Increasingly More Flagship Stores Remain Empty in Madrid & Barcelona

7 January 2020 – Eje Prime

There are an increasing number of large, vacant stores on the high streets of Madrid and Barcelona. Preciados 13, Sol 9, Paseo de Gracia 9, and Paseo de Gracia 77, to name just a few.

After several years of high demand for flagship stores in the two cities, when larger spaces become available, they are now standing empty. Operations have come to a standstill and real estate consultants are forecasting a decrease in rents.

Domestic and international retailers alike, particularly those in the fashion industry, such as Inditex, Mango, H&M and Primark, have taken the high street by storm in recent years, in their efforts to offer consumers a comprehensive experience.

In that context, demand has exceeded supply, and large premises have become the most sought-after. As such, prices have been rising and the family offices, which had traditionally owned the properties in the retail sector, were joined by large funds.

But now, the situation has changed. E-commerce is growing rapidly and most of the major operators have now opened flagship stores. With an excess supply in the market and fewer operators demanding large spaces, prices will have to decrease. Real estate investors are proving to be more flexible than opportunistic funds in terms of agreeing reasonable rental prices. Rental prices have not fallen yet, however, according to several sources, it is only a matter of time.

Meanwhile, a few months ago, H&M sent a letter to several of the owners of the premises it occupies in Spain (e.g. on Portal de l’Àngel in Barcelona and Gran Vía in Madrid) terminating their contracts. According to sources in the sector, “they sent those letters knowing that they would be able to stay in the premises paying half the rent”.

Original story: Eje Prime (Pilar Riaño)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Telefónica to Sell an Historic Office Building in Barcelona for c. €110M

15 March 2019 – Expansión

Telefónica is putting one of its oldest buildings in Barcelona up for sale. The property, constructed in 1928, is located in Plaza Catalunya on Calle Fontanella and has a surface area of 8,530 m2 distributed over eleven above-ground floors and a basement.

The asking price stands at around €110 million and Telefónica, which occupies the whole building, is expected to continue as the tenant following the operation, in a deal known as a sale & leaseback.

The lower three floors of the building are currently occupied by Movistar Centre, an initiative from Telefónica, similar to a flagship store, which allows the public to try out the latest mobile phone technology.

According to the initial plans, Telefónica could close the sale of this property during the first half of this year, or early during the second half. Potential buyers include funds, Socimis and other investors.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo & Ignacio del Castillo)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Thor Equities Finds a Tenant for its Jewel on Gran Vía

20 February 2019 – Eje Prime

Thor Equities has found a replacement for Sfera in the heart of Madrid. The US fund, which last year acquired number 30 Gran Vía for €75 million, has leased one of the commercial premises in the property to the sports fashion retailer Décimas.

The company has taken over the space measuring 600 m2 from Sfera, the fashion chain owned by El Corte Inglés. That retail company had occupied the premises since 2005 but decided to vacate it last year because it was too small for its new commercial format (…).

For Décimas, this new store represents a new step onto a prime thoroughfare. The chain concentrates the bulk of its store network in shopping centres, although it also has a flagship store on Calle Fuencarral (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Silvia Riera)

Translation: Carmel Drake

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

Thor Equities Leases Puerta del Sol, 11 to Malagan Perfume Chain Primor

12 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Thor Equities is going to become the landlord of Primor in Madrid. The New York-based fund has leased number 11 Puerta del Sol to the Malaga-based perfume and cosmetics chain. The property, which is owned by Thor Equities and the real estate manager Invesco Real Estate, will house Primor’s flagship store in the Spanish capital.

The asset is located on one of the busiest commercial streets in Madrid. The store, which will open its doors at the beginning of 2019, will occupy the more than 1,400 m2 that make up the property, distributed over three floors. The lease contract has been signed for a duration of fifteen years, with a rent of around €360/m2/month, according to reports from El Economista.

The fund and Invesco Real Estate acquired the store from El Corte Inglés at the end of 2015 for €65 million. The property is one of four assets that comprise Thor Equities’s real estate portfolio in Madrid. The company made its last purchase in April when it acquired number 30 Gran Vía for €75 million. Moreover, Thor is also the owner of number 5 Puerta del Sol, for which it paid €5 million in March 2017.

The fund has undertaken this transaction together with Invesco Real Estate, one of the world’s largest real estate investment managers. The firm has been investing in Spain in different segments, such as the residential and logistics sectors, for several years. Specifically, its last major operation in the country involved its purchase of three logistics centres in Madrid and Barcelona for €173 million.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Corpfin Capital Real Estate will Debut 5 Socimis on the MAB in 2019

26 September 2018 – Voz Pópuli

Corpfin Capital Real Estate Partners is planning to debut five new Socimis on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB) under the name Inbest before September 2019.

By the time they make their debuts, the Inbest Socimis will have an investment volume of almost €400 million. The Socimis intend to carry out investments with an average volume of between €50 million and €60 million to acquire properties located in commercial areas of Madrid and Barcelona, as well as in the main provincial capitals, and to provide them with added value and convert them into retail premises and flagship stores for major brands.

The management company of Inbest Socimis is currently in the process of becoming a management company that will be regulated by Spain’s National Securities and Markets Commission. It is chaired by Javier Basagoiti (pictured above), founding partner of the firm together with Carlos Lavilla and Patrick Gandarias. Basagoiti founded Corpfin Capital Real Estate in 2008 in conjunction with Felipe Oriol. Ana Granado, who joined the firm as the Managing Director last year, after working at Santander, Aguirre Newman and Deloitte, will lead the Inbest team, which will comprise 13 professionals in total.

Inbest will finish this year having raised €200 million during the year from various investors and plans to end its investment period in December 2021.

Corpfin Capital Real Estate’s real estate operations include the rental to Apple of its store in Valencia, a residential building that was renovated and whose use was modified to commercial, which was subsequently acquired by Pontegadea, the investment company owned by the Zara founder, Amancio Ortega; the renovation of a old bank branch in San Sebastián, which has now been converted into a shopping arcade that is home to major fashion labels; and the purchase of the premises that used to house the former Nebraska cafeterias in Madrid, establishments that are now occupied by McDonalds and VIPS.

Through Inbest, Corpfin Capital Real Estate wants to take advantage of the boom in the commercial real estate sector, which reported record investment figures in 2017.

The trend of the major brands is to occupy large retail spaces in the main shopping areas of cities, leaving smaller establishments and those set away from the prime areas, whereby opening a niche in the market in which Inbest is specialising. The consolidation of the e-commerce sector has also influenced this change in trend.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Alberto Ortín)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sfera Leaves Gran Vía & Frees Up 1,000 m2 of Prime Retail Space

23 August 2018 – Eje Prime

Sfera is freeing up 1,000 m2 of space in the centre of Madrid. In September, the fashion chain owned by El Corte Inglés is going to abandon the store it currently occupies on Gran Vía, with a useful commercial surface area of 600 m2. The company has decided not to renew the rent that tied it to the recent purchaser of the building, the US fund Thor Equities.

Located at number 30 on the Spanish capital’s main commercial thoroughfare, surrounded by competitor brands (Inditex, H&M, Tendam and Primark, amongst others), the store is no longer of interest to Sfera, which has justified its departure on the basis of the small size of the store for the exhibition model that it is developing, according to Cinco Días. The chain has occupied this three-story establishment (comprising the first, ground and basement floors) since 2005.

Sfera is immersed in a process to renovate and reorganise its business plan for its commercial activity in the centre of Madrid. The company recently remodelled its store at number 4 Calle Preciados, which has a surface area of 2,500 m2 spread over five storeys.

The objective of the chain is to strengthen the presence of its store on Preciados so that it will become the firm’s flagship store in the centre of Madrid. Similarly, Sfera is going to start work soon on the renovation of its store at number 56 Calle Fuencarral. The company’s portfolio of retail assets in the centre of the Spanish capital is completed by a second establishment at number 118 Calle Fuencarral and the concession stands it has in the El Corte Inglés stores in the area.

In total, Sfera renovated 26 of its stores in Spain in 2017. With a presence in 15 countries besides Spain, where it opened its newest store just a few months ago in Fuengirola (Málaga), the chain is investing considerably in the international real estate market. The clearest example is Mexico, where the firm has 45 stores, all operated as franchises.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Primark to Open a Megastore in Barcelona’s Plaza Cataluña

12 July 2018 – Idealista

Primark is finally entering the centre of Barcelona. The low-cost fashion company is going to open a flagship store at number 23 Plaza Cataluña, in a building owned by the fund manager IBA Capital, according to confirmation from real estate sources speaking to Idealista News. Until now, the property has been occupied by the El Corte Inglés department store group, but now the Irish chain is going to take over the 7,393 m2 property.

IBA Capital acquired the building in 2013 for €100 million and, over the last six months, since it has been on the market, the asset has attracted attention from the main fashion groups in Europe, including H&M, Primark, Inditex and the Japanese firm Uniqlo.

The building has a gross leasable area of 7,393 m2 and is located at the junction of Plaza Cataluña and Las Ramblas, one of the new commercial thoroughfares in Barcelona following the opening of establishments by the Galician giant Inditex there, as well as by operators such as Mango, Apple and Urban Outfitters.

The building was leased in its entirety to El Corte Inglés until a few months ago, which operated it through a multi-brand concept with firms such as Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, Diesel, Maje, Sandro, Stefanel and Desigual.

The property was renovated in 1998 and used to house the former headquarters of Banco Central and one of the only stores that the British firm Marks&Spencer used to have in Spain. Following the purchase by IBA Capital, El Corte Inglés and the fund signed a sale and leaseback contract, which expired in 2018.

IBA Capital in the Spanish market

Founded in 2013, IBA is led by Thierry Julienne and Jesús Valderrama, the founders of the investment vehicle. The fund manager has the capacity to manage all classes of real estate assets and its portfolio is currently worth €1 billion.

The portfolio comprises more than a dozen assets situated in first-rate locations in Madrid and Barcelona. Its properties include number 18 Gran Vía, number 9 Preciados and the ABC Serrano shopping centre, which have been acquired for subsequent renovation.

The other assets are office buildings including the property at number 96 Calle Santiago de Compostela, in Madrid and the Tripark Business Park, in las Rozas. Moreover, the fund owns the Vodafone Building, located at number 115 Avenida de América, and the Manoteras Leisure Park, also in the Spanish capital.

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Socimi Tander Acquires Gran Vía 6 (Bilbao) for €7.5M

26 June 2018 – Eje Prime

Tander is expanding its geographical reach. The Socimi, present in Barcelona and Santander until now, is growing in the north of Spain with the purchase of its first asset in Bilbao. The company has acquired number 6 Gran Vía in the Basque city for €7.5 million, in its first operation since it made its debut on the MAB in January.

According to a statement filed by the company with the Alternative Investment Market (MAB), the operation includes “two properties that comprise a single commercial premise”, with a constructed surface area of 257.33 m2.

“These premises have been leased recently, and are on the verge of being handed over to the new lessee, something that will happen within the next few days”, says the company, owner of a fund in which the Canadian manager Première Alliance holds a stake.

To carry out the operation, Tander has required external financing. In June, the company granted various guarantees to ING to “free up” €8.32 million of the financing committed with the financial entity, which amounts to €54.27 million in total. Similarly, the company drew down €4.27 million more.

The Socimi is using that amount to finance the purchase of the asset in Bilbao as well as to strengthen “its financial capacity to comply with its real estate asset acquisition strategy”. Tander’s investment plan for 2018 amounts to €25 million, which will serve for the acquisition of between three and four assets outside of Madrid and Barcelona, according to Eje Prime.

The company debuted on the MAB in January with a valuation of €50 million. Tander owns five assets in prime areas of Barcelona and a sixth in Santander, which constituted a portfolio that was worth €80.3 million at the beginning of the year.

From Vía Laietana to Paseo de Gracia

Tander’s footprint in Barcelona is located in the centre of the city. The Socimi’s largest asset is an office at number 6-20 Calle Casp, which has a surface area of 3,457 m2. That building houses the offices of Cadena SER, owned by Grupo Prisa, just above Teatro Tívoli.

At number 15 Paseo de Gracia, the manager owns a retail premise measuring 527 m2, which is currently leased to FC Barcelona, which has opened a flagship store. In the same street, at number 27, the Socimi has leased a store measuring 792 m2 to the brand Cos, part of the H&M group.

Tander completes its portfolio in Barcelona’s city centre with part of number 47 Vía Laietana, an office building in which the Socimi has leased 1,100 m2 to Banco Sabadell. The financial entity also leases a branch measuring 155 m2 at number 171 Travessera de Gràcia, which is also owned by Tander Inversiones.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Socimi Tander Signs a €55M Loan to Finance New Purchases

11 June 2018 – Eje Prime

Tander Inversiones wants to continue nurturing its asset portfolio and for that it requires capital. The company, owned by a fund in which the Canadian manager Première Alliance holds a stake, has just signed a €55 million loan to carry out new purchases, according to explanations provided by Clara Casales, Property Manager of the Socimi, speaking to Eje Prime.

Last week, the company agreed, under the framework of its Ordinary General Shareholders’ Meeting “to repay and cancel the debt that it has subscribed to date, also cancelling all of the guarantee instruments relating to it, with the aim of refinancing, expanding and unifying the company’s debtor position under a new financing arrangement amounting to €55 million”, explain sources at the Socimi.

Tander will allocate these new funds to the purchase of new assets in the Spanish market. The Socimi has established an investment plan of up to €25 million for 2018 with the aim of expanding to more cities in Spain, with Madrid as a priority, according to comments made to Eje Prime. Tander’s objective is to purchase between three and four assets this year.

The Socimi concentrates its current investments in Barcelona, where it has five assets in prime areas of the Catalan capital. The sixth asset in the portfolio with which it leapt onto the Alternative Investment Market at the beginning of 2018 is located in Santander. When it rang the bell, the value of Tander’s portfolio amounted to €80.3 million.

Now, Tander’s aim is to expand its investments to the main cities in Spain. Some of the areas that the Socimi is analysing include Bilbao, Valencia, Sevilla and San Sebastián, although it is also interested in Málaga and A Coruña. Tander is analysing different operations, but it does not have anything identified yet.

From Vía Laietana to Paseo de Gracia

Tander’s current portfolio in Barcelona is distributed around the main shopping area of the Catalan capital. The Socimi’s largest asset is an office space at number 6-20 Calle Casp, which has a surface area of 3,457 m2. It houses the offices of Cadena SER, owned by Grupo Prisa, just above the Teatro Tívoli.

Very close by, at number 15 Paseo de Gracia, the manager owns a retail premise measuring 527 m2, which is currently leased to FC Barcelona, which has opened a flagship store there. On the same street, at number 27, the Socimi leases a 792 m2 store to the Cos brand, part of the H&M group.

Tander completes its portfolio in the central area of Barcelona with part of number 47 Vía Laietana, an office building in which the Socimi leases 1,100 m2 to Banco Sabadell. This financial institution also leases a 155 m2 branch at number 171 Travessera de Gracia, which is also owned by Tander Inversiones.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake