Barcelona’s El Triangle Shopping Centre: 20 Years On

13 November 2018 – Eje Prime

El Triangle is growing up. One of the most iconic shopping centres in Barcelona, owned by the Immobilien Investment fund, which forms part of the Deka group, is celebrating its twentieth birthday in a context marked by the rise of e-commerce and the arrival of technology start-ups in search of offices on the most prime thoroughfares.

“Due to our location and facilities, many retailers choose to open their flagship stores in our shopping centre”, explains Joan Mas, manager of El Triangle, speaking to Eje Prime. In fact, in recent years, brands such as Urban Outfitters and Sephora have decided to back the Barcelona shopping centre with their flagship stores, a shop format that enhances the consumer experience.

In this sense, the director believes that e-commerce, far from representing a challenge, has become an opportunity for this shopping centre, which is located at number 1 Plaza Cataluña, in the heart of the Catalan capital. “Although shopping from home is more convenient for retail clients, the centre of the city is always going to be a busy area that attracts a lot of visitors”, adds Mas.

Currently, El Triangle has an occupancy rate of 100%, both in terms of its 14,000 m2 of gross leasable area (GLA) used for retail, as well as its 11,000 m2 dedicated to office space. According to explanations provided by the executive, the gradual increase in rental prices has not caused any problems when it comes to attracting tenants. “Demand has not ceased at any point, we are the ones who choose which brands and companies we want to carry out their activity in the building”, he said.

Proof of that is the arrival of two new operators to El Triangle between the end of 2018 and 2019. On the one hand, Lacoste is soon going to occupy 150 m2 in the shopping centre with the opening of one of its flagship stores. On the other hand, the restaurant chain Five Guys will arrive next year to lease the space that was operated by Masvisión until October.

Technology arrives at the offices in El Triangle

Although large brands are continuing to conquer the leisure and retail space in El Triangle, there has been a change in the trend in the space dedicated to offices in recent years. “Whilst at the beginning, most of the companies that entered as tenants were companies specialising in financial services and banks, recently, our building has been welcoming a significant number of technology firms”.

For example, Skyscanner and My Taxi are some of the companies that have their offices at number 1 Plaza Cataluña. Alongside them operate the coworking giant Regus and the company specialising in video games MSI. With an occupancy rate of 100%, multinationals from the FMCG sector also operate in the property, such as Bacardi, which recently leased a whole floor in the building, spanning 2,700 m2 in total (…).

With more than 150 million visitors from more than 120 countries, El Triangle opened its doors on 12 November 1998. Three years ago, its owner started to modernise the property, with an investment of €1.4 million. The most iconic boulevard of the Catalan capital currently houses 22 retail and restaurant premises, with brands such as Havaianas, Fnac, Sephora and Starbucks, amongst others.

Original story: Eje Prime (by B. Seijo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Bouygues Relaunches Its RE Business In Spain

3 February 2017 – El Independiente

Bouygues, the French industrial giant that operates in the construction, public works and telecommunications sectors, wants to reactivate its real estate division in Spain. Its Spanish subsidiary was created in 1989, but following the burst of the real estate bubble, its activity in the sector was paralysed. Now, it is returning to property: at the end of 2016, it completed the construction of a hotel in Barcelona, the Ibis Bogatell, located next to the Olympic Park, and it wants to increase the number of projects in its portfolio in 2017.

That is according to Bouygues’ Spanish subsidiary. “We are not going to promote residential properties”, specified the Director General of Bouygues Inmobiliaria, Ana Vidal. “We are going to focus on the hotel, office and retail sectors, amongst others”. Although the French Group never disappeared from the Commercial Registry, Bouygues’ real estate activity in Spain has been suspended for almost seven years.

Before the real estate bubble burst, the multi-national firm was a key player in the market, in particular in the construction of business parks and shopping centres. In the case of the latter, Bouygues constructed Parque Oeste (Alcorcón, Madrid), Alcalá de Guadaira (Sevilla) and El Triangle (Barcelona). In the year 2000, the French group expanded its operations to Portugal.

The crisis forced the subsidiary to carry out an aggressive capital reduction in 2010, which left its own funds at 10%. “We are not going to be a Metrovacesa or a Merlin”, said Vidal. “We want to boost the development of projects in Spain through selective, carefully-chosen projects, which prioritise environmental improvement”, added the Director General. One of the models that the real estate division is likely to promote are eco-neighbourhoods, such as the one Bouygues developed in Bordeaux, called “Ginko”.

Bouygues Inmobiliaria is looking to become a “pure property developer”, adopting the turn-key formula, whereby it will take responsibility for identifying the plots of land, designing the properties and executing the construction work. In addition to Barcelona, the subsidiary has acquired a plot of land measuring 18,000 m2 in the industrial area of Julián Camarillo, to the east of Madrid.

Bouygues’ return to activity is further evidence of the recovery of the sector in Spain. Nevertheless, the improvement is slow and uneven. The property development sector estimates that 450,000 new homes were constructed in 2016, compared with 400,000 during the previous year. And house prices have soared in Madrid and Barcelona, along with in the traditionally robust Basque real estate market; however, they are falling in more than half of Spain’s provinces.

Original story: El Independiente (by Pablo García)

Translation: Carmel Drake