GMP Puts Huawei’s Offices in Castellana Norte Up For Sale

28 May 2019 – Eje Prime

The real estate group GMP has put the headquarters of the Chinese company Huawei in Madrid up for sale. The technology giant has occupied the offices, which span 21,000 m2, since Q1 2017. The premises are located in the Castellana Norte Business Park in Las Tablas, close to the headquarters of other groups such as Mediaset and Nokia.

The Castellana Norte Business Park has become one of the most important urban renovations projects in the Spanish capital. It offers office space measuring more than 1 million m2, with capacity for over 200,000 people.

GMP, which is owned by the Montoro family and the Singapore sovereign fund, specialises in the management of offices and retail parks. It owns 18 work centres in Madrid and generated revenues of €106.7 million in 2018, up by 8% YoY.

The office market in the Spanish capital is one of the most attractive for international operators thanks to the combination of low prices (€33/m2/month) and availability (10.5%).

GMP’s decision to sell the property was taken before the US named the Chinese company as a threat to national security and vetoed it from all business with US companies.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Marta Casado Pla & Marc Vidal Ordeig)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Is Málaga the Silicon Valley of the South? Its Offices Generate Yields of 7.25%

7 January 2019 – Eje Prime

Málaga is positioning itself as the possible Silicon Valley of the south of Spain. The second most populated city in Andalucía and the only Spanish city in the Top 10 for the best quality of life in Europe, according to Eurobarómetro, has attracted several technology giants in recent years. The interest from these companies in moving to the area and the lack of available space have driven up prime yields in the office market in Málaga to 7.25%, making it the most profitable place to own an office in Spain, according to data from CBRE.

The international consultancy highlights that Málaga is “consolidating its position as a city of reference in Spain in the development of the technology sector”. Oracle, Accenture, Microsoft, Huawei, Ericsson, Indra, Atos and Cisco, amongst others, have all opened offices in the city. The meeting point for these companies is the Andalucía Technology Park (PTA), recently included in the catalogue of European Digital Innovation Hubs, compiled by the European Commission, and which recorded a turnover of €1.9 billion in 2019, up by 8%.

In addition, the province is home to other smaller clusters, such as Málaga SmartCity and the ‘Polo de Contenidos Digitales de Málaga’, the first hub with those characteristics in Spain and which aims to accelerate projects and companies related to the digital sector.

The increase in demand for offices in the city also comes in response to the future forecasts for growth in the region. In fact, Oxford Economists names Málaga as the city where the economy is going to grow by the most in Spain over the next decade. The good connectivity of the province abroad and tourism are some of the factors driving those predictions.

In recent years, Málaga has enjoyed a facelift in recent years with improvements in its infrastructures, and the airport and port as anchors for tourism and business. In addition, the population has increased to 570,000 inhabitants in recent years and there are now more than 40,000 companies, of which 87.1% specialise in services.

These drivers have reactivated the office market, which has taken advantage of the boost in demand, on the rise since 2015. Rentals cost €17/m2/month in the city’s best buildings and the occupancy rate in the prime area exceeds 90%.

The shortage of competitive products in terms of location, finishes and facilities, has driven the increase in yields. In comparison with Madrid and Barcelona, the variation in prime yields is great, improving the yields of 3.25% and 4% that were being registered in the two major Spanish capitals at the end of the third quarter 2018.

Moreover, the office market in Málaga also generates higher yields than the market in Bilbao, although it is not far behind with average yields of 7%, as well as those in Sevilla and Palma, which do not exceed 6.75%. The yields in Valencia and Zaragoza amounted to 5.25% and 6%, respectively, in September last year (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Jabier Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Telefónica Seeks Use for 11,000 m2 of Offices After Failure to Find Tenant

2 October 2018

The telecommunications company put its North Building 3 up for lease a year ago. As yet, the company has found no takers willing to pay 16 euros per square meter per month.

It was heralded as a major real estate transaction: Telefónica announced that it was looking for a tenant or tenants for one of the buildings in the tower complex comprising its headquarters in Madrid that were left unoccupied after the company’s restructuring in recent years. The firm is now looking for a use for the 11,000 square-meter space after it failed to find a tenant willing to pay the 16 euros per square meter per month requested.

In April of last year, the telecoms operator contacted Spain’s leading real estate consultancies asking them to bid on a contract to lease the company’s unused offices. Cushman & Wakefield was one of the firm’s chosen to find a tenant to monetise the empty building. The property has five floors (four upper floors and one below ground), 180 interior parking spaces and 11,112 square meters.

The market price for the leasing contract was stipulated at 16 euros per square meter per month, along with 5.50 euros/m2/month for condominium fees. Telefónica’s plan was to generate annual revenues of 2.1 million euros and income from condominium fees of 733,000 euros, a total of almost three million euros in rent.

However, official sources at the company confirmed that no interested parties have offered to take up residence in the building. China’s Huawei has demonstrated an interest but was unable to complete the move to the District, located in the area of Las Tablas, in the north of Madrid.

Building sales

Leasing the property is still considering a possible but, in the meantime, the telecoms firm presided over by José María Álvarez-Pallete is still looking other possible uses. “[We] are analysing different internal projects,” the provider stated, declining to rule out any alternatives. The firm had already considered using the space to house tech start-ups, both in-house and externally financed.

Sources at the company insist that they have not set a specific deadline to find a use for the building. The next-door North 2 is also currently unoccupied, and the possibility of leasing had also been considered previously.

During the last two years, Telefónica has sold several buildings in the city of Madrid. One in the neighbourhood of Argüelles went for about 25 million euros; another near the well-known Plaza de España sold for about €32 million, and its former headquarters in Rios Rosas Street raised €150 million euros for the telecoms and broadband provider.

The District, 10 years as Telefónica’s headquarters

The Telefónica District, formerly known as District C, was inaugurated in 2008, after three years of construction in an area of 370,000 square meters. The operator concentrated its activities in its new headquarters in a total investment of more than 500 million euros.

The need to transfer thousands of employees who had previously worked at dozens of sites left many facilities empty, some of which had been leased and many others owned. The latter were, for the most part, sold to try to finance some of the investment in the District.

Original Story: La Información – Jesús Martínez

Translation: Richard Turner

Telefónica To Lease Out 1 Building At Its Las Tablas HQ In Madrid

30 April 2017 – El Confidencial

A year after taking over the Presidency at Telefónica, José María Álvarez-Pallete (pictured above) now has the telecoms operator’s first major real estate operation on his desk: the rental of one of the 13 buildings at the entity’s Madrid headquarters, specifically, the complex known as District C.

The company has launched a tender process with the country’s main real estate consultancy firms, with the aim of selecting one of them to find a new tenant for the North 3 Building. All interested parties should submit their bids within the next few days, given that the operator has asked for them to submit their projects after Easter. (…).

With this tender, Telefónica confirmed the rumours that have been circling for a while, which were further fuelled when the operator’s employees vacated the North 2 and 3 Buildings. The properties are located in one of the corners of the main face of the complex. Almost 10,000 people work at the headquarters on a daily basis.

In the end, after considering various options – ranging from organising a kind of small Silicon Valley for startups to selling the building – the team led by Álvarez-Pallete has opted to rent out at least one of its properties. And this option promises to receive interest in the market, given that in the past, commentators have speculated about the possibility of companies such as L’Oreal and Huawei being interested in moving their headquarters there, and which moves the group away from the possibility of selling the entire complex.

The option of Telefónica selling District C has been on the cards for several years – the idea was that it would remain as the tenant with a long-term contract, in order to obtain a sizeable cheque with which to reduce its significant debt balance. In fact, many funds have called at its door, but with offers that have always fallen well below the company’s €3,000 million asking price.

In addition, the new accounting legislation that, from 1 January 2019 onwards, will oblige firms to account for rental commitments as debt, means that any kind of “sale & leaseback” operations that the firm may have been considering under the prism of reducing its financial commitments would be significantly less attractive.

Located in the Madrilenian neighbourhood of Las Tablas, District C opened its doors a decade ago, after Telefónica took the decision to bring together all of its employees in Madrid in a single headquarters. Previously, they had been distributed across around thirty buildings.

Although the option of building a skyscraper was initially proposed, in the end, a horizontal design was chosen by the architect Rafael de la Hoz, with independent, but perfectly connected buildings within a single district. From there emerged what is popularly known as District C – the Communications District – although its official name has been the Telefónica District for over six years.

The complex has a total constructed surface area of 370,000 m2 and more than half, 180,000 m2, corresponds to the 13 existing office buildings: four of those, located at the corners have ten storeys each; another four have four storeys; four more have three storeys, whilst the main building, in the centre, has a surface area of 16,480 m2.

In addition, District C has 20,000 m2 of space dedicated to all types of auxiliary services, from a children’s nursery to shops; 130,000 m2 of space comprising open areas and gardens; and 5,000 parking spaces.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake