BNP Paribas: Office Rentals Soar in Barcelona during Q1 2019

23 May 2019 – La Vanguardia

The office market in Barcelona broke historical records in terms of space leased and rental prices during the first quarter of the year, according to a report from the consultancy firm BNP Paribas Real Estate.

According to the data, 152,300 m2 of office space was leased during Q1 2019, up by 65% with respect to the same period in 2018, boosted by a 60% increase in demand for large spaces (those measuring over 3,000 m2).

According to David Alonso, Head of Research at BNP, the office market in Barcelona was traditionally dominated by SMEs demanding spaces measuring less than 1,000 m2. Nevertheless, since 2015, that trend has changed with the arrival of technological companies requiring larger offices, and since 2017, with the entry of coworking companies – the latter leased 22% of the space let during Q1 2019.

As such, 91 new contracts were signed during the first quarter of 2019, with the 22@ district as the main driver, accounting for 30 of the operations and 40% (60,900 m2) of the space.

Nevertheless, the two largest operations were closed in more secondary areas: the rental of 18,000 m2 in Sant Joan Despí by Gallina Blanca and the rental of 17,209 m2 on Gran Vía in Barcelona by La Caixa.

All of this activity drove up rents with prices in prime areas, such as the best buildings on the upper end of La Diagonal, reaching €27/m2/month, and some operations even reaching €30/m2/month, whereby exceeding the maximum recorded in 2008 (€27.5/m2/month).

Original story: La Vanguardia (by Rosa Salvador)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Corestate Launches its Business Apartment Venture in Spain

28 March 2019 – Eje Prime

The Luxembourg-based fund manager Corestate has launched a business apartment venture, Joyn, aimed exclusively at executives travelling to other cities for a relatively long period of time.

The company plans to open three business apartment blocks in 2019, two in Madrid and one in Barcelona, with approximately 200 beds each. It is already searching for assets in key locations of each city, such as La Diagonal and 22@ in Barcelona and Las Tablas in Madrid.

The apartments will each have a small kitchen, study and living room. There will also be common areas in each building to encourage networking. The model has already proved successful in Munich, where Corestate has been operating two such properties since 2018.

In addition, the company’s agreement with Medici Living is starting to take shape – the intention is to close this year with 450 co-living beds in Spain.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Marta Casado Pla)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Savills & Aguirre Newman Complete Their Merger

3 January 2018 – Eje Prime

Without any fuss whatsoever, Savills and Aguirre Newman ended the year by completing their merger. On the last working day of the year, the British company announced to the London Stock Exchange that it had finally signed the agreement to buy the Spanish real estate consultancy. The company, which announced its intention to acquire the Madrid-headquartered business through the same channel on 28 July 2017, will pay €67 million by way of consideration.

According to the document that proves the purchase of Aguirre Newman, the British consultancy firm paid €42 million at the time of the signing and will pay the remaining balance in instalments of €5 million over the next five years, to reach the €25 million agreed between the two parties.

In theory, Savills had planned to complete the purchase before 30 November, however, administrative setbacks delayed the signing. Nevertheless, the company said that all of the paperwork was completed before the end of 2017 (…).

The need of both groups to sign their merger before the end of the year was also an administrative priority, given that they wanted to start the new year afresh to operate under the brand, Savills Aguirre Newman, from the beginning of 2018. Moreover, this change will result in a significant number of changes to its operations in Spain. The first will see it move to a new headquarters in the financial heart of Madrid.

The Spanish subsidiary of Savills has set the wheels in motion to move its offices to one of the capital’s main skyscrapers. After lots of negotiations, the new consultancy firm will move into the Castellana 81 building, better known as the Torre BBVA. The company will lease 8,000 m2 of space after reserving six floors in the building from the Socimi GMP, which owns the asset.

Built in 1981, Torre BBVA is one of the symbols of the Azca financial district in the Spanish capital. GMP renovated the asset after buying it and, coincidently, Aguirre Newman, along with CBRE, were appointed to look for new tenants for the building. The consultancy firm plans to move into its new offices as soon as the integration of the two companies has been formalised.

In terms of the business of the two consultancy firms in Barcelona, sources in the Catalan capital indicate that it is very likely (although not definite) that the Savills staff located in the Catalan capital will move to the offices that Aguirre Newman has on La Diagonal in Barcelona, given their location and capacity.

Another matter still up in the air is the duplication of the entire organisational structure of both companies. Savills’ intention is to maintain the entire workforce, although it is more than certain that many of the directors will leave the company voluntarily, according to sources consulted by Eje Prime.

The Presidents of Aguirre Newman, Santiago Aguirre and Stephen Newman, and the President of Savills España, Rafael Merry del Val, will be appointed to the Board of Directors of the combined company, in the following roles: Santiago Aguirre, Chairman of the Board; Stephen Newman and Rafael Merry del Val, Executive Co-Vice-presidents.

The senior management team of Aguirre Newman and Savills España will retain and include José Navarro, current CEO of Savills España; Javier Echeverría, CEO of Aguirre Newman; Jaime Pascual-Sanchiz, Executive Director General of Aguirre Newman, and Ángel Serrano, Director General of the Business at Aguirre Newman. The office in Barcelona is going to be led by Anna Gener and Arturo Díaz, as the CEO of Savills Aguirre Newman and President of the group in Barcelona, respectively. The real headache for Savills Aguirre Newman will come with the next level of management, although those roles will not be assigned for several weeks yet (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

MSG Buys Building On Paseo De Recoletos, 5 For €30M+

14 July 2017 – Expansión

The insurance company MGS has strengthened its real estate portfolio with the acquisition of an office building in Madrid.

According to sources close to the operation, the former Mutua General de Seguros has paid more than €30 million for the property, which is located at number 5 on Paseo de Recoletos, close to Plaza de Cibeles.

The building has been sold by a family group, whose identity has not been revealed. It has a surface area of 3,053 m2, spread over five open-plan floors, plus an attic with a terrace.

The property has been renovated recently and, according to MGS, combines classic architecture with the latest technological advances. Key features include its large entrance hall with high ceilings, amongst others.

Yesterday, the insurance company said that it placed value on the asset’s central location, which fits with MSG’s strategy, focused on acquiring high-quality assets in prime locations in Spain’s largest cities. At the same time, with this operation, the company, which is headquartered in Barcelona, is increasing its presence in the Spanish capital.


Also in Madrid, MGS is the owner of the building on Calle Alcalá 65, which houses the headquarters of the insurance company’s foundation organisation. In the Catalan capital, it owns the property at number 543 on La Diagonal, which is home to the company’s corporate headquarters.

Last year, MSG closed real estate investments amounting to €121.2 million. 53.5% of its assets are real estate properties for its own use, whilst 46.5% are buildings that it leases out.

Original story: Expansión (by J.O.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Cuatrecasas Buys Another Asset On La Diagonal For €7M

13 July 2017 – Eje Prime

Emilio Cuatrecasas is on a roll on Barcelona’s Avenida Diagonal. The lawyer’s family office, Emesa, has redoubled its commitment to the avenue with the acquisition of the headquarters of the Ophthalmology Institute for €7 million. This purchase follows its recent acquisition of 31,000 m2 of land in Project Finestrelles, located in Esplugues de Llobregat (Barcelona), where it plans to build six office blocks.

The building in question this time, which used to house the headquarters of Grand Tibidabo, has a surface area of 2,000 m2 and is located at number 632 on La Diagonal, at the intersection with c/Sarrià. The property has a long-term rental contract with the clinic, which currently belongs to the Quironsalud group.  The property used to be owned by the former owner of the Ophthalmology Institute in Barcelona, Andreu Coret, through the firm Inmo 632, according to Expansión.

In recent months, the investment arm of Emilio Cuatrecasas has made several acquisitions, including of number 444 on La Diagonal, for which it paid €35 million. That property, known as the Majorica building, has three façades overlooking La Diagonal, Paseo de Gràcia and Calle Còrsega, and until December last year, it housed the offices of the law firm Cuatrecasas.

Last summer, Emesa also completed the acquisition of a unique asset. The investor group purchased the Ullastrer Palace, in the Baix Empordà area, with the aim of promoting a premium hotel chain. The estate, known as Can Romaguera, is currently being restored and offers up to 2,500 m2 of space for hotel use, with an investment of €7 million.

The asset portfolio of Emesa, which is led by Ferran Forrellad, is completed by a building at number 191 on Avenida Diagonal, which houses the new headquarters of Cuatrecasas; number 579 on Avenida Diagonal, where Emesa’s headquarters of located; two office buildings in Mas Balu and a logistics park in El Pla de Santa María, in Tarragona.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Savills: Office Inv’t In Barcelona Exceeds Madrid For First Time Ever

25 April 2017 – La Vanguardia

Transactions in the Spanish office market amounted to almost €900 million during the first quarter of 2017, more than twice the figure recorded during the same period in 2016. Moreover, Barcelona exceeded Madrid in terms of investment, for the first time, with a differential of €50 million – investment in Barcelona amounted to €450 million – driven by the purchase of Torre Glòries, according to data from the real estate consultancy firm Savills.

Two mega-operations amounting to more than €100 million each boosted office investment during the first quarter, which represented 30% of the total figure recorded during the whole of 2016. Firstly, during the second week of January, Merlin Properties announced the purchase of Torre Glòries (Torre Agbar) for €142 million.

The second deal saw the sale of the so-called Boston portfolio, comprising 14 BBVA office buildings (eight in Barcelona, five in Madrid and one in Valencia), which were sold to Oaktree and Freo.

According to Savills, the operation involving Torre Glòries is one of the largest recorded in Barcelona in recent years, exceeded only by the €145 million that Deka spent in 2010 on the former headquarters of Caja Madrid on La Diagonal.

The fact that 20 of the 35 assets that changed hands during the quarter were located in Barcelona significantly increased the Catalan capital’s share of the national total. The city accounted for 52% of total investment, which allowed it to exceed Madrid for the first time in the historical series.

The volume of office investment in Barcelona amounted to almost €450 million, compared with €40 million during the same period in 2016. In Madrid, office investment exceeded €400 million, an amount that was distributed between thirteen assets. In interannual terms, the volume of investment in the capital increased by 60%. One of the major operations in Madrid was the sale of Barclays headquarters in Plaza de Colón, which was acquired by CBRE Global Investors for more than €55 million.

Original story: La Vanguardia

Translation: Carmel Drake

CBRE: A Third Of Barcelona’s New Homes In 2017 Will Be Luxury Properties

20 December 2016 – La Información

One third of the 764 new homes that are going to be built the city of Barcelona in 2017 will be luxury, according to data from the real estate consultancy CBRE, which reveals that most of the property development activity in the city will be centred around: El Eixample (439 homes), Sants-Montjüic (126) and Sant Martí (100). The consultancy also forecasts a gradual increase in prices.

The Director of the CBRE office in Barcelona, Anna Esteban (pictured above), explained at a press conference on Monday that the new luxury homes are not only being constructed in the upper area of the city, but also in the centre and along the sea front, in line with the significant demand from international investors.

The Vice President of CBRE in Spain, Enrique Martínez Lagun, noted that this demand for high standing homes is linked to the attraction of international companies, which consider that Barcelona offers a very good price-quality relationship.

Esteban revealed that “several large multinational companies will announce that they are moving some of their operations to Barcelona” in 2017, although she pointed out that they will have trouble finding the large spaces that they need. As such, she predicts that there will be some major renovation projects in the Catalan capital to meet demand, given that there are insufficient plots of land available to build from scratch.

The city is planning to build around 200,000 m2 of office space over the next few years, although 100,000 m2 of that space has already been committed to clients, which means that the other half is still available. The area that is expected to see the most significant growth is the 22@ district, where 65,000 m2 of space is under construction, one project is due to be started and four others are being assessed. The current stock of office space there is practically full and rents are similar to those charged in the city centre. (…).

Essential renovations along La Diagonal

Esteban also said that Paseo de Gràcia has lost 80,000 m2 of office space over the last few years, due to changes in the use of properties towards more profitable activities, such as retail, residential and hotels. She calculates that more than 60% of the office buildings on the Avenda Diagonal thoroughfare require major renovations to adapt them to current demand and ensure that they do not become obsolete. She also predicts that the Plaza Europa and Almeda Park area will see higher occupancy rates and rents once the 22@ area has become more established.

The lack of supply to meet the high demand for offices has meant that Barcelona has seen the highest increase in rental income in Spain in recent years, up by 21% since 2014. Rents are forecast to grow by a further 7% in 2017, making it the second European market in terms of forecast rental growth, behind Madrid.

For the Catalan logistics sector, CBRE forecasts a 5% increase in rents in 2017, following growth of 8% since 2014, making it the highest ranking European market in terms of rental growth in this segment. (…).

Original story: La Información

Translation: Carmel Drake

Aguirre Newman: RE Inv’t In Barcelona Amounts To €2,500M In 2016

19 December 2016 – La Vanguardia

The real estate market in Barcelona is on course to break records again this year. It is expected to end 2016 with total investment operations amounting to €2,500 million, compared with €1,978 million last year, according to data presented by the real estate consultant Aguirre Newman on Thursday.

2016 will also be a “historical” year for Spain as a whole, with investment figures once again exceeding the level recorded in 2007, the year before the outbreak of the crisis. Investment operations worth almost €14,000 million are forecast to be closed.

Cataluña accounts for 20% of Spain’s total investment in this sector, although that figure is set to increase to 25% in 2017, given the significant potential of Barcelona.

The Director General of Aguirre Newman in Barcelona, Anna Gener, explained that; demand in Barcelona is still very active; there is still a lack of available land for sale; international demand is very active; and the real estate market is regarded as an attractive sector for investment.

Of the total investment volume expected this year, €860 million correspond to offices, down by 2.8% compared to last year, given that 2015 was a year of “blossoming”, when several major corporate operations were recorded after years of crisis.

The residential market will reach €120 million this year, shopping centre investment will amount to €865 million, retail investment will reach €100 million and investment in the industrial sector will amount to €144.1 million, up by 61%, due to the scarcity of land.

Around 80% of the investment volume has been made by international buyers; and domestic investors “are back again” after years away, according to Hipólito Sánchez, Director of Investments.

57% of the investments were made by funds, 26% by Socimis, 10% by private equity firms, 3% by institutional investors and 2% by insurance companies.

The leasing of office space continues to be a very active market; the availability rate has been decreasing since 2012 and now stands at 9.9%.

Construction activity is continuing to recover, with a 40% increase in the number of new construction permits compared to 2016.

The average price of free (unsubsidised) housing increased by 9% in Barcelona this year and by 4.5% across Cataluña. There was also a great deal of interest in renovation projects and in changes of building use status towards high standing residential properties in the centre of Barcelona, where more than 60% of buyers are foreign. (…).

The retail sector has continued to receive interest from investment funds and private equity firms in the main areas of the centre of Barcelona.

La Diagonal has established itself as an area of expansion following its renovation, with a 30% increase in rental income in just two years and the opening of megastores by certain brands, such as Massimo Dutti, Zara, Uniqlo and H&M.

The most important operation in the shopping centre sector was the sale of Diagonal Mar to Deutsche Bank for €495 million.

Another sector that continued to attract investors was logistics, whose investment volume increased by 60% with respect to last year, due to the shortage of land. (…).

The hotel sector has also continued to perform very well, given that prices per room have increased, thanks in part to the fact that there are no new competitors.

The forecasts for 2017 indicate that the real estate sector will continue to attract international investors, demand will continue to be very active, and products will continue to be scarce, although prices are not predicted to rise by very much.

Original story: La Vanguardia

Translation: Carmel Drake

District 22@ Attracts 500 New Companies Each Year

18 August 2016 – Inmodiario

There are 8,300 companies operating in District 22@ (in Barcelona). Since 2012, 2,000 new companies and 12,000 jobs have been created, taking the total number of employees in the district to 95,000. The proliferation of companies is going hand in hand with an increase in the commercial sector, whose presence in the district is growing year after year and District 22@ looks set to become an extension of the main shopping areas in Barcelona.

In this sense, in just a few years, 22@ has become one of the most sought-after areas for the purchase of real estate assets to attract businesses and for the sale of land for offices. In fact, 20% of all of the space leased in the city is signed in this district. The area will become a natural extension of the first-class shopping and office districts over the next few years, such as the part of La Diagonal that adjoins el Ensanche, la Rambla de Catalunya and el Paseo de Gracia.

“District 22@ is going to play a fundamental role in the expansion of the commercial centre and powerhouse of the city towards the east. Its international prestige and potential for growth to create businesses has turned it into a “prime area” for setting up companies in Barcelona and the expansion of the main shopping areas to this part of the city”, said Miquel Laborde, founding partner at Laborde Marcet, a real estate and investment company.

Centre of attraction for large companies

One of the district’s primary assets is its ability to attract large companies. One out of every four operations signed in 22@ involves large offices. In fact, 23% of the operations signed in 2015 were for surface areas spanning more than 2,000 sqm. In this sense, although only 3% of the companies in the district have more than 50 employees, their staff account for 60% of the total workforce employed in 22@.

Hand in hand with the large companies come the opening of multiple secondary retail premises, which are expected to grow exponentially in number over the coming years. “There is money, business and almost 100,000 workers per day in the district and so companies have all of the factors in their favour to expand and consolidate successfully”, said Laborde.

District 22@ has confirmed itself to be a district for business and real estate expansion with considerable power to attract investment from domestic and overseas players. The high presence of international companies is also reflected in the workforce of the companies operating there, where 1 out of every 10 workers is foreign. In addition, 30% of the companies are export businesses and 40% of their sales come from overseas markets. By sector, companies linked to IT and communication are the most prolific, followed by companies in the energy and design sectors.

Original story: Inmodiario

Translation: Carmel Drake

A Revamp Of Avenida Diagonal Would Boost RE Inv’t

4 August 2016 – Mis Locales

With the debate raging over whether or not to reform Avenida Diagonal, between Paseo de Gracia and La Plaza de las Glorias, real estate investments are firmly under the spotlight. Following the approval of the proposal by the municipal council, planned for next summer, at a cost of around €11 million, the door has been opened to the extension of the prime area, currently centred around the commercial thoroughfares of Rambla de Catalunya and Paseo de Gracia, to other areas of the city centre.

The renovation includes increasing the width of the pavements by up to 40%, moving the tramlines to the middle of the avenue and restricting private traffic to just two lanes in each direction. Those are the main changes of the reform, which would generate 1,000 new jobs, 500 direct and another 500 indirect.

“The renovation of La Diagonal would turn it into one of the state of the art thoroughfares not just in Spain, but in Europe. Moreover, it would generate lots of business opportunities for an area that has historically been regarded as a transit route”, said Gerard Marcet, Founding Partner at Laborde Marcet. The renovation would give priority to citizens and would boost businesses in the area. On the stretch between Paseo de Gracia and Paseo San Juan alone, 100 premises are either vacant or in a precarious situation, which could see their fortunes turned around thanks to this refurbishment.

The project has been prepared on the basis of the city’s urban mobility plan, which forecasts a 20% reduction in private traffic by 2018, which would allow the space designated for bicycles and pedestrians to be increased, and the stretch of La Diagonal between Paseo de Gracia and La Plaza de las Glorias to be converted into a pedestrianized area. (…)

“Investing in La Diagonal means attracting investment and businesses from all over the world, as well as to another main focal point: Diagonal Mar”, said Marcet. The main commercial focus of attraction in the 22@ district has a surface area of 88,000 sqm, contains 200 shops, 40,000 employees and more than 4,800 parking spaces.

Companies such as Sara Lee, ADP, Henkel Ibérica, ISDIN, RBA, Microsoft Ibérica, Telefónica, Indra and Sanofi are some of the companies that are already located in the area.

Original story: Mis Locales

Translation: Carmel Drake