Nuveen Buys Amazon’s Logistics Warehouse in Bilbao for c. €17M

18 September 2019 – Idealista

Nuveen Real Estate (formerly TH Real Estate) has purchased the logistics warehouse that Amazon occupies 10km from the centre of Bilbao for almost €17 million, according to sources close to the operation. Until now, the warehouse had been owned by Vusa, the real estate group led by the heirs of Valeriano Urruticoechea.

The asset has a surface area of 9,000 m2 in total, of which 8,000 m2 is dedicated to storage and almost 1,000 m2 to offices. Amazon has signed a 21-year contract to occupy the property, of which 11 years are mandatory (until 2030).

Amazon started operating from the logistics facility in June. It is a modern platform in terms of its design and construction, suitable for cross-docking and with parking for small vans to serve the last mile distribution market.

This is the third logistics asset that Nuveen has purchased for its European Logistics platform in Spain. It acquired the other two in Madrid and Valencia in 2017.

Nuveen, which is led by Marta Cladera de Codina in Spain, is not only active in the logistics market. It also holds stakes in several shopping centres on the Iberian Peninsula, specifically, Islazul and 50% of Xanadú, as well as in retail parks, including Meixuerio in Vigo.

Nuveen Real Estate is one of the largest investment managers in the world with USD 130,000 million in assets under management.

Original story: Idealista – Custodio Pareja

Translated by: Aura Ree

Lidl Invested €110M Opening 29 Stores in Spain in 2017

11 January 2018 – Expansión

Lidl opened 29 new supermarkets in Spain in 2017, an expansion of the commercial network that involved investment of €110 million for the construction and fitting out of its new stores. Note, that figure excludes the disbursements made to lease or buy the land on which the premises were built.

The store openings were primarily carried out in areas where the German chain did not yet have a presence, although “some establishments were opened to replace others that already existed and that were either too small or that had been replaced by another store in a better location”. The new Lidl stores are the largest that the company has ever opened; they have an average retail space of around 1,400 m2.

The company has placed its focus on this expansion plan to enhance the space it dedicates to fresh produce, which now accounts for a third of its offer and which has become the main tool that the traditional distribution groups are using to deal with the threat from the purely online distribution groups.

Andalucía leads the ranking

By geographical region, the 29 inaugurations that Lidl undertook in 2017 were concentrated in Andalucía (6), the Community of Valencia and Cataluña (5 in both) and the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands and Madrid (3 in each). Above all, the chain bet on growing in coastal towns with significant tourist traffic. Nevertheless, Lidl also explored new locations, opening its first store in a shopping centre (in Islazul, Madrid).

The German firm has 540 stores and ten logistics platforms in Spain. Lidl closed its 2017 tax year in February. In 2016, it recorded turnover of €3.335 billion in the national market, up by 9.4%.

Original story: Expansión (by Victor M. Osorio)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Lidl Boosts its Real Estate Business with €300M Investment

27 December 2017 – El Economista

Lidl is strengthening its commitment to the real estate sector. The German supermarket chain is planning to invest around €300 million next year (2018) buying up land and stores on/in which to open new supermarkets. Contrary to what most of the distribution sector is doing (the majority of retailers are selling their properties and leasing stores instead so as to focus on their core retail businesses), the German giant is standing firm in its commitment to the real estate recovery in Spain and so will continue investing.

With a current network of 540 stores, the idea is to own the largest possible number of stores. The average sales area amounts to around 1,500 m2, and so Lidl is looking for spaces measuring between 4,000 m2 and 9,000 m2, to allow space for warehouses and parking.

“Although we haven’t set an exact figure yet, the idea is to maintain the same rate of store openings as this year (2017), which means that we would open between 30 and 40 establishments in 2018”, explain sources at the company. Lidl arrived in Spain in 1994 and closed 2016 with a turnover of more than €3.335 billion, which represented an increase of 9.5% compared to the previous year. The company has also consolidated its position as the fifth largest operator in the sector with a market share of 4.3%, behind only Mercadona, Dia, Carrefour and Eroski, according to the latest market research published by the consultancy firm Kantar Worldpanel.

Presence at real estate fairs

Loyal to its real estate strategy, Lidl has already attended the recent exhibitions of the Barcelona Meeting Point fair to search for business opportunities. Moreover, it has decided to diversify its store opening strategy and enter, for example, traditional food markets (‘mercados de abastos’) and shopping centres.

In the case of the first, the German company has committed to opening stores in Barcelona, in the Sant Antoni and Vall d’Hebrón markets, and in Madrid, in the Tetuán market, in a strategy similar to the one being carried out by Mercadona. In the case of shopping centres, it has already opened its first store in this type of space in Islazul, in Madrid. Moreover, as well as new stores, Lidl is also making very significant investments in improving and modernising its existing stores.

Original story: El Economista (by Javier Romera)

Translation: Carmel Drake

TH Real Estate Buys Hypermarket To Take Over 100% Of Islazul

19 July 2017 – Eje Prime

TH Real Estate has completed the acquisition of a hypermarket located in the Islazul shopping centre from the French chain E. Leclerc. The operation includes the refinancing of the Iszazul shopping centre, which was acquired by TH Real Estate in 2014, in such a way that the firm will now manage the whole centre. The amount of the operation has not been disclosed.

With a constructed surface area of 260,000 m2, Isazul has a gross leasable area of 90,000 m2, which makes it the largest shopping centre in the city of Madrid.

This acquisition will add 19,327 m2 of additional space for new operators, whereby increasing the offer available at the shopping centre, which already receives more than 12 million visitors per year on average.

The commercial mix, which accounts for 40% of the centre, is comprised almost in its entirety by the fashion segment, whilst the leisure and restaurant facilities occupy 27% and the hypermarket accounts for 21%. The rest of the space corresponds to other segments, such as services and equipment for the home. In addition, the shopping centre has 4,100 parking spaces.

The company, which has just acquired 50% of Madrid’s Xanadú shopping centre, will start new expansion projects for assets in its Iberian Peninsula portfolio this year. The group will invest €60 million on the expansion of its Norte Shopping retail complex, located in Portugal.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

TH Real Estate Sells L’Aljub Shopping Centre For €100M+

13 May 2016 – Mis Locales

According to El Confidencial, the fund manager TH Real Estate has sold the L’Aljub shopping centre, located in the Alicante town of Elche, for more than €100 million. In addition, the firm has purchased a shopping centre in Bolonia, Italy, through its European Cities Fund, which represents the first acquisition by the fund that aims to secure financing amounting to €3,000 million – €3,500 million over the next five years.

The operator has taken the decision to sell off L’Aljub as part of a divestment strategy that will involve the sale of other assets all over Europe. TH Real Estate made its first investment in the Alicante shopping centre in 2007, although it did not complete its acquisition until 2014.

In Spain, TH Real Estate manages the following shopping centes: Bulevar (Getafe), Mexueiro (Vigo), Islazul (Madrid), Vialia (Málaga), Miramar (Fuengirola), Nervión (Sevilla), as well as Norteshopping (in Porto-Portugal). It also manages the Alovera Industrial Park (Guadalajara).

Original story: Mis Locales

Translation: Carmel Drake

TH Real Estate Offers €450M For Diagonal Mar

14 June 2016 – Expansión

The owner of the shopping centre Diagonal Mar, the British fund Northwood, has received a binding offer amounting to €450 million from TH Real Estate. This amount almost triples the €160 million that Northwood paid for the Barcelona-based shopping centre in 2013.

It is not the only offer that has been presented, given that TH Real Estate’s proposal was accompanied by two others from funds whose name has not been revealed. The sale of the asset is being brokered by the consultancy firm CBRE, which has declined to comment on the deal, along with TH Real Estate.

Diagonal Mar is the largest shopping centre in Cataluña, with a surface area of 87,500 sqm. Nevertheless, not all of the property is up for sale, given that 27,000 sqm are owned by Alcampo (which will hold onto its space).

Northwood acquired the centre at the worst time of the crisis, in 2013, from the Irish bad bank, which means that it could end up generating capital gains of €290 million in less than three years.

The investor

TH Real Estate is owned by the financial services provider TIAA. The origin of the company dates back to the London-based real estate manager, Henderson Real Estate, which was absorbed by the US group TIAA in 2014 to create TH Real Estate, which is also headquartered in the USA.

TH Real Estate manages real estate assets all over the world, covering 26,800 sqm, for around 50 investment funds and other operating mandates.

As well as TIAA’s assets in the USA, this platform integrates properties worth €83,900 million in total, which makes it one of the largest property managers in the world.

In Spain, TH Real Estate owns several shopping centres, including Islazul, in Madrid, measuring 90,000 sqm; Nervión in Sevilla, measuring 25,000 sqm; and Bulevar Getafe in Madrid, measuring 27,150 sqm. It also owns an industrial park in Alovera (Guadalajara) measuring 42,000 sqm.

The company has been present in Spain since 2007 and its Madrilenian headquarters is headed up by Manuel Martín. In recent years, as well as investments in operating assets, TH Real Estate has also undertaken co-investment projects, such as in the case of the Viladecans outlet (in Barcelona), where it joined forces with Neinver.

Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés)

Translation: Carmel Drake

YTD Sep 15: Investors Spend €2,500M On Shopping Centres

5 October 2015 – Expansión

Retail assets are maintaining their hegemony as the property kings in Spain, channelling the majority of the investments made during the first nine months of the year in our country. Shopping centres and retail parks are proving to be the most sought-after assets by international investors. Moreover, autonomous regions such as País Vasco, are being forced to make their commercial legislation more flexible following an order by the Supreme Court; and this is generating high expectations in the sector.

In this context, we saw the Socimi Merlin Properties’ acquire 50% of the Arturo Soria Plaza shopping centre last week. The price exceeded €30 million and experts have not ruled out the possibility that the company, led by Ismael Clemente, could end up buying the remaining 50% from Acciona.

The furore over shopping centres began in 2014, with a record investment figure of €2,926 million, compared with €451 million in 2013 and just €30 million in 2012. The figure in 2014 even exceeded the volume reached at the height of the boom, given that in 2006, at the height of the rise of the real estate sector and the development of this kind of property in Spain, total investment amounted to €2,898 million, according to the real estate consultancy Knight Frank.

In this way, the Spanish market was the fourth most preferred country for investors in shopping centres and retail parks in Europe last year. 28 shopping centres changed hands out of the total stock of more than 680 in the country.

The largest shopping centre operations in 2014 included: the sale of Marineda, in A Coruña, to Merlin Properties for €260 million; and the sale of Islazul, in Madrid, to Tiaa Henderson for €232 million. (…).

Record operation

This year, the largest operation has been the sale of Plenilunio. The French shopping centre specialist, Klépierre, paid the US fund Orion €375 million for the Madrilenian centre. And Klépierre’s appetite for the Spanish market does not end there. The French company is looking to invest up to €400 million more…and already owns 19 properties across the country, including Plenilunio. (…).

Investors are backing this kind of asset, attracted by the reactivation of the Spanish economy and the recovery in consumption, which is already being felt in shopping centres. Last week, the Bank of Spain revealed that GDP increased by 0.8% between July and September. The organisation, led by Luis María Linde, expects the economy to grow by 3.1% in 2015. (…).

On the buy-side, the large Socimis have also starred in many of the largest shopping centre purchases. Lar España, Axiare and Merlin have all closed operations involving this kind of property in recent months. One example is Lar España’s recent acquisitions, which it completed following its €140 million capital increase – it purchased the El Rosal shopping centre, in Ponferrada (León) this summer for €87.5 million; it also bought the Megapark Barakaldo retail park and outlet centre, for €170 million. A few months earlier, it paid €67.5 million for the As Termas centre in Lugo.

And 2015 is proving equally as important. Between January and September, investors spent €2,588 million buying commercial assets (mainly shopping centres, but also high street premises and supermarkets) in Spain, an increase of 42% compared with last year. According to David Méndez, Retail Analyst at JLL, “Investors are looking for prime shopping centres, with gross leasable areas (GLA) of more than 40,000 m2 and a varied supply of reputable tenants”. (…).

“We expect total investment in the segment to exceed €3,000 million by the end of 2015, but it is still too early to say whether the figure will exceed the volume reached in 2014 (€3,344 million)”, said David Méndez, from JLL.

New legislation in País Vasco

Meanwhile, some operators are rubbing their hands after the Supreme Court adopted a decision last week to overthrow legislation introduced by the Basque government in 2009 imposing restrictions on shopping centres, whereby their sales area cannot exceed 25,000 m2. This veto by the Basque Executive sought to encourage small businesses and meant that the autonomous region’s legislation was one of the most restrictive in Spain regarding large stores, together with Cataluña and the Balearic Islands.

The Supreme Court was addressing a request made by Unibail Rodamco, which had come up against the Basque government in the courts over its intention to expand the Garbera shopping centre in Guipúzcoa. The high court maintained that the Basque legislation violates a European directive. Experts in the sector agree that this could result in an about turn in the market, with more investments forecast.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Ruiz and G. Martínez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Who Are The New Advisors In The RE Sector?

8 June 2015 – Expansión

The ‘big four’ audit firms and the investment banks are starting to advise on deals in the property sector, where specialist firms, such as Aguirre Newman, CBRE, JLL and Knight Frank, have been operating for more than 30 years.

Specialisation versus multi-disciplinary teams. The real estate investment boom in Spain is attracting both specialist consultancy firms and new players from the world of audit and banking. All of them are competing to advise on the major property transactions, both on the purchase and sale of companies, as well as of individual assets. This market saw investments reach €2,500 million during Q1 2015.

The large specialist consultancy firms arrived in Spain three decades ago. Having established themselves in the Anglo-Saxon markets, they were looking for other markets to advise companies and investors in their search for properties and land.

Such was the case of Jones Lang LaSalle (now JLL), Richard Ellis (now CBRE) and Knight Frank, which still lead the market for consultancy and transaction advice, together with a Spanish company: Aguirre Newman. The latter, created by Santiago Aguirre and Stephen Newman, is the only Spanish firm that competes with the multi-nationals to advise on large transactions.

Besides these four large firms, there are other international companies such as BNP Paribas Real Estate, previously known as Atisreal, Savills, Catella and the US firm Cushman & Wakefield.

(…)

Now, the RE teams from the large auditors – known as the big four – are entering the market. They have strengthened their teams in recent months, hiring staff from the real estate consultancies, and are taking advantage of the synergies they can offer with other departments (legal, tax, financing) to secure advisory contracts….Many international investors prefer this one-stop-shop model, especially when they are in a hurry to close a deal.

(…)

In this way, PwC has just advised on one of the largest transactions in the RE sector, the sale of the Ritz Hotel in Madrid (pictured above). PwC acted on the buy-side, advising Mandarin Oriental, whilst the vendors – Omega Capital (Alicia Koplowitz’s investment company) and Belmond (formerly Orient-Express) – worked with JLL. PwC has also advised on other recent transactions, such as the sale of the Plenilunio shopping centre to Klepierre.

Meanwhile, Deloitte Real Estate advised the US fund Tiaa Henderson on its purchase of the Islazul shopping centre in Madrid for €230 million, as well as on the sale of a batch of office buildings to the largest Socimi in the market, Merlin Properties. KPMG’s RE team is working with Credit Suisse to jointly advise Bankia on the sale of its Big Bang portfolio, the largest RE asset portfolio seen to date. It also advised Cerberus Capital and Orion Capital Management of their purchase of 97% of Sotogrande, amongst others.

The investment banks are also competing well with the consultancy firms and the big four, especially on the larger deals. They tend to receive buy-side or sell-side mandates for individual buildings and companies with asset portfolios.

In this way, N+1 is currently working with Popular on the sale of a RE portfolio, known as Project Elcano, worth €415 million. It is also working with Sareb on the disposal of part of the Polaris World portfolio.

Nevertheless, although there may be cases in which an investment bank works by itself on a RE transaction, the work performed by the large firms and the consultancies is usually complementary. The banks provide the financing and structuring advice; the RE consultancies value the assets.

(…)

Original story: Expansión (by G. Martínez, D. Badía and R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Klépierre, Invesco And TH Offer €350m For Plenilunio

19 January 2015 – Expansión

The home straight/ Orion receives three binding offers for the Plenilunio Retail Park. Unibail Rodamco withdraws from the process.

The sales process for one of the largest shopping centres in Madrid is in its final stages with three finalists. The French company Klépierre and the funds Tiaa Henderson (TH) and Invesco have all submitted binding offers for the property.

Invesco is the latest candidate to join the bid for the centre; the French-Dutch group Unibail Rodamco has withdrawn from the process. The shopping centre operator had expressed interest in acquiring Plenilunio to create a Golden Triangle in Madrid, as the owner of three landmark properties: La Vaguada, ParqueSur and through this transaction, Plenilunio. However, the high price offered by its competitors has put pay to Unibail Rodamco’s aspirations, explain industry sources. The British real estate company Grosvenor has also expressed interest in the centre, according to real estate sources.

Thus, TH – which bid alongside a sovereign fund -, Invesco and Klépierre would all be willing to pay €350 million for this property, which occupies a surface area of 220,000 square metres. Plenilunio has 70,000 square metres of retail space (GLA), distributed over three floors, plus 2,500 parking spaces, according to the Spanish Association of Shopping Centres. The property, which has an occupancy rate of almost 98%, generates annual rental income of €20 million.

Upon receipt of the binding offers, the current owner, the US fund Orion, must choose whether to negotiate with a single finalist or to conduct a final competition with two of the finalists. It is expected to take this decision quickly as it aims to close the sale during the first quarter of 2015, as revealed by Expansión on 17 December.

Plenilunio, which opened in May 2006, was developed by the Spanish real estate firm Riofisa (acquired soon after by Colonial). Before its opening, Banco Santander bought the property for €275 million, and then sold it onto Orion for €235 million in 2009.

The US fund controls the property through its company Orion Columba which adopted a Socimi structure in September 2013. The sale of Plenilunio is the second large divestment that Orion has undertaken in Spain in recent months – it closed the sale of the Puerto Venecia shopping centre in Zaragoza at the end of 2014. The property, the largest in Spain, was acquired by the British real estate company, Intu Properties for €451 million. In October 2013, Orion paid €144.5 million for the 50% of the centre that it did not already own.

Plenilunio is one of 80 shopping centres expected to change hands over the next few months in Spain, according to Deloitte Real Estate. In 2014, more than €2,100 million was invested in shopping centres across the country, driven by the sale of Marineda in La Coruña for €260 million and Islazul in Madrid for €232 million.

Original story: Expansión (Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake