Basque Gov’t Sells Listed Property in San Sebastián for €10.4M

27 December 2017 – El Diario Vasco

The auction of the building located on Plaza de Bilbao in Donostia will generate 48% more than the asking price for the Basque Government.

The former headquarters of the Chamber for Urban Property, which has not been used for six years, was sold by the Basque Government last week for €10.4 million in an auction process. The firm that has acquired the attractive property is a shell company headquartered in Madrid, which was constituted a month ago with the aim of acquiring and operating real estate properties and which will likely convert the building into homes.

The property is one of the three buildings whose curved façades give Plaza de Bilbao its shape. They were designed between 1901 and 1905 by Pedro Arístegui and Carlos Ibero as the finishing touch to the thoroughfare comprising Estación del Norte and the María Cristina bridge. Although the internal layouts of the three homes are different, the façades are the same and the Special Protection Plan for Constructed Urban Properties (Peppuc) protects them – they have been granted grade B status (…).

Ownership of the property was transferred from the (Spanish) State to the Basque Autonomous Community when it became the offices of the Chamber of Urban Property and, following the liquidation thereof in 2006, the building has been in disuse since 2011. The property comprises seven storeys (a ground floor, five normal floors and an attic) and has a surface area of 324 m2 per floor (except the attic, which is slightly smaller). A study performed by the Chamber of Urban Property at the time estimated its economic value at around €18 million.

The Treasury Department of the Basque Government decided to divest this property in light of the expenses that it was generating without any prospects for future use (…).

Seven companies submitted bids, after having deposited a guarantee of €350,347 (equivalent to 5% of the tender amount) and on Thursday last week the bid envelopes were opened and the sale was confirmed.

According to sources, the firm that has acquired the building is a shell company, headquartered in Madrid, and constituted on 21 November 2017, that goes by the name Boyton Invest S.L. (…). The price paid, €10,375,000, is 48.06% higher than the initial asking price (…).

Original story: El Diario Vasco (by Aingeru Munguía)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Wanda To Resume Renovation Of ‘Edificio España’

21 April 2016 – Expansión

The Town Hall of Madrid and Wanda wrote another chapter in their tug-of-war story that began back in July 2014, when the Chinese Group purchased Edificio España from Banco Santander for €265 million, with the aim of converting it into a luxury hotel, shopping centre and homes.

The main sticking point in the negotiations between Manuela Carmena’s town hall team and Dalian Wanda has centred around the Town Hall’s requirement to maintain the façade of the landmark building, an idea that Wanda opposes. The group has threatened to look for alternative solutions and even to abandon the project.

But now, it seems that Wanda has accepted Carmena’s conditions to go ahead with its plans. In the face of the uncertainties generated by the Chinese company’s position, the Town Hall of Madrid sent a letter to Michael Qiao, the CEO of the Asian Group, on 6 April, asking him to confirm the decision regarding their plans for the building within 15 days. The councillor for Sustainable Urban Development, José Manuel Calvo, announced yesterday that the Asian firm has responded to the letter indicating that it still intends to construct a hotel and that, following this confirmation, it expects the project to resume “shortly”. Nevertheless, Calvo was wary of discussing timeframes.

In parallel, the Chinese group still has a mandate with the consultancy firm JLL to sell the property and its efforts to find a potential buyer are on-going, according to sources close to the process.

Other interested parties

As part of this process, the US fund Hines and the Philippine Group Emperador have both expressed their interest in the property. JLL declined to make any comment about the matter. (…).

The councillor for Sustainable Urban Development confirmed that “there is no way” that the property “will be demolished”, although “it is perfectly reasonable for any one element that is in poor condition to be replaced”.

Calvo referred to the leaked letter and highlighted that it contained the urban planning rules and corresponding exceptions, but insisted that “no-one has had to resort to selling out or changing any laws”.

At the beginning of March, the multinational company confirmed to the mayoress that it intends to stay in Madrid and implement its plans for Edificio España, after weeks of speculation regarding the possible abandonment of the project, which were fuelled by the Chinese group’s decision to close its headquarters in Madrid.

At the beginning of the year, Wanda Madrid Development decided to close the office that it had opened in the Spanish capital to undertake the remodelling of the landmark building, which has been empty for years.

The Town Hall has always maintained that Wanda purchased the building knowing that the building was a partial level 3 listed property, due to its historical-artistic value, which prevents it from being knocked down.

The Local Historical Heritage Commission, in which the Community of Madrid and the Town Hall participate, agreed to relax the requirements to promote the sale of the building, which is very run down due to inactivity, provided the façade is respected.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Carmena: Town Hall In Talks With Wanda Over Edificio España

27 January 2016 – El Economista

At a press conference yesterday (Tuesday), the mayoress of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, announced that the Town Hall of Madrid has made “a new proposal” to Wanda regarding its Edificio España project…and she added that she does not expect the Chinese investor group to abandon the project, given that it is continuing to participate in negotiations. (…).

Representatives from the Town Hall of Madrid reportedly met with the Chinese investor group last week and the conversations are on-going. (…).

At no point has the possibility of demolishing the façade and rebuilding it brick by brick been entertained, given that it is something that is actually technically unfeasible. The solution involves aligning legal compliance and maintaining the protected features, with the transformation of building that Wanda wants to undertake. (…).

Lots of options

In light of the widespread media attention, Carmena said that “our conversations with the group are on-going” and she added that the Town Hall “is very interested in the fact that this group may construct a hotel in Plaza de España”. (…).

The delegation pointed out that the protected features are not determined by the Town Hall, but rather by the Local Heritage Committee, in which the Town Hall participates and which is chaired by the Community of Madrid, which holds the majority. At the time, thhat body ruled that “it was feasible to undertake the building work, whilst maintaining the protected features”, in other words, it ruled that the proposal to demolish the façade was not an option. (…).

José Manuel Calvo, from the Department for Sustainable Urban Planning, insisted that the project was progressing “as normal”, given that talks are on-going with the company, just as they are with other companies. This normality manifests itself by the fact that the Town Hall has already prepared the compulsory detailed study and that it will process the initial approval as soon as the investor group gives them the go ahead. The Town Hall “will be delighted” to proceed. Following that approval, construction work may begin within two or three months.

The representative of the Department for Sustainable Urban Planning added that if the construction work begins, the Town Hall reserves the right to “secure guarantees” from Wanda to ensure the progress of the work. (…).

Meanwhile, Manuela Carmena answered that “of course she was unable” to guarantee that the renovation of Edificio España would be completed before the end of her term in office because she doesn’t even know how long the construction work will take. (…).

When asked about whether the Town Hall would be more flexible in the face of the hypothetical exit of the investor, Carmena answered that the Town Hall “is not afraid”, but does have a “responsibility” to ensure that Madrid is a more “beautiful and prosperous” city. (…).

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake

Patrizia Buys “Plaza de Félix Sáenz” Retail Property In Málaga

6 August 2015 – Property Magazine

Patrizia Immobilien AG has taken over the retail space in the prestigious “Plaza de Félix Sáenz” residential and commercial building in Málaga. The listed corner building, which underwent a complete renovation as recently as 2011, is located in the middle of the pedestrian area of the Andalusian city, which has a population of around 570,000. “The retail space, totalling 1,824 square metres, is leased on a very long-term basis to a renowned European fashion retailer,” reports Borja Goday, Managing Director of Patrizia Activos Inmobiliarios España, the national subsidiary responsible for Spain and Portugal.

The interior of the “Plaza de Félix Sáenz” building has been developed to a high standard and also delivers a high degree of space efficiency. The total floor space of 1,824 square metres is divided approximately equally between the ground floor and the first floor. “This property is something special, as Spanish city centres are generally characterised by small spaces. Large spaces such as the one that has just been acquired are therefore in high demand with large chain store operators and accordingly are very lettable,” Goday continues. The purchase was made for a real estate fund launched by Patrizia as part of an individual mandate from a professional superannuation scheme in Germany. Confidentiality has been agreed with the seller, a private investor, in relation to the purchase price.

Patrizia has been monitoring the Spanish real estate market for a very long time now. In the last 12 months, the market has shown extremely positive development. After seven crisis years, the recovery is occurring more quickly than expected and the interest of many investors has returned.

Original story: Property Magazine

Translation: Carmel Drake