BBVA to Sell Its 75% Participation in the Madrid Nuevo Norte Project

30 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

The Madrid City Council has unanimously approved the Madrid Nuevo Norte project, also known as Operation Chamartín, after a twenty-five-year wait. The project must now gain final approval from the Community of Madrid government and weather lawsuits from community and environmental groups.

District Castellana Norte (DCN), which is 75% owned by BBVA together with Grupo San José (25%), is the developer in charge of the project. Though BBVA has publicly affirmed its commitment to see the project through, increased oversight by the ECB and a change in the bank’s leadership have fuelled speculation that BBVA will sell its participation of a single major investor.

Despite some changes to the urban development plan, Operation Chamartín will lead to the construction of 10,500 homes (20% with some kind of protection), a new financial district and the refurbishment of the Chamartín train station. In total, investors will plough roughly €6 billion into the project over about two decades. Construction is expected to commence in 2021.

Original Story: El Confidencial – Ruth Ugalde

Operation Chamartín Expected to Receive Go Ahead

15 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

The mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, expects that the City Council will approve Madrid Nuevo Norte, also known as Operation Chamartín, in September. Operation Chamartín is a development north of the city of Madrid, near the Chamartín train station, that licensing issues have kept in limbo since 1993.

BBVA owns 75% of DCN, the development’s main protagonist, while the rest belongs to Grupo San José. The firm controls the rights to a large part of the land, which, in reality, is still owned by Adif, the state-owned railway company. Thus, DCN will pay Adif more than €1.2 billion euros over 20 years after the development receives approval.

The Madrid Nuevo Norte involves the construction of 10,500 homes and a new financial zone, in a potential investment of more than €13 billion.

Original Story: Idealista

Madrid’s Regional Government Gives Green Light to Operación Madrid Nuevo Norte

19 May 2019 – El Mundo

According to information obtained by El Mundo, the Community of Madrid is going to send its Environmental Assessment Report regarding Operación Chamartín to the Town Hall of Madrid on Monday, which will leave the path clear for the municipal plenary to vote on the plan before the local elections are held on Sunday 26 May.

The urban development project, which is now known by its new name, Madrid Nuevo Norte, will see the construction of 10,500 homes at the northern end of Paseo de la Castellana, together with the development of offices, retail areas, green spaces and three new metro stations.

The only requirement stipulated in the definitive report issued by the Community of Madrid is that agreements be made upfront about who is going to pay for the public building works, including the Canal de Isabel II installations, the construction of the three new metro stations and the preparation of the surrounding roads.

According to the protocol of execution signed a month ago by the Town Hall of Madrid, Adif – the public entity that owns the land – and Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN) – the private company that is promoting the development – the three leading players will share the cost of developing the aforementioned infrastructures, whereby ensuring that local taxpayers do not have to foot the bill.

Original story: El Mundo (by Marta Belver & Isabel F. Lantigua)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Distrito Castellana Norte Plans to Start Work on Operación Chamartín in 2020

10 January 2019 – Eje Prime

The countdown to the start of the work on Operation Chamartín could begin very soon. The developer behind the macro urban development project, Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN), is hoping that the Town Hall of Madrid will definitively approve the plan to start construction in 2020.

Antonio Béjar, President of DCN, explained that “it is perfectly possible and expected that all of the administrative approvals will be granted before the elections”.

The director says that it is “a 20- or 25-year project” that will have to survive various governments “at the three levels of administration”. For this reason, Béjar classified Operación Chamartín as a “State Project”.

What will become a new neighbourhood in Madrid will have 10,500 homes and a new large business centre. All of that constructed on 2.66 million m2 of land, which is 26% less than the 3.37 million m2 planned in 2015, when the Town Hall was governed by Ana Botella.

Each of the two sides of the M-30 where the project will be built will have a very different feel. To the north, office skyscrapers are going to be built, whilst to the south, there will be large green spaces and cycle paths, as the backdrop to residential developments.

The office area will be built to the north of Paseo de la Castellana, opposite the Cinco Torres, and will have a buildability of 1.3 million m2, which is 200,000 m2 less than agreed in the previous plan.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Operación Chamartín’s Secret Contract: Adif Sells 1.2 million m2 of Public Land at Half its Market Value

27 December 2018 – El Diario

For 25 years, the agreement has remained a secret. It is the document that supports one of the largest urban development projects in Madrid in one of the most sought-after areas of the capital, in the north of the city, to continue the Castellana, where the financial district and the most expensive homes and offices are located, which are being sold for more than €5,000/m2. The contract is going to be signed on Friday. On the one hand, Adif, the public company that forms part of the Ministry of Development and that manages the railway infrastructure, and on the other, Distrito Castellana Norte, a property developer that has changed its name repeatedly over the last quarter of a century.

In 1993, the Ministry of Development, chaired at the time by Josep Borrell, now the Foreign Minister, signed an agreement with the construction firm San José and BBVA to develop the railway land reserved for Chamartín station. That agreement, whose term has been extended several times, has been kept under lock and key until today. The property developer filed several lawsuits to prevent it from being published.

However, eldiario.es is now exclusively publishing the latest draft of the agreement, which reveals the economic conditions of the project, which is reportedly the largest urban development project in Europe: the sale of 1.278 million m2 for homes and offices. On Friday, the definitive agreement will be signed, confirm sources at Adif, which has been blessed by the municipal planning of Manuela Carmena’s government and which will see the disposal of public buildable land for a price of €769.5/m2 in that area to the north of Madrid, the expansion area of the financial district, one of the most expensive parts of the capital.

Sources in the real estate sector claim that the agreed value represents half the market price at which other plots in the same area have been sold recently. In January, the same vendor, Adif, put another plot up for sale, further north, in San Sebastián de los Reyes, outside of the capital, which was sold for €1,500/m2 to a real estate cooperative: €16.3 million for 1,500 m2.

The gigantic plot that Adif is going to sell to Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN), formed by the construction firm San José and BBVA, groups together 1.27 million m2 of land, according to the current contract. For that space, DCN is going to pay €984.2 million, which represents a price of less than €769.5/m2 excluding the financial interest corresponding to the payment over 20 years.

Hours after eldiario.es published the contents of the agreement, Adif issued a statement confirming that the cost that the private partners (…) will pay for the operation is above market prices. To reach this conclusion, the public company (…) is taking the price of the land and adding the interest that will be paid for 20 years (3% each year), the budget for the urbanisation of the plot and even the transfer of the land that the law obliges to the property developer: 100,000 m2 for public housing that Adif estimates at €67.4 million.

In September, the Government of Manuela Carmena approved the general plan to authorise the urban development of the so-called Operación Chamartín. In the accompanying financial report, the only official estimate that exists, the Town Hall of Madrid calculates a land value that is three times higher than the figure that Adif is going to receive. In that document, Manuela Carmena’s Government establishes that the sale of the whole reclassified area (which groups together twice as much land as mentioned above and which also involves other landowners) “would amount to €3.749 billion in total”. The price established in that financial report corresponds to 2.6 million m2 of that urban development. According to those accounts, the price per m2 equates to €1,407/m2, well below the €769/m2 that Adif is going to receive (…).

Original story: El Diario (by Fátima Caballero)

Translation: Carmel Drake

A Public Consultation Period Opens for Newly Approved Operación Chamartín

20 September 2018 – El Mundo

On Thursday, the Governing Board of the Town Hall of Madrid approved the modification to the General Urban Development Plan to develop the Madrid Nuevo Norte project, previously known as Operación Chamartín, 25 years after the first attempts were made to get the project off the ground and after long negotiations between the Ministry of Development, the property developer Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN), the entity awarded land by Adif, and the Town Hall.

Now, a period of public consultation has opened ahead of a debate in the Plenary, likely before the end of the year, in a meeting that is expected to be tense for the Ahora Madrid group, whose vote will be split, given that six councillors – three from Ganemos and three from Izquierda Unida – have expressed their opposition to the project. In fact, yesterday, Mauricio Valencia, the third deputy mayor, opposed the development at the meeting of the Governing Body after his party, Izquierda Unida asked Congress to suspend the new urban plans, which will completely change the northern face of the Spanish capital.

After it is approved in the Plenary, the plan will be sent to the Community of Madrid for its definitive approval, a mere formality, given that the Government of Ángel Garrido has already announced that it will give its approval provided all of the administrative requirements are fulfilled.

The councillor for Sustainable Urban Development, José Manuel Calvo, yesterday welcomed the fact that the project is going to be approved with “the support of the four groups” from the municipal body and with a different party leading each of the three administrations (…).

The new project has reduced the total permitted buildability of the project approved by the Town Hall of Ana Botella from 3,370,000 m2 in 2015 to 2,657,313 m2, which represents a decrease of 713,631 m2 (or 21%) (…).

In total, 10,500 new homes are planned, of which around 4,000 will be for social housing, owned by the Town Hall, within the 36% of land that corresponds to it according to the plans (…).

The councillor (for Sustainable Development) highlighted that one of the fundamental aspects of the operation will be the renovation of Chamartín train station, which “we want to turn into one of the best railway stations in Europe” (…).

The project, which is divided into four operating areas: Chamartín station, the Business Centre, Malmea-San Roque-Tres Olivos and Las Tablas Oeste, includes 390,700 m2 of green space, 252,094 m2 of facilities and 848,617 m2 for transportation. It will also have office space spanning 1 million m2 and the tallest tower in Spain, with 70 storeys.

The President of DCN, Antonio Béjar, said yesterday that he was “satisfied” with the approval of the plan, which in his opinion “proves that the regeneration of the north of Madrid is now a reality and that there is no turning back”, reports Efe. Meanwhile, Ecologists in Action and residents grouped into the FRAVM and North Zone Platform criticised the operation again for benefitting private interests and not those of citizens.

Original story: El Mundo (by Roberto Bécares)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Major Real Estate Projects in Madrid to Attract €10.5 Billion in Investments

21 August 2018

Some of the outsized projects for the coming years include the northern Madrid construction, the expansion of the Barajas airport and the Canalejas project.

Madrid will soon be the target of multi-billion euro investments in major real estate and urban development projects, upgrading the Spanish capital’s image in the coming years. The investments will lead to the construction of housing, skyscrapers, hotels, shopping centres, university campuses while also renovating some football stadiums and demolishing others.

Madrid Nuevo Norte, under development by DCN; Aena’s real estate project for Barajas; the Canalejas and Caleido project, along with the renovation of the Bernabeú stadium and the Mahou-Calderón development will involve total investments of €10.5 billion.

Four new skyscrapers

Madrid Nuevo Norte is the most ambitious project and the one that has been the longest in the making. Formerly known as Operation Chamartín, the project involves the construction of 365 new buildings in Madrid, including 10,500 flats and three skyscrapers in the vicinity of the Chamartín train station, in the north of the capital.

Construction of the project, which had been paralysed for a quarter of a century, is expected to begin in 2019. If the developer manages to keep to the announced deadlines, reparcelling and development will start by the end of next year or early 2020, and the first homes will be ready by 2021 or 2022.

Considering the sheer magnitude of the project, which will have a buildable area of 2.66 million square meters, construction is expected to last for more than two decades. Madrid Nuevo Norte will require €6 billion in investments and should create roughly 120,000 jobs during the construction phase and 94,000 posts after its completion.

A building known as the fifth tower will be erected in the area surrounding Madrid Nuevo Norte. The Caleido project will involve investments of €300 million and should be ready by the end of next year. Inmobiliaria Espacio, of the Villar Mir Group, was awarded the development and operationalisation of the project on public land in 2014 and is leading the development together with Megaworld, a conglomerate held by the Filipino billionaire Andrew Tan.

The project will include a 36-floor, 165-meter tower, which will house IE’s new, vertical campus, and a second building, 280 meters long and 60 meters wide, that will host a sports medicine centre operated by Quirónsalud.

Aena’s planned project for the land adjacent to the Barajas airport also stands out. The airport manager is forecasting a total investment of €2.997 billion over the next 40 years.

The project, with 2.7 million buildable square meters, will have logistics warehouses, offices, hotels and even a shopping centre. The company chaired by Maurici Lucena is searching for partners to develop its plans and, for now, the Blackstone fund and other major investors have demonstrated interest.

The Canalejas project, under development by OHL and Mohari Limited, a company owned by the Israeli executive Mark Scheinberg, is located in central Madrid. The venture, which will link seven historic buildings, will host Spain’s first Four Seasons hotel, along with luxury homes and a shopping area. The project is expected to involve €300 million in investments and is expected to be ready by 2019.

Madrid’s real estate and urban development plans will also affect the iconic Santiago Bernabéu stadium. In April, the city council gave the green light to a plan for reparcelling land for the new stadium, which will involve an investment of about €400 million.d

Housing at the Calderón

1,300 homes will be built on the grounds of another stadium, the Calderón, the former home of Atlético de Madrid. The sale of the land is expected to raise about €175 million in investments from any future buyers (developers), in addition to the more than €42 million stemming from the reparcelling project for the stadium and the grounds of the old Mahou factory.

Original Story: Expansion – Rebecca Arroyo

Translation: Richard Turner

 

Grupo Baraka Sells a Logistics Warehouse in Murcia to Corum for €14M

11 June 2018 – Expansión

The Baraka Group, controlled by the businessman Trinitario Casanova, has closed an agreement to sell one of the logistics assets owned by its construction company Trabis.

Specifically, Baraka has sold a logistics warehouse, called Trabis II, located in the Murcian town of Yecla, the region where Casanova’s companies are headquartered. The property, which has a constructed surface area of 14,000 m2, has been sold for €14 million through a sale and leaseback contract.

“The advantage is that the buyer is guaranteed an asset in which the tenant will continue to undertake its activity”, explained Pablo Carvajal, Director of Capital Markets at Catella, the consultancy firm that has advised the new owner in the transaction.

The buyer is the French fund manager Corum Asset Management. Created in 2011 and with offices in Paris and Amsterdam, the firm set itself the objective last year of investing €500 million in real estate assets across Europe, with a special focus on Spain. For its investments, whose yields exceed 6%, Corum works with two funds Corum Origin and Corum XL, the latter was launched last year.

This is not the first time that Baraka and Corum have closed an operation together. In July 2016, the French firm paid more than €24.8 million for another logistics building also leased to Trabis.

Corum is one of the international investors that has opted to purchase logistics assets in Spain, a booming market due to its high returns and the increase in the e-commerce business. “The logistics investment market is proving attractive for domestic and international investors alike and increasingly more are investing in this type of asset. Between January and May, €250 million has been invested in these types of properties”, say sources at Catella.

At the overall level, investment during the first half of the year is expected to reach €5 billion. “During 2018, €3 billion has been invested in tertiary (non-residential) assets. Taking into account certain transactions pending completion, we expect to see investment of close to €5 billion during the first half of the year, around €1 billion less than during the same period in 2017”, he predicts.

Casanova

The divestment of this logistics warehouse comes just weeks after Trinitario Casanova entered the Madrid Nuevo Norte real estate project (known as Operación Chamartín). The businessman has committed to pay €400 million to the initial owners for the rights to 1.2 million m2 of land (now in the hands of the Ministry of Development) where the company DCN, controlled by BBVA and SanJosé, is planning to build an urban development with more than 10,500 homes.

In addition, Casanova is working on the marketing of the future shopping arcade in Edificio España, the property that he purchased from Wanda for €172 million to immediately sell it on to the RIU hotel group.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

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

‘Operación Chamartín’ Becomes ‘Madrid, Nuevo Norte’

31 July 2017 – Expansión

A Solomonic agreement has been reached between DCN, the Ministry of Development, the Town Hall of Madrid and the Community of Madrid to push ahead with the long-standing project, which will see the construction of 11,000 homes (including 4,100 social housing properties) and a large business centre.

But its name is no longer ‘Operación Chamartín’, ‘Distrito Castellana Norte’ or ‘Madrid Puerta Norte’….after almost 25 years since the idea was first floated by the then government of Felipe González, the development in the northern zone of the belt of Madrid’s M30, is going to be called ‘Madrid, Nuevo Norte’.

On Thursday, the Town Hall of Madrid, Adif and DCN (the property developer in which BBVA and SanJosé hold stakes) presented the strategic guidelines upon which the new project is going to be based. It reduces the buildability to 2.68 million m2, down by 20.5% compared to the 3.37 million m2 proposed by DCN, and cuts the total number of homes to 11,000, of which 20% will be social housing properties. On the other hand, the management of the plan has been handed over to the Town Hall of Madrid, which will control the timings and activities.

The players involved announced the 19 points included as the basis of the agreement, most of which are technical, and which also involve resolving the legal actions. The new plan will see a modification to the General Urban Plan (PGOU) and is divided into five areas (Chamartín Station, Business Centre, Fuencarral Malmea, Fuencarral Tres Olivos and Las Tablas) and two large zones: the South of the M30, which will constitute primarily office space and a large CBD, and the North of the M30, which will focus on housing.

A large business centre for Madrid

One of the fundamental axes of the plan will be the Chamartín station and the Business Centre, which will be located next to the new station to allow for sustainable mobility. The event on Thursday was attended by the Minister for Development, Íñigo de la Serna; the mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, and the President of the company Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN), Antonio Béjar. “This initiative has solid pillars and is sustainable over time. It is an avant-garde and recognisable project, which will generate investment and create employment”, said Antonio Béjar.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, expressed her appreciation for the capacity for “dialogue and consensus” and asked for collaboration from the other political groups to move ahead with the project. “The world is changing. From now on, in Madrid, we are going to be capable of forming part of that change”. For the Minister for Development, Íñigo de la Serna, this is a new project, born out of an agreement that unites the interests of the parties (…).

In this way, the urban planning project, which just six months ago looked to be doomed to failure, seems to be back on track in the critical areas. The property developers said that Madrid does not currently have a recognisable and compact business district. This plan, they said, is designed to fill that gap.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo, L. Ruiz-Ocaña and C. Galera)

Translation: Carmel Drake