The Bidding Opens for the Largest Plot of Tertiary Land in Madrid

20 March 2019 – Expansión

Savills Aguirre Newman is marketing more than 180,000 m2 of land for the development of retail, hotel and office properties in the Valdebebas area of Madrid. It is the largest undeveloped tertiary use plot in the capital and the surface area for sale has been divided into three zones, all of which are being managed by the Valdebebas Compensation Board. The owners of the land include Monthisa, Bisbel, Vivienda Económica, Celteo, Coindeco and Inmobiliaria Espacio.

The plan is for the sale of the land to be completed by the beginning of the summer, which means that a large number of investors will be able to participate. Retail, hotel and office property developers have already expressed interest in the site, although no firm offers have been received yet.

The development of this new area was unblocked in February, after five years on the backburner, when the Town Hall of Madrid dismissed all of the appeals against the approval of the economic reparcelation project of the Valdebebas land.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Union Investment Puts Marsans’ Former HQ up for Sale

16 January 2018 – Expansión

The fund Union Investment, which is headquartered in Frankfurt, has decided to cash in one of its most high profile real estate assets in Spain.

The firm has put the Edificio Pórtico in Madrid up for sale. Designed by the architecture studios SOM and Rafael de La-Hoz, this office building is leased in its entirety to several companies including Pullmantur, Redexis Gas, Nautalia, Beam España and Pepsico, amongst others. Nevertheless, it is well-known because it housed the headquarters of the tourist group Marsans for several years. The company created by Gerardo Díaz and Gonzalo Pascual purchased the property in 2009 from Hines and Monthisa for an amount that was never disclosed. Years later, Marsans reached an agreement with Union Investment to sell the building for €115 million through a sale & leaseback contract, whereby the tourist group remained as the tenant paying a monthly rent of more than €700,000.

A year later, Marsans received an eviction notice due to the non-payment of the rent, and it abandoned the property in 2011 once it had filed for liquidation. The departure of its main tenant did not represent a problem for Union Investment, which soon found replacements.

Currently, the building, which has a gross leaseable area (GLA) of 27,000 m2 spread over eight floors, is leased in its entirety. That, together with the quality of the property and the stamp of two recognised architecture studios, raises its appeal in the market.

For the sale, the German fund has engaged the real estate consultancy CBRE, which has already started to reach out to the usual investors in the office market in Madrid. The sales price amounts to around €130 million, say sources in the know, and the operation is expected to be closed during the first half of this year.

Investment in offices in Spain amounted to €2.21 billion in 2017, according to JLL, down by 20% compared to the previous year.

Lack of supply

That decrease was much more marked in Madrid, which although continued to lead the investment market in Spain, with investment of €1.374 billion, suffered a decrease of 38% in 2017 with respect to the previous year.

“Nevertheless, that reduction was not due to a decrease in investor interest, but rather a lack of supply, given that the two previous years saw record figures”, explains Borja Ortega, Director of Capital Markets at JLL (…).

Meanwhile, Union Investment is one of the largest investment fund managers in Germany. In Spain, its recent operations include the sale of the Área Sur shopping centre, located in the Cadiz town of Jerez, which it sold last year to a joint venture controlled by Axa IM-Real Assets and the Portuguese real estate company Sonae Sierra for €110 million. At the global level, the German firm manages assets worth more than €250 billion.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Adif Sells Plot in Madrid for 80% More than its Original Asking Price

2 January 2018 – El Confidencial

It has been, without a doubt, the clearest example of the overheating in the prices of buildable land in Madrid. Adif has just concluded the auction of several plots in Dehesa Vieja, San Sebastián de los Reyes, which it launched at the beginning of October. The asking price was set at €9 million and in the end, the state-owned firm has obtained proceeds amounting to €16.3 million, in other words, 80% more than initially expected.

The plots, which have a buildable surface area of 10,500 m2, sparked interest amongst much of the property development sector, given that they are located in one of the most sought-after and rapidly growing areas of the Community of Madrid. Up to 13 property developers participated in the first auction held on 3 October, including some of the industry stalwarts.

From Gestilar to Amenábar Promociones, and including the renewed Acciona Inmobiliaria and Pryconsa. Other participants also included Monthisa, Aelca, the listed firm Neinor Homes, Procisa and Solvia. And one cooperative: SS de los Reyes Sociedad Cooperativa, owned by the Asentis group, which after going head to head with the real estate company owned by the Entrecanales family over the last month, has ended up acquiring the sought-after plot. And the reality is that, after a couple of years on the back burner, cooperatives have returned to the market with a bang and are showing that they are capable of competing, economically speaking, in spaces where traditional property developers cannot or do not want to operate.

Adif’s auction is a clear example. SS de los Reyes Sociedad Cooperativa has won the bid with an offer of €16.3 million, compared to the figure of just over €16 million that Acciona Inmobiliaria was willing to pay and which represents a land (impact) price of €1,550/m2. Just too high, in the eyes of many of the interested parties who threw in the towel along the way and who marked a top price of around €1,200/m2.

To give us an idea, the price paid by the cooperative (…) means that the future homes that are going to be constructed on the site will have to be sold for around €2,400/m2, or around €2,900/m2 if the aforementioned offer had been presented by a property developer, since it would have to include its margin to sell the homes and ensure it did not make a loss (…).

“It is important to consider that the homes planned for the site are large, measuring between 130 m2 and 140 m2 and that if we exceed prices of €400,000 for a three-bedroom home, then no matter how much prices rise by, middle-class families start to have limitations in terms of financing, and, therefore,  problems when it comes to buying such homes”, according to sources at one of the property developers that participated in the bid.

And it is not the only land operation to have raised the alarm. For months now, the market has been seeing sales of buildable plots of land at prices that were unthinkable just a couple of years ago. Recently, the Mutualidad de la Policía (Mupol) managed to sell three plots of buildable urban land – in other words, ready to build on – for around €2,250/m2 to another cooperative manager, Gesvieco, which has placed between €40 million and €42 million on the table for the plots that span 5,500 m2. The traditional and conservative property developers such as Pryconsa and Vía Célere were not willing to pay that price (…).

To give us an idea, 24 months ago, according to data from Foro Consultores, buyers were paying €800/m2 for buildable land. In other words, in two years, land prices have doubled. This (impact) price means that the price of homes for end users has increased from around €2,300/m2 to €3,100/m2.

Operación Calderón, the next major operation

Nevertheless, if there is an operation that can break all records, it is the one involving the plots that Atlético de Madrid owns next to the Vicente Calderón Stadium. The club is asking around €200 million for that package of land, in other words, around €3,500/m2, which would give rise to homes with prices of €6,000/m2, well above the price for the area, which ranges between €3,000/m2 and €4,000/m2 (…). The interested parties have already submitted their binding offers, now the club just needs to choose the best suitor.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

El Corte Inglés Should Receive Approval for Madrid Mega-Centre in March

23 December 2017 – Expansión

Three years have passed since El Corte Inglés acquired the most sought-after plot of land in Madrid, a space measuring 13,000 m2, located on Paseo de la Castellana. The group paid €136 million to be awarded the land, previously owned by Adif, in a deal that involved an initial payment of €68 million, followed by the disbursement of the remaining amount three years later. And that is also how long it has taken for El Corte Inglés to process the paperwork to allow it to expand the jewel in its crown, its Castellana shopping centre. According to sources familiar with the process, in January, the Town Hall of Madrid will submit its approval of the definitive plan to the central Spanish Government (…). According to the same sources, if all goes according to plan, El Corte Inglés will receive the green light to expand its Castellana megacentre in March, or, in any case, before the summer.

A complex project

The wait of more than three years to unblock the project has been due to a mix of complexity and bad luck. The urban planning proposal for the land established a total buildable surface area of 35,192 m2, of which 10,176 m2 corresponded to three above-ground storeys for tertiary use and 25,000 m2 to four underground basement floors for parking.

This proposal was very complex given the location of the land, located as it is, right on top of the Nuevos Ministerios Metro and Renfe stations (…).

Once it has been given the green light, it is likely that El Corte Inglés, which declined to comment, will not take long to start the building work to expand its Castellana centre. Its flagship store in the Spanish capital spans a surface area of more than 170,000 m2, with 70,000 m2 of retail space spread over seven floors and 1,600 underground parking spaces. More than 3,000 people work there.

According to sources in the sector, El Corte Inglés will also take the opportunity (of the construction of the new building) to reorganise the retail space that it owns in Nuevos Ministerios, and which includes its stores located between number 83 and 85 Paseo de la Castellana, which it sold to the real estate firm Monthisa in September 2016 through a sale and leaseback agreement (…).

Premium fashion and gastronomy

The marketing and design of the new retail space that El Corte Inglés is preparing to build on the land acquired from Adif is being carried out with the utmost secrecy by the retailer, which has refused to hire real estate agents like normally happens in these types of projects (…).

The most likely course of action is that it will create a premium space to house luxury brands and the highest-level gastronomy – although that is not the only possibility that the retail chain is currently contemplating -. That would strengthen one of the main objectives of its star centre: to attract tourist shoppers in the capital (…).

Original story: Expansión (by V. Osorio and R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

“Valdebebas Is Ready To Welcome Companies Post-Brexit”

27 June 2017 – Expansión

Valdebebas – one of the largest urban planning projects in the Community of Madrid, with a land surface area of 10.6 million m2 – has fired the starting gun for what is expected to become the city’s “new financial and technological district”.

“We have land spanning more than 1 million m2 (equivalent to the surface area of almost 140 football pitches) available for tertiary use. People talk about Castellana Norte, but there is no development in Spain quite like Valdebebas. It is already ready to welcome companies from London searching for new locations after Brexit and any other multi-national companies”, explains Marcos Sánchez, Managing Director of the Valdebebas Compensation Board, which represents the owners of the land. Market sources indicate that the land owners include Monthisa, Bisbel, Vivienda Económica, Celteo, Coindeco and Inmobiliaria Espacio.

This business park will comprise twenty blocks, with buildabilities ranging between 9,000 m2 and 110,000 m2. It will house buildings that have between five and fourteen storeys.

The director said that, although they have not yet started “to sell” Valdebebas as a destination for companies, international investors, funds and hotel chains have already expressed their interest in the development: “We are still in the preliminary conversation phases. Until now, contact has been made because interested parties have been approaching us”.

For Sánchez, the aim of Valdebebas is to attract fin-tech companies and others relating to that sector. Moreover, it has the capacity to accommodate between three and four hotels and restaurant brands. “We have direct access to the airport and are well connected to the city centre. It is an unbeatable location in Europe and the world”.

In this sense, it is worth remembering that a bridge is being constructed to connect this area with Barajas Airport – T4, with a forecast investment of more than €20 million. “We have already moved earth and started building the foundations on both sides. The work, which was started in February, is going well and will be finished within two years”, he said.

Valdebebas has several advantages over the potential Operación Chamartín: the immediacy – with “windows of opportunity that can be benefitted from now” – its size and location, according to Sánchez. “Castellana Norte is our natural competitor; despite that we want that site to be developed as soon as possible and in the best way possible because we will all end up winning as a result”, he said.

Legal journey

In terms of the legal position, Sánchez acknowledges that, although Valdebebas has always been very judicialised – construction of between 800 and 1,000 homes has been suspended following a ruling by the Supreme Court – almost 100% of the residential property has been sold, the population already stands at 10,000 people and is set to reach 18,000 by the end of the year. In his opinion, it is “perfectly feasible” to reach agreements before the urbanisation is completed. “All of this administrative and judicial chaos will end when the urbanisation is handed over in two years time”, he said.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

More Than 1,000 New Homes Are Being Built In Sevilla

17 October 2017 – ABC

(…) In the last twelve months in Sevilla, the main initiatives that had been suspended following the decline of companies such as Novaindes, Navicoas and Habitat, have been reactivated. With a few exceptions, the large plots of buildable land in good locations now all have new owners. The clear sign of this trend is that between 2016 and 2019, more than 1,000 new homes will come onto the market in the most sought after areas of Sevilla.

Who is behind these projects? The most spectacular moves have been made by the Murcian property developer Monthisa, which has completed five operations in just ten months to purchase plots of land on which it plans to construct around 350 homes. In February, it signed an agreement with the company Gestión de Inmuebles Adquiridos – which belongs to the Unicaja group – to construct 150 homes in Kansas City 36; a month later it purchased the plot of land in Pagés del Corro 122 from Solvia (the real estate subsidiary of Banco Sabadell) with capacity for 52 apartments; in September, it acquired the Correos warehouses on Calle Fernando Tirado (which will house between 35 and 40 properties) and it signed an agreement with Sareb (also known as the bad bank) to develop the plot of land on Calle de la Florida, where it will build another 84 homes.

The bad bank has been one of the most active players in the real estate sector in Sevilla. Whilst in La Florida, Sareb chose Monthisa, in Carretera de Carmona 43, it appointed Solvia to regenerate the plot of land that used to be home to Tysa Ford. That alliance was signed at the end of 2015 and the construction work (of the more than 200 homes) is due to be completed in March 2019. In parallel, Solvia is also responsible for another one of the star projects in the city centre: 30 homes in the Puerta de Nervión building on Calle José Luis de Casso, opposite the Sánchez Pizjuan stadium.

These projects are different from those seen before 2007. The majority of these developments involve large apartments, with prices of less than €3,000/sqm. According to experts in the sector, the demand for housing now comes from established families in stable economic situations and so the most successful products are those with several bedrooms. According to Ricardo Pumar, Chairman of Inmobiliaria del Sur (Insur), “nowadays, only projects that are well designed, with innovative solutions, high quality finishes and very competitive prices have a chance of success”.

Insur was one of the first companies to detect this change in the cycle. At the end of 2013, it acquired the former Cuartel de Intendencia and there it has launched Pineda Parque, a residential complex that contains three twelve-storey towers and another two eight-storey towers that will house 158 homes (measuring between 140 sqm and 228 sqm, with three, four and five bedrooms). In 2014, it started the construction of Edificio Miraflores, on a plot purchased from Sareb where it is now finishing the construction of 64 homes.

And the final example of this trend is Dospuntos (a group controlled by the American investment fund Värde Partners), which is going to begin the construction of 87 homes soon on a plot of land on the corner of Calle Enramadilla and Avenida de la Buhaira. This plot originally belonged to Pontegran (a company jointly owned by Osuna and San José).

There are still a few projects pending sale, but most of the large plots of land in the city have now been bought up.

Original story: ABC (by Luis Montoto)

Translation: Carmel Drake