Merlin Properties Prepares New Offer for Operation Chamartín

28 November 2019 – Merlin Properties has finalised an agreement with BBVA and the San José construction group to give it the right of first refusal for a stake in the North Castellana District (DCN), where the San José holds a 10% stake and the bank 75.54%. The socimi, however, intends to make an offer right away.

Merlin Properties currently has a 14.46% stake in the Operation Chamartín development and is looking for greater control. Merlin had already offered to trade control of 700 offices that it currently rents to the banking group for the operating rights to Operation Chamartín. The bank, however, is seen to be more interested in taking a stake in Merlin Properties itself, possibly of 2%.

Original Story: OK Diário – Borja Jiménez

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Merlin Properties Nears Sale of Portfolio of 26 Office Buildings

18 November 2019 – Merlin Properties is close to finalising the sale of a portfolio of 26 office buildings in Madrid and Barcelona for an estimated 200 million euros. The socimi is selling assets, with a total area of 133,000 square meters, which it considers to be non-strategic. Merlin expects to finalise the sale by the end of November and disclosed that it already has received a deposit from the presumed buyer.

The sale is taking place a few weeks after the firm managed to enter into Madrid’s Operation Chamartín as a partner. Chamartín is the largest urban development project currently underway in Europe. Merlin acquired a 14.4% stake in Distrito Castellana Norte, the owner to the development rights for Operation Chamartín from the San José construction group. The socimi agreed to pay 169 million euros for the stake, in addition to granting an €86 million loan to the construction group.

Original Story: La Información

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Madrid City Council Gives Preliminary Approval to Operation Chamartín

29 July 2019 – Richard D. K. Turner

The Madrid City Hall gave conditional approval to the Madrid Nuevo Norte project, also known as Operation Chamartín, yesterday 25 years after it was first proposed.

The modifications to the General Urban Development Plan will be sent for final approval to the government of the Community of Madrid.

The mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida stated that they would maintain the project originally agreed to by the Ministry of Development, the private developer leading the project, Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN) and the Madrid City Council. The mayor added that construction is expected to begin in 2020 or 2021 and generate 200,000 direct jobs.

Community organisations and environmental groups such as the Regional Federation of Neighbourhood Associations of Madrid (FRAVM), Ecologists in Action and the North Zone Platform, stated that they would contest the development in court.

Original Story: El Diário

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 Receives the Green Light for 10,500 Homes

17 April 2018 – El País

The Ministry of Development, the Town Hall of Madrid and the property developer Distrito Castellana Norte have reached an agreement to give the green light to Operación Chamartín, the largest urban planning project in Madrid. After more than two decades of blockades, the new plan reduces the buildability of the previous projects, with the construction of 10,510 homes in the north of the capital, 6,500 fewer than initially planned, plus a large business centre and the remodelling of the train station.

The Minister for Development, Íñigo de la Serna (pictured above), confirmed on Tuesday, that his Ministry, the Town Hall of Madrid and the property developer Distrito Castellana Norte had finally reached an agreement to initiate the procedures for the modification of the General Urban Development Plan (PGOU) of the Madrid Nuevo Norte project, known as Operación Chamartín.

In this way, the largest urban development plan in Madrid has been unblocked (at least on paper) after 25 years of obstacles and litigation cases under different governments, both from the Central Executive as well as from the Town Hall of Madrid, although the building work will not start for several years.

The project is a modification of the agreement principle reached last July, but with significant changes, such as a 6% reduction in the buildability, down from 2.83 million m2 to 2.66 million m2. Compared to the size of the project when Ana Botella was leader of the Town Hall in 2015 (3.37 million m2), the decrease in buildability amounts to more than 26% (…).

Details

20% of the homes will be subsidised (2,100 homes), double the minimum established by law, and the Town Hall led by Manuela Carmena has already announced that it will allocate the cession of use that corresponds to it to social housing. Moreover, a business centre spanning 1 million m2 is going to be built and Chamartín train station will be renovated, with the permission of Adif, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Development.

De la Serna explained that the documentation to begin the processing of the project was registered on Monday with a document that seeks to give the green light to this urban transformation, which means that in July, the initial approval will be received and the process will be completed by the end of the year (…).

Original story: El País (by Ramón Muñoz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Distrito Castellana Norte Considers Becoming Socimi for Stock Market Listing

23 March 2018 – EjePrime

Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN), the developer and owner of much of Operación Chamartín’s lands, in Madrid, is not ruling out the possibility of a stock market listing, using its large portfolio of rental properties.

The company has the rights to the lands managed by Adif in the area surrounding the Chamartín railway station, and where an entirely new neighbourhood will be built. The municipal plan, called Madrid Nuevo Norte, which the company and the City Council are still working on, foresees the development of up to 11,000 homes on the land, as well as a business centre composed of several office towers.

This last area may be the focus of a new line of business for DCN. The Madrid-based company, run by Antonio Béjar, does not rule out the possibility of converting itself into a socimi and taking advantage of the portfolio of rental office assets that the company will have at the end of the project, according to Cinco Días.

Currently, DCN is unable to convert itself into a socimi. The company plans to invest up to 6 billion euros to purchase land (of which, 1.2 billion will go to Adif), buildings, developments and infrastructure.

Distrito Castellana Norte is 75% owned by BBVA, while the remaining 25% belongs to Grupo San José. “Spain’s regulatory framework limits the capacity for intense capital growth in socimis, so I believe that for the moment, such a conversion will be difficult, but in the future it is possible that at some point we may become a socimi,” Mr Béjar acknowledged Thursday during a conference on the real estate sector that was organized by Iberian Property and the European Public Real Estate Association (Epra).

Original Story: EjePrime

Translation: Richard Turner

‘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

Aedas Completes €2.3M Capital Increase

17 July 2017 – Eje Prime

Aedas Homes is continuing to raise funds to finance its growth. The company, the heir of Vallehermoso, has carried out a €2.3 million capital increase, which it plans to use to continue to boost its growth and strengthen its position as a key player in the real estate development business in Spain.

According to the Commercial Registry, the company Aedas Homes has carried out a capital increase amounting to €2.3 million. This is the second injection that the company has received in recent months after it increased its capital by €31.5 million in April. In this way, the company’s subscribed capital now amounts to €33.7 million.

Aedas Homes, created by the fund Castlelake and advised by Merlin Properties, was created with the objective of constructing 12,000 homes on land that it has been acquiring since 2013, spanning around 1.35 million m2. In March, Aedas Homes, which competes directly with Neinor Homes, Aelca and Vía Célere, began marketing its first fourteen developments and the group plans to add another fifteen developments to its portfolio in the near future.

The company began life in 2013, where the country’s housing market bottomed out and almost all of its activity was suspended. The fund Castlelake is one of the players who decided to back this business in Spain and in order to carry out its plans, it started to create a portfolio of land in locations that, according to its criteria, would be the first to recover.

At the end of 2015, when the real estate recovery started to become a reality and after investing more than €1,000 million in Spain, the fund had accumulated a portfolio of land covering more than 1.3 million m2, equivalent to 12,000 homes, of which 75% corresponded to primary residences.

It was at this point that the leaders of the project started to think about the possible evolution of all of their assets. To figure it out, they invited the Socimi Merlin Properties to enter the fold, to advise the group on the best formula for operating its land portfolio.

At the company’s helm is David Martínez (pictured above), who has vast experience in the real estate sector. After holding positions of responsibility at groups such as Ferrovial and Bovis Lend Lease in the 1990s, Martínez led projects such as Valdebebas and served as a senior manager at Distrito Castellana Norte.

New hires

In parallel to its growth, Aedas Homes is continuing to beef up its management team. The company recently hired Enrique Gracia, former director of Merlin, as the new Head of Finance. Gracia joined Aedas Homes in May; he has more than fifteen years of experience in the real estate sector (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Aedas Completes €31.5M Capital Increase To Finance Growth

21 April 2017 – Eje Prime

Aedas Homes is facing a new phase of growth. The company, the successor of Vallehermoso, has just completed a capital increase amounting to €31.5 million, and it plans to use the funds to finance the construction of around 50 developments between now and 2018. The group, created by the fund Castlelake and advised by Merlin Properties, was created with the aim of building 12,000 homes on land that the firm has been acquiring since 2013, around 1.35 million m2.

According to the Mercantile Registry, the company Aedas Homes Group has completed a capital injection amounting to €31.4 million. This is the first capital injection received by the company, which until now had a share capital of €3,000. The firm specialises in residential developments in the medium-high end segment of the market.

The group constructs its own developments only and does not render any services to third parties. “We differentiate ourselves from our competitors because we build developments in areas with solvent and sustainable demand”, explains David Martínez (pictured above), CEO of the group. Currently, Aedas Homes has its focus placed on Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante, Valencia, Mallorca, Sevilla and Málaga, where it already has developments underway.

“80% of the land in our portfolio is buildable, whilst the rest is pending urbanisation”, adds Martínez. Moreover, we are constantly buying land, although now the volume that we have is sufficient to be able to carry out our plans in the short term”.

Last month, Aedas Homes, which competes directly with Neinor Homes, Aelca and Vía Célere, started to advertise its first fourteen developments; and the group plans to add another fifteen developments to its portfolio soon. “We would like to end this year having marketed around thirty developments, which is equivalent to 1,500 homes”, added sources at the group. (…).

The company is led by David Martínez, who has extensive experience in the real estate sector. After holding positions of responsibility at groups such as Ferrovial and Bovis Lend Lease in the 1990s, Martínez went on to lead projects such as Valdebebas and to serve as the CEO of Distrito Castellana Norte.

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Operación Chamartín’s # 2 Jumps Ship To Castlelake

21 September 2016 – El Confidencial

Just three years ago, BBVA and San José hired David Martínez as the CEO of Duch, the property developer of Operación Chamartín, which was subsequently renamed Distrito Castellana Norte. It was a high profile move, given that Martínez was CEO of Valdebebas at the time, the only large real estate development in the capital that had managed to resist the crisis.

With those credentials, Martínez became the number two in command at Operación Chamartín, behind only the Chairman, Antonio Béjar. He was also the key figure that allowed the project to be relaunched, a year later, with the consent of the three administrations involved: the Ministry of Development, the Community of Madrid and the Town Hall of Madrid.

But that consensus broke down with the arrival of Ahora Madrid in Palacio de Cibeles. They reversed the plan and submitted their own proposal, Madrid Puerta Norte, which cut the scope of the original plans in half.

In the middle of this blockade, whose most recent chapter has just been written by the High Court of Justice in Madrid, with the admission of the appeal submitted by DCN against the Town Hall, Martínez has abandoned ship to join one of the major international funds in the Spanish real estate sector: Castlelake.

As El Confidencial revealed, the US firm has reached an agreement with Merlin to launch its own property developer from what was leftover of the former firm Vallehermoso, and the 1 million sqm of land that the fund has been acquiring over the last two years.

New property developer

Martínez said goodbye to DCN on 1 September to join this new company, which is expected to start work in October under the brand, Aedas Home. The firm has offices on Paseo de la Castellana and an 11-man team that used to form part of Vallehermoso, Sacyr’s former property developer subsidiary, which was liquidated two years ago.

Martínez’s recruitment is a statement of intent regarding the plans that Castlelake has for Spain, given that he is one of the most recognised professionals in his sector in Spain – he was at the helm for eight years at Valdebebas and then has spent another three years at Operación Chamartín. In fact, many consider him to be the real brains behind these two developments, on whose future the final configuration of the north of Madrid depends.

With Aedas Home, Castlelake has finished shaping the new map of the largest property developers in Spain, a market whose present and future is marked by the clear commitment that three large international funds, in particular, have made to the Spanish real estate sector: Lone Star, which acquired the developer Neinor from Kutxabank for €930 million two years ago; Värde, which together with Marathon and Attestor has launched Dos Puntos from the ashes of the former San José Desarrollos; and now, Castlelake.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake