CBRE Global Investment Partners and IBA Capital to Sell Gran Vía 18 in Madrid

19 November 2019 – CBRE Global Investment Partners and IBA Capital announced their intention to sell the property located at Gran Vía 18, in Madrid for an estimated 70 million euros. The two firms acquired the asset in 2017 for €44 million and have since implemented a major renovation.

The building, which is on the corner of Calle Clavel, will become a mixed-use retail and office building. The retail side of the asset, which has a basement and seven above-ground floors, is large enough to accommodate a flagship store of a major retailer.

Original Story: El Economista – Alba Brualla

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

RIU Opens Major Hotel on Madrid’s Gran Vía

13 August 2019

This week, RIU announced the opening of its first hotel in Madrid after almost two years of renovations and a total investment of between 380 and 400 million euros.

The RIU Plaza España hotel on Madrid’s Gran Vía has 585 rooms and 5,000 square meters of event facilities, including 17 meeting rooms.

Original Story: Expansión – R. Arroyo

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Greystar Enters Rental Home Sector with the Purchase of a Building on Gran Vía in Madrid

3 June 2019 – Expansión

Greystar Real Estate Partners has inaugurated its expansion plan into the residential rental market in Spain with the acquisition of the property on Madrid’s Gran Vía, 48, containing 100 residential units, for an undisclosed sum.

The operation represents the real estate investor’s second acquisition in the country after it purchased the Spanish student residence operator Resa in 2017 through a joint venture with the fund AXA Investment Managers and CBRE Global Investment Partners.

Greystar has four new build projects under development across Spain, comprising 1,000 beds in total, in cities such as Madrid, Málaga and Pamplona.

Original story: Expansión 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Utopicus to Open 6 New Coworking Centres by 2020

14 March 2019 – Expansión

Utopicus is planning to add six new centres to its portfolio in Madrid and Barcelona over the next year taking the total number of centres to 13, which will together span a surface area of 36,000 m2.

On Monday, the coworking company controlled by Colonial will open its large, long-awaited office on Gran Vía 4, where it will occupy the entire building (spanning 5,000 m2 in total).

The average cost of the firm’s workspaces ranges between €300 and €400 per month. The company expects to welcome 6,000 coworkers in 2020.

New office openings

In addition to Gran Vía, over the coming months, Utopicus plans to open centres in Parc Glories and Gal la Placidia, in Barcelona and on Paseo de la Castellana 163, Jose Abascal 56 and Paseo de la Habana, in Madrid.

According to Rafa De Ramón, CEO of Utopicus, coworking is a phenomenon on the rise. Currently, coworking spaces span 150,400 m2 in Barcelona and Madrid, which accounts for between 0.5% and 1% of the total office market. That figure is expected to grow by between 5% and 10% over the next few years.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Madrid & Barcelona Enter Top 40 Most Attractive Global Cities for Retail

19 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Madrid and Barcelona are two of the most attractive cities in the world for retail. The two Spanish cities rank amongst the forty most attractive places for commercial activity, according to the Hot Retail Cities report, compiled by Modaes.es, with the support of Tendam and in collaboration with Instituto de Empresa.

The top 3 of the ranking features New York, Los Angeles and Singapore. Madrid and Barcelona are ranked ahead of metropolises such as Milan and Moscow, boosted by factors such as economic openness, the socio-economic environment and the presence of international operators. Moreover, in the fashion category, the two cities are also cradles of some of the world’s retail titans, such as Inditex, Mango and Tendam, and they are home to one of the largest European department store groups, El Corte Inglés.

Barcelona is ranked at number 29 on the list, scoring 425 points out of a possible total of 1,000. Tourism, the presence of fashion operators in the city, the commercial streets and their structure and geographical location are the key factors that place Barcelona within the top thirty hottest cities on the planet. In recent years, the city has become a gateway for major international retailers, such as Uniqlo, which chose the city for its debut in Spain.

Meanwhile, the Spanish capital is positioned at number 36 in the Hot Retail Cities ranking with 410 points. In the case of Madrid, factors that work in its favour include commercial openness, economic stability and recovery, and the multiplicity of prime thoroughfares such as Calle Serrano, Gran Vía, Fuencarral and Calle Preciados.

The criteria for compiling the ranking are grouped together under eight general points that companies assess when it comes to studying the city: demographics, economy, politics, socio-economic environment, tourism, retail, fashion and trendy cities. In addition, analysis criteria are included about the more or less optimal conditions of each city for international retailers.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hispania to Convert the Café La Granja Building in Bilbao into a Hotel

10 October 2018 – El Correo

Thanks to the significant investments carried out in recent years, the investment fund Hispania has become the largest hotel group in Spain. It has outperformed traditional companies in the sector such as Meliá, HI Hoteles and Hoteles Globales in terms of the number of establishments and rooms. At the height of its expansion phase, boosted at the end of last year by the purchase of the Alua chain – which saw it acquire seven resorts in the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands for €165 million – it has set its sights on Bilbao. Just a week after another high-profile fund, the Madrid-based Millenium Group announced its intention to convert Banco Santander’s headquarters on Gran Vía into a luxury hotel, Plaza Circular is now going to witness the transformation of one of the Bizcayan capital’s most iconic buildings: the site that formerly housed Café La Granja.

The hostelry establishment, which started life on 31 July 1926 and which was acquired by the real estate firm Navarra Fitbox two years ago, has been closed since 8 February 2017 when, unexpectedly, it pulled down its shutters for the very last time. The insurance company Helvetia sold the property for almost €7.5 million. After 90 years of uninterrupted activity, the historical café has only re-opened its doors since then on a sporadic basis to host one-off events of a cultural nature, such as book fairs. The offices and insurance companies that used to occupy the upper five floors have been evicted, starting back in 2010 (…).

Hispania is going to strengthen the hotel supply in Bilbao, which is experiencing a genuine frenzy, with the planned opening of seven new properties over the medium term. The fund has been planning its debut in the town for a while, but its intentions have always focused on this area, which will draw a new Bilbao with the arrival of the fashion giant Primark and the launch of the Regional Government’s international entrepreneurship centre in the former BBVA tower, which was sold for €100 million two weeks ago. The arrival of the AVE and the strong commercial positioning have pushed up prices considerably in this area. Like in the case of the building work to be carried out on the site of Santander’s former headquarters, the transformation of La Granja will have to be approved by the Town Hall’s Heritage Committee, which has not yet assessed the project, given that it is an artistic building. That procedure may be completed this month (…).

Original story: El Correo 

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

Investors Unleash a Buying Frenzy on Madrid & Barcelona’s High Streets

28 August 2018 – Cinco Días

E-commerce is having an unexpected effect in that it is boosting the main high streets of Madrid and Barcelona. A number of operators are opening flagship stores to compete with online sales, whilst at the same time, there is a great deal of interest from investors wanting to acquire these types of properties since they represent assets with high returns.

During the first six months of the year, the main high streets of Madrid and Barcelona sparked a buying frenzy amongst real estate investors. They spent €700 million on the purchase of stores during H1 – that figure was 44% higher than they spent during the whole of 2017, according to the High Street report published by the consultancy firm Savills Aguirre Newman.

In an environment of low returns on other investment alternatives, given the context of low interest rates and enormous liquidity in the market, significant capital flows are being channelled towards property. Within the sector, the high street segment (stores on the most commercial streets) of Madrid and Barcelona are attracting investors.

The yield or return in the best commercial neighbourhoods of Madrid and Barcelona amounts to 3.25%, and in secondary areas, that figure rises to between 4.5% and 4.75% (the better the area, the higher the cost of operations and so the lower the returns). In large towns, the yield on prime stores reaches 4%.

Institutional investors (large real estate and pension funds) have been the most active players, accounting for 76% of all operations, according to Savills Aguirre Newman, with the remaining 24% involving insurance companies, private firms, family offices and Socimis (…).

“Institutional investors continue to focus on the best commercial thoroughfares of the large cities, where the purchase tickets typically exceed €20 million”, says the study. Meanwhile, private investors are more active in opportunities in the cities in which they reside, where they are local experts.

Madrid has accounted for a large number of the operations seen in recent months, with the acquisition by the fund Hines of Preciados 13 (..) and Redevco’s purchase of the Mercado de San Miguel. Meanwhile, AEW bought the Mercado de Fuencarral; Generali acquired Preciados 9; Thor Equities snapped up Gran Vía 30, and M&G Real Estate purchased 68 on the same street. Nevertheless, a lot of the investment this year has been due to one transaction involving a portfolio of Inditex stores, which were acquired by the German fund Deka for €400 million.

For investors, another attractive feature of the Spanish market is the improvement in the rents that tenants are paying, which have clearly risen in recent years since the crisis. Prices on Calle Preciados, for example, have risen from €270/sqm/month two years ago to €277/sqm/month in 2018. Gran Vía has also seen a €10/sqm/month increase to €240/sqm/month, according to data from the consultancy firm.

In Barcelona, prices on the most expensive street in Spain, Portal de L’Angel, have grown by 5.5% during the same period to €285/sqm/month. Nevertheless, prices on Paseo de Gracia are rising the fastest, by 15%, to reach €260/sqm/month (…).

One of the major changes that is being seen is the concentration and opening of large flagship stores in the centre of the two cities through which the operators are seeking to counter the strength of online shopping, by offering what they call a shopping experience (…).

In this vein, as Cinco Días revealed last week, the Chinese technology firm Huawei is going to open a flagship store on Gran Vía 48 in Madrid, in the former C&A store. On the other hand, the Sfera brand, owned by El Corte Inglés, is leaving Gran Vía 30, given that it has recently reorganised its business in the centre of the city to focus on its larger and recently renovated megastore on Calle Preciados.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

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

Banco Santander Sells Office Building in Bilbao to M&G for €50M

23 April 2018 – Mis Oficinas

Banco Santander is continuing with its divestment strategy and, to that end, has reached an agreement with the British fund M&G to sell one of its buildings located in Bilbao, for which it expects to receive €50 million.

Santander has undertaken several divestments in recent years. To tackle the crisis, it sold ten buildings for around €418 million and, in 2008, it carved out other important properties in Boadilla del Monte, in the Community of Madrid, for €1.9 billion.

It is currently holding negotiations regarding the sale of a building that is located on Bilbao’s central Gran Vía for around €50 million. The property spans 4,967 m2 and houses some of Santander’s subsidiaries.

The British fund M&G already owns the Nao building in Barcelona, which it purchased from Axa for €30 million. That property spans 9,000 m2 and is home to the headquarters of Servei d´ Ocupacio de Cataluya. Now, the fund has set its sights on Bilbao where real estate operations are on a roll; BBVA has also got caught up in the fever and is holding negotiations for the sale of its office tower, also located in Gran Vía.

Original story: Mis Oficinas

Translation: Carmel Drake