UOC Buys its Home in 22@ from Invesco for €30.6M

7 November 2018 – Eje Prime

The Universidad Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) has acquired Can Jaumandreu. The entity has purchased the iconic office complex, located in the 22@ district of Barcelona from Invesco Real Estate for €30.6 million.

The university institution, which has occupied the property on a rental basis since 2005, together with the public institution of the Town Hall of Barcelona Bagursa, has obtained ownership of the property on a concession basis until 2078. The purchase has been made as a result of the growth of the entity, the consolidation of the district and, above all, the rationalisation of the spaces that it has in Barcelona into a single complex, reported the UOC in a statement.

Can Jaumandreu is one of the most iconic office complexes in the 22@ district. With a surface area measuring 12,284 m2, the property comprises two buildings and has a 7@ certification, which means that only public companies or outreach or training firms may occupy the space.

Alejandro Monge, Director of Invesco Real Estate in Spain, highlighted that “the divestment forms part of the fund’s usual asset rotation policy, given that the complex has been in the portfolio for more than ten years”. Nevertheless, for the company, which has recently acquired three logistics assets in Madrid and Barcelona, Spain is still a priority investment area”, said the executive. “We are still looking for opportunities to invest in high-quality assets and increase our presence in this market”, said the Director.

The 22@ district – all the rage in Barcelona 

The office district of the moment in Barcelona is registering record figures for another year. According to the Marketshot report compiled by Cushman&Wakefield, the consultancy firm that has advised the operation, 86 rental operations were closed in the 22@ district in 2017spanning 101,000 m2, which represents the highest figure in the last ten years and 34% more than in the previous two years (…).

The investment volume, which amounted to €161 million in the 22@ district in 2017, more than tripled the €51 million figure recorded in 2016. In metres squared, the investment volume corresponded to a surface area of 173,000 m2, well above the figure recorded in 2016, of 33,000 m2.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Zambal Buys Everis’s New HQ in Madrid from Axa for €94.5M

1 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Zambal has increased its commitment to offices in Madrid with the purchase from Axa of the Novus Building for €94.5 million. The Socimi managed by IBA Capital closed the transaction a few days ago, to acquire an asset with a surface area of 42,945 m2 and leased in its entirety, according to explanations provided by sources close to the deal speaking to EjePrime.

The property, located in the north of the Spanish capital, hit the headlines last May when Everis signed the largest rental operation in Madrid’s office market since 2013.

At the time, the international consultancy firm leased 37,800 m2 of the building, in which Hilti, the company that supplies technology to the construction sector, also occupies one floor, whilst the ground floor of the property houses the catering company Eurest. The operation has been advised by the consultancy firm Cushman&Wakefield.

The asset is located close to Barajas airport, at number 1 Avenida Fuente de la Mora and comprises six floors, in addition to 561 parking spaces. The property has been owned by Axa Real Assets since the summer of 2015, when that firm acquired it, together with another building in Barcelona, for €110 million. At the time, the property was the headquarters of the French group in the Spanish capital.

Now, the real estate arm of the French insurance company has divested this property (…), taking advantage of the investor appetite of the large Socimis and funds in the Spanish office market. Not in vain, in March, Axa sold another asset in Madrid to GreenOak, for which the company was asking €25 million.

Zambal is on a roll

In recent months, the Socimi has grown its portfolio with operations such as the deal it signed at the end of 2017 in the Julián Camarillo area of Madrid, where it acquired two office buildings for €38 million.

Zambal specialises in the investment and subsequent management of office and retail assets in cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, although the company is also open to assets such as nursing homes, hospitals, retail parks and logistics platforms.

Without resorting to bank financing, the Socimi approved a €80 million capital increase in July, which followed another injection completed last year amounting to €91 million.  The company’s main assets include, for example, the property at number 77, Avenida San Luis (which houses the headquarters of Gas Natural in Madrid); the Vodafone Building on Avenida de América; and the property at number 118 Avenida de Burgos, which is leased in its entirety to BMW.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Jabier Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

PDeCat Sells its HQ in Barcelona to An Asian-Catalan Fund for €8M

1 October 2018 – Idealista

The Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCat) has hung the “sold” sign up over what is currently its headquarters, after a series of negotiations with several funds. The Catalan political party has completed the sale of the building to an Asian-Catalan fund led by the businessman Joaquim Zamacois, according to sources close to the operation speaking to Idealista News. In the end, the consideration paid amounted to €8 million.

The office building has a surface area of more than 2,100 m2 and was put on the market for an initial asking price of €7.4 million. The asset, owned by the Catalan political party until now, is located at number 339 Calle Provenza. The PDeCat, which put the property on the market because it is “too large for its needs”, will move to another building and leave this property vacant for a new operator.

The asset is registered in the name of the (now dormant) political party ‘Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya’ (CDC), although it has been used by its PDeCat heirs. This is not the first real estate transaction that the party has closed: three years ago, CDC sold its previous headquarters on Calle Córcega to the Hong Kong-based fund Inversión Platinum, which subsequently converted that building into high-end homes.

The decision to put the headquarters on the market was taken in the summer of 2017, although it was not advertised until December after the Catalan elections had been held. To fire the starting gun, PDeCat placed an advert in local newspapers announcing the sale.

The building, which as well as being used for offices could also be converted into homes, has housed a number of tenants over the years. In the past, the property was leased to the Trade and Energy Departments of the Generalitat de Cataluña.

Sale in the middle of the ‘procés’

The sale of the building came on the first anniversary of the illegal referendum held on 1 October 2017. Over the last year, although the political instability has not had a significant impact on the real estate sector in Cataluña, it did cause investor interest to suffer during the final quarter of last year.

According to data from the real estate consultancy CBRE, real estate investment in Cataluña amounted to €2.093 billion in 2017, down by 17% compared to the previous year, although experts in the sector indicate that one of the problems was a lack of supply, rather than a lack of demand.

Nevertheless, the professionals in the sector agree that the data for the last two quarters has been improving in Cataluña, with operations such as the sale of PDeCat’s headquarters serving by way of example. Moreover, the outlook is positive: “For example, if we focus on the office investment market, data for the third quarter of 2018 is better than for the same period in 2017”, explain sources at the real estate consultancy Cushman&Wakefield.

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Student Halls are the Most Profitable in Europe with Yields of 5.5%

14 May 2018 – Eje Prime

As well as being the largest recipient of Erasmus students, Spain is now also one of the most attractive countries for funds and operators specialising in halls of residence. The high demand and shortage of existing supply multiplied the investment in this alternative market ten-fold in 2017, increasing from just over €50 million to €600 million in one year. One of the keys to this growth lies in the profitability of the segment: with a yield (…) of 5.5%, Spain offers the best returns on the whole continent, for nations with more than 1 million students, according to a report from the consultancy firm Cushman&Wakefield.

In this hall of residence boom, which has allowed investments in the segment to grow by 29% across Europe, Spain also led the ranking of the largest operations in 2017. The transaction involving Resa’s portfolio, which was sold by Azora to the funds Axa Real Assets and CBRE GI for €400 million was the largest deal closed on the whole continent last year. Moreover, Operation Rio, which involved the sale of Oaktree’s Spanish portfolio to GSA for €180 million, also ranked in the top 3, a podium that was completed by another deal involving GSA, in that case together with GIC, which acquired thousands of beds from LJ Capital in Germany for €250 million.

The increase in investment will be accompanied in 2018 by a greater number of projects under development. As Reno Cardiff, Director of Capital Markets Business Space at Cushman&Wakefield in Spain explained recently in an interview with Eje Prime, “there is a great appetite for this kind of asset, but there is a shortage of supply”.

Due to the lack of stock right across the continent, consultancy firms and real estate experts are promoting the construction of new halls of residence to receive students over the coming years. Moreover, Cushman&Wakefield highlights another change: interest has increased from institutions looking to construct properties to house students, a cohort that was traditionally forced to rent homes from owners who, in many cases, set abusive prices.

Nevertheless, the growing appetite from funds for halls of residence is not driven by social reasons, but rather as the coming together of a sea of opportunities. In addition, the yields, despite having fallen in the last year, are still higher than those of other segments, such as traditional residential, offices and commercial. Only the logistics market offers yields in line with those of university halls of residence (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by J. Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

RE Experts Warn That The Cataluña Situation Is Seriously Affecting Investment

17 October 2017 – Expansión

The Spanish Association of Real Estate Consulting Companies (ACI) says that the “serious” situation currently being experienced in Cataluña is affecting the normal evolution of the real estate market since investors are fearful.

The Spanish association of real estate consultancy firms, comprising domestic and international companies alike, such as CBRE, Aguirre Newman/Savills, Cushman & Wakefield, JLL, Knight Frank and BNP Paribas, warned yesterday of the consequences that the secessionist challenge is having in the real estate market.

Specifically, the association chaired by Ricardo Martí Fluxá said that “the serious situation” in Cataluña at the moment, is affecting the strong performance of the Spanish real estate market as a whole. Until the third quarter, the volume of investment in real estate assets was registering record figures, at €10,300 million, up by 58% compared to the same period a year earlier. “The latest developments are seriously affecting the normal operation of investment activity and the evolution of our real estate market”, they warned.

For this reason, the real estate consultancy firms have called for respect for the laws, appealing to the Generalitat to abide by the order established in the Constitution. “Our association joins the large number of companies, institutions and entities that are calling on the Generalitat to comply with the provisions of our laws and abide by the order established in the Constitution”, they said in a statement.

The warning from the large real estate consultancy firms follows a statement made just a few days ago by the CEO of Lar España, one of the five large Socimis whose shares trade on the (main) Spanish stock exchange.

The CEO of the listed company, Miguel Pereda, said that if his firm had to make an investment in Cataluña today, it would “probably” not go ahead with it, in light of the political situation regarding independence.

Meanwhile, on 5 October, the ratings agency Moody’s issued a report warning that the “growing political tension” may negatively affect the credits interests of the Socimis Merlin and Colonial, given that the entities hold 13 % and 19% of their respective portfolios in Cataluña.

Indeed, Colonial is one of the listed companies that has moved its corporate headquarters from Barcelona to Madrid because of the secessionist challenge posted by the Catalan Generalitat.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake