estate investment platform Stoneweg, founded at the beginning of 2015 by the Spaniards Joaquín Castellví (pictured below, left) and Jaume Sabater (pictured below, right) in Geneva, has an investment plan for Spain amounting to €750 million. “So far, we have spent €550 million and our intention is to continue looking for opportunities in Madrid, Barcelona and along the coast, to spend the remaining balance that we have left of the €200 million”, explains Castellví.

Both partners left the bank Edmond de Rothschild to embark on this new venture, which, in just two years has established a presence in Italy, the USA and Switzerland, as well as in Spain. In the latter, its strategy is based on property development, including both new build and renovation projects, primarily residential, which currently account for 89.5% of its portfolio. In this way, the firm is currently working on the construction of 1,600 homes and “between October and November, we will be delivering the first units”, said the Director. He added that in the case of Madrid, the firm is looking for opportunities in the centre, in neighbourhoods such as Moncloa and Arguelles, “where there is a latent demand for a type of product that has not been built for many years”.

Stoneweg’s latest project in the centre of the Spanish capital is in the former Provincial Court building in Madrid, located on Calle Ferraz, where it is going to build 25 homes. “We have already started to market the homes and in the first week alone we have sold five units”, said the Director, who points out that the prices in other neighbourhoods, such as Salamanca and Chamberí, do not fit with their strategy, since they are looking for average returns of between 15% and 20%.

In its residential business, Stoneweg is also working by means of one-off partnerships with other property developers. Such is the case of its largest operation in Móstoles, where it has purchased a plot land for 300 homes together with ACR.

Also positioned in offices

The firm also holds positions in the office sector. In Barcelona, in fact, it is working on the largest business development in the city, the Luxa complex, comprising two buildings, which have already been pre-leased to Amazon and WeWork. “We sold those two properties to Catalana Occidente and we are now searching for a tenant for the WIP building, also located in 22@, measuring 4,500 m2. Once it has been leased, we will put it up for sale”.

The Director is optimistic because he acknowledges that “clearly, all the noise and uncertainty that we are currently seeing in Cataluña is not having any effect; we continue to have faith in the fundamentals of the city (…)”.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Catalana Occidente Buys Amazon’s HQ In 22@ For €90M

21 September 2017 – Expansión

Catalana Occidente has reached an agreement to purchase the Luxa office complex, in the 22@ district of Barcelona for €90 million. The offices – owned until now by Grupo Castellví, and the funds Stoneweg and 1810 Capital Investments – will house the offices of Amazon and WeWork from 2018 onwards (once their construction has been completed).

This sale is one of the most significant real estate operations of the year in the Catalan capital. The consultancy firm CBRE has advised Grupo Castellví and the investment funds, whilst Cushman & Wakefield has advised the insurance group Catalana Occidente.

The complex, located at the intersection of Calles Tánger and Badajoz, comprises two independent buildings. The first, known as Luxa Silver because of its silver façade, has a surface area of 10,000m2. The second, known as Luxa Gold, has a surface area of 7,000m2. The complex also includes 300 parking spaces. Building work at the site is due to be completed in the first quarter of 2018.

The buildings, designed by the architecture firm Batlle I Roig, form part of Group Castellví’s 22@ Business Park space. There is a third building, in the same area, known as WIP, measuring 4,500m2, which is still up for rent and which has not been included in this transaction. Castellví and the funds have invested €60 million on the construction of the three buildings. Amazon is going to occupy the Luxa Silver building. The technology giant will locate its SME support centre for Southern Europe in the building, which will result in the generation of 500 jobs, as well as an R&D centre about automatic learning, where more than 100 engineers and scientists will work.

Meanwhile, WeWork, the US multinational coworking group, will move into the Luxa Gold building.

Second operation

This is not the first time that Catalana Occidente has purchased a building in the 22@ district. At the beginning of the year, the insurance group acquired La Llave de Oro for €21 million, a building located at number 289 Calle Pere IV. The building is leased in its entirety to the technology firm Atos Origin.

Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés and Gabriel Trindade)

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