IHP to Build Lanzarote’s Largest Ever Resort

8 January 2018 – IHP Group

International Hospitality Projects (IHP) has recently won an international competition convened by YUDAYA, the parent company of the Hermanos Dominguez enterprise group, to design and construct a Luxury Hotel and Shopping Centre next to Marina Rubicón leisure port, in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote. The hotel will be managed by Barceló H&R under the name Barceló Costa Papagayo.

The key factor in determining the winner of the competition was IHP’s extensive experience in the construction and design of hotels and resorts of different kinds and sizes, as well as its resources and capabilities to carry out the required services successfully.

IHP will provide architecture, engineering and interior design technical services, and will also Project Manage the development, whereby overseeing the hotel and retail project from start to finish, including its legalization and inauguration.

This is a unique project that reflects the architectural tradition of Lanzarote, with an investment of €92M over 3 years to build a construction spanning 100,000 m2 that will accommodate a 720 room-resort and an open-air shopping mall. The hotel will offer 13 different food and beverage spots, a 2,000 m2 convention centre, a 2,000 m2 entertainment theatre, a disco, a SPA and almost 10,000 m2 of swimming pool areas (including the largest pool in Lanzarote). In addition, the Resort will include a Premium area comprising 130 rooms and top range services (…).

Original story: IHP Group 

Edited by: Carmel Drake

British Groups Invest Heavily In Spain’s RE Sector

9 May 2017 – Expansión

The Grosvenor group is embarking on its first residential project in Spain, developing luxury homes in Madrid. It is following in the footsteps of other compatriot companies such as Intu, Taylor Wimpey and Benson Elliot.

One of the latest real estate companies to show its commitment to Spain has a history that spans 340 years. The firm in question is Grosvenor, the centuries-old British firm, which closed its first investment in the Spanish residential sector about two months ago.

The project chosen by Grosvenor for its arrival in Spain is a luxury residential development on the Golden Mile of Madrid. To this end, Grosvenor, through its subsidiary Grosvenor Europe, completed the purchase of a plot of land measuring around 820 m2, located at number 53 on Calle Jorge Juan, for the development of six exclusive apartments and one penthouse with views over the Retiro Park. (…).

Grosvenor’s operation on Jorge Juan forms part of a joint venture signed by the Asian firm Amcorp in July 2016, whereby it undertook to invest €70 million during the first phase. “We hope to build a significant real estate portfolio in Spain during 2017”, said sources at the British group, which was founded in 1677 by Sir Thomas Grosvenor, and which is nowadays one of the largest landowners in the United Kingdom.

In light of this commitment to Spain, Grosvenor, which has four divisions through which it operates in Europe, Asia, America and the United Kingdom, has strengthened its office in Madrid, led by Fátima Sáez del Cano, by hiring Miguel Silmi, who formerly served in interim roles at firms such as Altamira, owned by Banco Santander. (…).


Grosvenor’s commitment to Spain is not a unique case amongst the large British groups. “Investors from the United Kingdom have always liked the Spanish real estate market and they have invested throughout the economic cycle. For example, Heron International, which is known today for the shopping centres that it built in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia, used to hold a significant portfolio of office buildings in Madrid, in the 1990s”, said Javier García-Mateo, Partner in Financial Advisory at Deloitte. (…).

Meanwhile, Benson Elliot has been present since 2011. That fund has just closed the purchase of the Hotel Silken Diagonal, together with the joint venture between Walton Street and Highgate. Previously, BE had purchased two other assets in Barcelona, which it has now sold. “Another British firm, London Regional, has purchased hotels and offices in Spain and has also taken advantage of the cycle to sell them at a profit”, said Rafael Bou, Partner in Real Estate at PwC.

“Having invested more than €2,147 million since 2011, British funds are the second most significant international investor in the Spanish real estate market, after the United States (…)”, according to Savills. During the first quarter of 2017, British firms have already made real estate purchases amounting to €550 million, according to Deloitte.

One example of this commitment is the return of British Land to Spain, which last year purchased the Nueva Condomina shopping centre in Murcia, and the more than €120 million that has been invested by the UK & European Investment group in operations in Madrid, Barcelona and Marbella. (…).

In addition to real estate companies and investment funds, some of the large British insurance companies are also placing their focus on the Spanish real estate sector, such as the case of Prudential and Aviva, which just closed the purchase of the Tormes shopping centre in Salamanca.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

La Zagaleta’s Owners To Build Luxury Homes For Millennials

30 April 2017 – Expansión

Located in the municipality of Castellar, in Cádiz, alongside the exclusive urbanisations of Sotogrande and Valderrama, the latest estate in the area is awaiting approval from the Town Hall to become a modern and luxurious residential resort. The site will also include a first-rate golf course and a five-star hotel. The project in question is Valderrama 2, an estate with a surface area spanning 220 hectares, which was acquired by the company La Zagaleta Limited last year.

The firm, which is headquartered in London and which owns another luxury residential development, known as La Zagaleta, purchased the Valderrama group, the company that owns this plot, as well as a golf course of the same name, regarded as the best in Spain and one of the best in the world, in an operation worth €40 million (…) in December 2015 (…).

The new project from the owners of La Zagaleta, considered the most luxurious urbanisation in Europe and located in the Malagan municipality of Benahavís, will also be for millionaires, but with certain differences. “In La Zagaleta, there are two lines: one with homes worth between €5 million and €8 million and the other with homes worth more than €11 million, which is the line we are promoting. Valderrama 2 is a different concept, its homes are worth between €3 million and €5 million, which buyers can easily finance if they want”, said Ignacio Pérez, Director of Business Development at La Zagaleta.

An integrated resort

Similarly, the new development, which will have a maximum of 200 homes, with plots of between 2,000 m2 and 3,000 m2, will be targeting a different public to La Zagaleta. (…). “The idea is to build homes without fences, like in Los Angeles or Florida, where you can see without being seen, which will incorporate the latest developments to meet the demands of the millennials”, he added. The objective of La Zagaleta is to sell these homes in advance so that its clients can personalise them during their construction. (…).

La Zagaleta expects construction to begin within three years. (…).

In total, the group expects to invest €200 million of its own funds developing the urbanisation over a ten year period, although that figure could rise to more than €400 million. “We will get on with building the homes, at a rate of around 20 per year, for example. The logical thing is to finance them over the long term so that buyers can easily subrogate those loans and purchase the properties using minimal own funds”.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Puerto Banús Sale Runs Into Difficulties

4 May 2016 – El Confidencial

Puerto Banús (Marbella) has always been a clear object of desire. Its name is associated with glamour, parties and luxury. And it has been up for sale for several months now. The company behind this leisure and port complex in Marbella wants to generate cash. But the death of Alberto Vidiella, the Chairman of Puerto Banús, in February is making the sales process more complicated. The death of Vidiella and the harsh conditions imposed by the Andalucían Government are making the sale of the company to a Swiss/Chinese consortium, led by Credit Suisse, more difficult and theirs is the only firm offer that the company has received to date.

Several auditors analysed the balance sheet of Puerto Banús at the end of 2015. No price has been set yet, but experts in the sector calculate that the cost of the company will not exceed €100 million. (…). Is the Wanda Group behind the Swiss/Chinese consortium? The owners deny any conversations with the Asian corporate giant. (…). But according to real estate sources in Madrid, Wanda would be willing to pay up to €250 million for the company. (…).

Meanwhile, Wanda could be behind the purchase of the iconic Marbella Club Hotel, according to the ABC newspaper in Sevilla. However, an official spokesman for the luxury tourist complex denied that claim to this newspaper. “There is nothing in it. We have invested a lot of money in the hotel in recent years and there are always rumours. But we are not for sale”, said Rudolf Graf von Schönburg, advisor to the complex. (…).

The Andalucían Government is aware of the offer from the Swiss group. The Public Agency for Ports in Andalucía, led by Alfonso Rodrígeuz Gómez de Celis, confirmed to this newspaper that it received a letter on 29 January, from an international consortium interested in finding out more about the conditions for a possible expansion (of the marina) into the open sea and extensions of the concession term. The regional government is not responsible for either matter; the State is. (…).

For the time being, no other offers have been received for Puerto Banús, although conversations and interest from other overseas investors, above all high profile British and German funds, are continuing in a steady trickle (…).

One of the main problems facing all of the parties interested in buying Puerto Banús are the intentions of the Regional Government to not allow the construction of any hotels or shopping centres on the site in the future. The plans only include an increase in the number of berths, by 450, worth at least €75 million. (…).

Original story: El Confidencial (by Agustín Rivera)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Large Chinese Investors Pounce On Spanish Hotel Sector

27 April 2015 – Expansión

The Asian giant is taking centre stage / Since HNA acquired shares in NH, interest from Chinese investors looking to buy hotels in Spain and forge alliances with chains such as Melia and Barceló has skyrocketed.

The Spanish tourism sector has sparked significant interest amongst Chinese investors. Since HNA knocked on NH’s door for the first time in 2011, interest in investing in Spain has been unleashed. In recent years, hotel purchases by Chinese investors and alliances between Asian groups and major Spanish (hotel) chains, such as NH, Melia and Barceló, have exploded, as all parties look to explore opportunities in Europe and Asia.

In the past two years, China has invested more than €870 million in Spanish hotels and chains. Of that amount, €420 million relates to the funds disbursed by HNA to become the major shareholder of NH. The industrial conglomerate paid €234 million for a 20% stake in 2013 and last year, it purchased the shares owned by Amancio Ortega, owner of the textile empire Inditex, and Intesa Sanpaolo.

Furthermore, in 2014, Chinese investors signed five transactions to purchase hotel assets, including the deal between Barceló and Kangde for the Hotel Santiago in Tenerife (pictured above), which was agreed at the end of last year and signed in 2015.


Out of all of these deals, the one that attracted the most media interest was Dalian Wanda’s purchase of Edificio España (Madrid) for €265 million. The intention of Wang Jianlin, who owns Wanda, is to create a residential, retail and luxury hotel complex. However, for the time being, Jianlin is focusing on the five-star hotel that he is preparing (to open) in London, where he will launch his Wanda brand in Europe.

Platinum Estates, the group led by the textile businessman Harry Mohinani and headquartered in Hong Kong, has closed two deals on a smaller scale. In February 2014, Platinum acquired the Estel building, in Barcelona (Telefónica’s former headquarters) for €56 million. In the autumn, it purchased Hotel Asturias (Madrid), near Gran Vía, from the Salazar family for €35 million.

The company plans to convert both properties into luxury apartments. According to experts in the sector, that is one of the keys to explaining the Asian interest in Spain, where foreign citizens are required to invest €500,000 in a residential asset to obtain a (resident’s) visa (known as the golden visa). Other factors include the measures promoted by the Chinese government to encourage investment overseas and the revaluation of the Yuan against the euro. Sources in the sector confirm that interest from Asian investors has increased, but they say that they do not seem to follow any particular investment pattern, and that, to date, they have focused on individual assets. Despite all of this, the large consultancy firms in the sector are optimistic about the potential of the Asian market – they have already recruited Chinese employees and are now preparing tours around the country to bring the two markets closer.

That is another one of the advantages that the alliances with Chinese groups offer the Spanish hotel chains. For example, NH will enter the (Chinese) market hand in hand with HNA. Both have created a joint company, with a Chinese majority, which will begin operating in 2015, when NH takes over the management of 6 of HNA’s hotels. In the case of Melia, the chain operates two hotels owned by its partner Greenland in China, and in 2014, it teamed up with the travel group Ctrip.

Original story: Expansión (by Yovanna Blanco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Wanda, Four Seasons to Bring Super Luxury to Madrid

13/01/2014 – El Economista

Two new hotels, one belonging to Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin and his Wanda group which is set to open its doors inside the iconic Edificio España building (pictured on the right), and the other, to be occupied by Four Seasons, to open in the so-called Canalejas triangle, will foreseebly offer the first apartments having access to top-end hotel amenities.

Potential buyers of the flats must obviously have a great purchasing power. Normally, they would be businessmen seeking second residences providing them with privacy and, at the same time, exclusive hotel services.

In addition, an owner of such an apartment could ask for preparing the dwelling for their arrival at the city or doing some necessary fittings and fixtures.

The Mixed Use

This kind of property model has been already pursued in the past but finally it didn’t pan out. In 2007, Portugese family Queiroz Pereira, the owners of the Ritz in Lisboa or the Hotel Villamagna in Madrid, reduced the number of keys to 110 and turned the rest of the rooms into luxury apartments, aiming at intending 100% of the available space for them. Though, in the end, they only renovated the property and stood by the traditional use of the property.

“Right now, none of the establishments combines a luxury hotel with high-end dwelling units, like in other cities. In Madrid, we only find commercial properties of mixed use, such as one of the Cuatro Torres standing out in the skyline of the northern part of the capital. Owned by Sacyr, the skyscraper houses a five-star Hotel Eurostar Madrid Tower, while the rest of the building is leased to consulting firm PwC ”, explained Patricio Palomar, Alternative Investment head at CBRE.


Original story: El Economista (by Virginia Martinez & Alba Brualla)

Translation: AURA REE

Andratx Makes Its Way Into Luxury Residential Ranking

30/12/2014 – Cinco Días

The German realtor Engel & Völkers, a leading upmarket player, has just produced the first ranking of the most exclusive areas to buy property in the world. To work out such a ranking, the realtor has considered the most expensive real estate transactions that have taken place in recent months, as well as various market analysis reports.

The Mallorcan port of Andratx is placed at No. 19, the only one representing Spain on the list of 25 most exclusive enclaves to reside in, as it records transactions in which the price per square meter can reach up to 27,000 euros.

But what is it about these residential areas that makes them classified as premium by the experts?

Experts from Engel & Völkers explain that neither the economic situation in the host country of purchase nor housing investment is are defining here, since “international demand for this kind of property is very high”. International buyers value other features such as unique locations, dwellings equipped with all luxuries and amenities, great services available as well as breathtaking views, among other aspects. “Ever more investors, especially from Eastern Europe, Asia and South America are considering the purchase of luxury properties as a safe investment,” states Christian Völkers, president and CEO of the company.

The Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat peninsula, amidst the French Riviera, tops the list of the 25 most exclusive areas in the world to buy a home. It is followed no less sophisticated wealth enclaves such as Hong Kong, East Hampton, and the most upscale neighborhoods of London and New York. In fact, a villa on the Claude Vignon Ave. of that French town recently reached a sale price of about 120 million euros. It has an area of 600 square meters, which translates into a price of 200,000 euros per square meter, the highest recorded in an transaction by Engel & Völkers.

Hong Kong ranks second, after the penthouses for sale in the elitist Twelve Peaks building in the upper-class Victoria`s Peak district reached 82.3 million euros, equivalent to no less than 190,000 euros per square meter.

Tight Supply

The third place on the luxury podium goes to East Hampton, located on the eastern-most end of Long Island, New York. A sale of an exclusive property whose generous land lot featured a private lake has been recently closed. The price per square meter was 168,600 euros and the villa was sold at 118 million. In the luxury market, as in other markets, prices increase further when the supply is limited.

As Völkers points out, “The critical factor in the case of high-end properties is always the micro-location, which may even be the right side of a street or one featuring unforgetable views. Furthermore, residences in these places hardly change ownership.” This means that when demand is strong, prices soar, suggest other consulted experts.

Monaco, Sardinia, Cannes,Gstaad, Geneva, Paris, Saint Moritz, Zurich and Vienna, typical for such classifications, are other locations that slip onto the list of the 25 most exclusive areas. Germany has managed to get cities like Munich, Hamburg and Berlin on the elite list thanks to high prices being recorded in some transactions from their new development projects.

London and New York are also regular names on these rankings. In fact, a two-story penthouse located in London’s One Hyde Park complex in Knightsbridge, was sold for 150,000 euros per square meter. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, apartments surrounding Central Park, New York, are often a traditional target purchase. On 59th and Fifth Avenue, penthouses have been purchased for 120,600 euros per square meter — something very few can afford.

New areas join the more traditional ones

The U.S.: There are prime locations like Greenwich, Connecticut; Palm Beach, Florida and Los Angeles, where Holmby Hills, Bel Air and Beverly Hills form the traditional “Platinum Triangle”.

Russia: Moscow ranks 12th thanks to transactions in its exclusive Kropotkinskaya district.

Asia: Singapore and Tokyo occupy positions 13 and 14 thanks to the upward trend registered in sales of luxury homes in their skyscrapers.

Original article: Cinco Días (by Raquel Díaz Guijarro)

Translation: Aura REE

Old Winterthur Premises to House Spain’s Most Expensive Apartments

2/12/2014 – Expansion

A house on each floor. This is the future of the old headquarters of Winterthur insurance firm at the Plaza Francesc Macià square in Barcelona. After more than ten years of standing empty, the property will become the most exclusive residential unit of Spain.

In contrast to other high-end housing developments, only one-third of it will be intended for dwellings, while the rest for common areas, such as a 25-meter long swimming pool, a gym with a spa and a sauna, as well as a vine cellar with eight compartments, one for each apartment. The houses will have between 500 and 600 square meters and they will be placed on the market at prices ranging from 6 and 8 million euros. Besides, every dwelling will dispose of seven parking spaces and an underground, 50 square meter storage room.

The building belongs to a Luxembourg-based fund with a branch in London, managed by Squircle Capital which in turn is led by ex-CEO of Reig Capital Jose Caireta, and his business partner Daniel Castillo. The fund bought the property from the Reig Capital group in 2002 and rejected former project on turning the unit into a hotel.

‘Since the beginning the old offices were supposed to become a luxury residential property’, explained Jose Caireta. ‘When we were given the project by Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan, we gasped in astonishment’, recalls the businessman. ‘But as we sounded the market out we have discovered that this type of product is in demand in Barcelona’.

The Panoramic View

Marcio Kogan admitted that on visiting the building, ‘the panoramic perception of the city was overhelming from any point and at once we have suggested not to divide the floors‘. Each of the future owners will be able to design the dwelling and decorate it as they please ‘but we would rather prevent the internal walls to touch the crystal facade’, the architect said.

Investment in the building is set to consume an amount of €40 million. The listed facade and the iron flaps covering windows will be preserved.

The apartment located on the second storey is going to have a rear garden of 900 m2, and the penthouse a 300 m2 terrace.

Apart from the sale of the eight houses, the fund wants to lease a ground-floor shop of 3.000 square meters and then sell it to an investor for around €50 million. Currently, the retail unit is let to General Óptica whose contract expires in the upcoming weeks.

Building works are scheduled to finish in the first quarter of 2016. Knight Frank obtained an exclusive right to market the homes by offering them both to Spaniards and foreigners. The show flat will be opened to visitors in June 2015.


Original article: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés)

Translation: AURA REE

Permission Granted For Exclusive Apartments in Edificio España

24/10/2014 – El Confidencial

At the plenary session scheduled for the end of November, Madrid City Council is going to approve an amendment in the General Planning Scheme (PGOUM by its acronym in Spanish) for Madrid which will give the green light to Chinese tycoon Wang Jianlin to carry out refurbishment of the Edificio España building and design high-end dwellings on several floors of the property.

According to spokeswoman of the Urban Planning and Housing department, Paz Gonzalez, the modification will permit construction of a hotel, luxury apartments and a shopping area.

The change, approved at the end of July, downgraded the unit in listing from II* (in Spain 2nd structural) to II (3rd partial) with the proviso that it will preserve its original facade and parts of sides.

It also obliged the buyer to renovate the chamfer situated between the Los Reyes and Maestro Guerrero streets, as well as several elements inside on the ground level.

The First Skyscraper in Spain

The Edificio España building, towering over a square of the same name, was sold by Banco Santander for €265 million to vehicle Renville Invest, belonging to Chinese magnate Wang Jianlin, the owner of Dalian Wanda.

The richest man of China is not solely interested in this project as in parallel he is considering creation if a huge retail and entertainment park somewhere in the Community of Madrid.

Although right now the iconic property stands unused, it was the first skyscraper raised in Spain and at the moment of its opening, in 1953, it was also the tallest in Europe (117 meters high).


Original article: El Confidencial (after: Efe)

Translation: AURA REE

Mexican Investor to Open a Luxury Hotel on Gran Via St., Madrid

23/10/2014 – Expansion

Gran Via street will see a new five-star hotel opening soon. The project aiming at converting the office building situated at number 31 of the famous Madrid artery into a luxury establishment has already been set rolling.

After coming to an agreement with the current tenants on making a u-turn in the commercial offer of the ground floor by adding smaller shops to the existing Real Madrid and Pull & Bear (Inditex) stores, the building structure is bound to be refurbished.

In the meanwhile, the owner of the property, Mexican investor Jorge Diaz Estrada, is looking for an operator for the establishment set to become one of the most frequently visited 5* hotels in Madrid when it opens in 2016.

Near that date, also a Four Season hotel will start welcoming guests inside the Canalejas complex, a project being developed by Juan Miguel Villar Mir‘s OHL.

Diaz Estrada is a veteran of the hotel sector as the family has got its own chain in Mexico and cooperates with such big-name international groups as Marriott.

Among the properties owned by the family in Spain, surely noteworthy would be the Edificio Tio Pepe building, presently housing an Apple store at the nearby Puerta del Sol square, and the Hotel Paris.

Aside from the Diaz Estrada’s project, the Gran Via street has seen several significant movements year-to-date. For instance, in 2015, the Hotel Ada Palace will re-open its doors, upgraded to five stars by Unico Hotels. A year later, Vincci will start operating the establishment located at numer 10 of the iconic street , and Platinum Estates will trade its dwellings planned to replace the Hotel Asturias rooms.


Original article: Expansión (by Yovanna Blanco)

Translation: AURA REE