JLL: Hotel Inv’t Amounted To €1,030M In First 7M 2016

3 August 2016 – Expansión

(…). Hotel investment in Spain amounted to €1,030 million during the 7 months to July 2016, which represents a 41% decrease compared with the same period last year. Nevertheless, it also represents the second highest figure recorded since 2007, according to a report prepared by JLL.

Specifically, as at 31 July this year, 81 (hotel) assets had been sold, for a combined investment volume of €1,030 million through 68 operations, compared with 92 assets sold as at July last year, with a combined investment volume of €1,752 million through 55 operations.

The most noteworthy operations so far this year have featured: Hotel Villa Magna, which was acquired by the Turkish group Dogus for an estimated €180 million; and Hotel Pullman Barcelona Skipper, which was purchased by the Saudí Royal Family for €90 million.

Excluding those two operations, Spanish investors accounted for 80% of the total volume invested in Spain.

In this vein, the most active investors in the hotel market have been the investment fund HI Partners (a subsidiary of Sabadell) and Hispania, which have completed transactions amounting to €110 million and €71 million, respectively.

Meanwhile, on the sell side, hotel groups have accounted for 41% of all hotel assets sold, followed by real estate companies (26%) and private investors (13%).

For Manuel Climent, Vice-President of JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group, the decrease in investment this year reflects, in part, the lower number of hotel portfolio transactions sold this year, after they soared in Spain in 2015.

Specifically, last year, up to eleven portfolios were sold, containing 74 hotels in total, for a combined investment volume of €1,450 million. So far this year, seven portfolios have been sold, containing 21 hotels and a combined investment of €174 million.

Climent forecasts that activity will intensify in terms of hotel portfolio transactions during the second half of the year, with HI Partners and Hispania leading the way.

For Climent, the moratorium in Barcelona has caused lots of investors who had purchased assets with a view to converting them into hotels, to become more cautious again. By contrast, some owners have put their hotel assets up for sale as they think that now is a good time to sell, given the lack of supply, which is raising prices in a space that is still very attractive for tourism.

The Vice-President of JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group considers that, although some important transactions are expected to be closed before year end, total investment volumes will fall below last year’s record of €2,740 million.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Irea: Hotel RevPAR rose by 12.7% In Madrid In 2015

14 July 2016 – Expansión

Tourism in Madrid is booming and recording some good results, both in terms of demand and the operating profit of hotels in a destination that was particularly affected by the crisis. In this way, the upwards trend in hotel profitability, which began in 2014, is expected to continue for the next few months. According to a report prepared by Irea, the city of Madrid, which recorded a 12.7% YoY increase in average revenue per available room (RevPAR) in 2015, to €59.70, may see room rates return to their pre-crisis levels within the next twelve months.

The profitability of the hotel market in the capital, which closed 2008 with a RevPAR of €66, suffered from a decrease of almost 30% since the start of the crisis, but has been gradually recovering over the last two years.

In this vein, RevPAR grew by 2.8% during the first five months of this year to amount to €62.40.

In terms of demand, although occupancy rates continue to rise, the cumulative growth during the five months to May was 2.3%, compared with more accelerated growth during 2015. The main reason for this moderation (in growth) is that the International EAU Meeting has not been held in Madrid this year, since it is a bi-annual event.

Looking ahead to the next few months, hotel operators estimate growth of around 10% in terms of overnight stays during the summer season compared with last year.

Investor interest

The recovery of the hotel market in Madrid since 2013 is appealing to investors, who expect the recovery to continue into the medium term. The entry of new international hotel chains, such as Four Seasons, W and Hilton, as well as initiatives being carried out by the Town Hall to regenerate and pedestrianize the city centre, will continue to boost the recovery of this destination, according to Irea.

As a result, Madrid, unlike Barcelona, is continuing to generate interest amongst international investors, as evidenced by operations such as the purchase of Hotel Villamagna by the Turkish conglomerate Dogus Group and the sale of Hotel Suecia.

The shortage of products in Barcelona – Madrid’s main competitor – and the moratorium in the Cataluñan capital mean that Madrid is the most active investment market at the moment and the preferred target for domestic and international funds and family offices.

During 2015, investment in the hotel market in Madrid amounted to €582 million, compared with €163 million in 2014.

Original story: Expansión (by R.Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

French Chain B&B Opens 4 Hotels In Spain

8 July 2016 – Expansión

The French hotel chain B&B, one of the largest in Europe with a network of 321 establishments and annual revenues of €344 million, has started to expand its business into Spain. A few months ago, it opened its first four hotels here, all of which used to be owned by the Holiday Inn, in Valencia, Madrid, Alicante and Gerona, for a total investment of €14 million. It plans to open at least four hotels a year between now and 2020, with an average investment of around €5 million per property, which represents a total investment of approximately €80 million over the period.

The next hotel opening will be in Vigo, planned for December. B&B, which was acquired by PAI Partners in December, is establishing itself under two systems: the construction of buildings and the acquisition of existing hotels. The four Spanish hotels, which used to house Holiday Inns, were acquired and then transferred to the firm Foncier des Murs, owned by the Crédit Agricole group, which is the company’s financial partner for these types of investments and which itself owns 250 hotels that B&B operates.

The hotel in Vigo will follow the same pattern; meanwhile the company is looking for other opportunities to buy and construct hotels. The Director of B&B in Spain, Dennis Darrien, explained that the company has plans to construct one hotel in Barcelona, in the 22@ district, but that those plans are on hold due to the hotel moratorium established by the Town Hall.

The company is looking for hotels with between 80 and 150 rooms, in good locations.

B&B was created in 1990, as a chain for business travellers in France – where it now has 250 hotels, some of which it owns and others which it leases – with low cost prices. The CEO of the Group, George Sampeur, explained that in Spain they will also target the tourist market, given the nature of the country.

The company has eighty hotels in Germany, twenty-three in Italy, three in Poland, one in the Czech Republic and another in Morocco. It plans to expand to Latin America by opening its first hotel in Brazil, in Sao Paulo, before continuing to Curitiba and other areas in the south of the country.

In total, according to its business plan, B&B plans to open thirty hotels a year between now and 2020.

Original story: Expansión (by J. Brines)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Colau Proposes Veto Of New Hotel Openings In Barcelona

24 February 2016 – Expansión

The Town Hall of Barcelona will not grant any more licences to permit homes to be used for tourism purposes in the Catalan capital and will only allow new hotels to be opened in the suburbs. At least that is according to the plan that the municipal government, led by Ada Colau (pictured above), which holds a minority, presented yesterday and which it is planning to adopt albeit preliminarily on 10 March. A period of public consultation and citizen participation will open on that date.

In order to achieve a “natural decline” in (the number of) hotels, hostels and B&Bs in the most central neighbourhoods, Colau is suggesting that, when businesses close, they should not be reopened again. This limitation will affect the districts of Ciutat Vella, Eixample, Gràcia, Poble Sec , the area surrounding Park Güell and Hospital de Sant Pau, as well as Vila Olímpica. In other words, neighbourhoods that are home to more than half of the city’s supply of tourist accommodation.

By contrast, licences will be granted in a second group of neighbourhoods, such as in Sants, Sant Gervasi, Sant Martí, the south of the Sant Andreu district and El Clot. And new hotels may be opened in the neighbourhoods to the North of the city, as well as in those that are undergoing urban development, namely: la Sagrera, 22@ and La Marina de la Zona Franca.

Moreover, new hotels may not be opened in buildings destined for residential use or in streets that are less than eight metres wide.

This proposal, which comes after an annual moratorium that has prohibited the construction of hotels, will be debated tomorrow by industry players, who yesterday rejected the intentions of Ada Colau and her team. The Hoteliers’ Guild asked that continuity be given to projects that have already been approved and affected by the moratorium, and it defended that “hotel growth” be allowed in the city by consensus.

Meanwhile, the Association of Tourist Apartments in Barcelona (la ‘Asociación de Apartamentos Turísticos de Barcelona’ or Apartur) said that “the worst way to fight against the illegal supply (of tourist accommodation) is to freeze licences” and it urged Colau to change her plans.

Original story: Expansión (by David Casals)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Barcelona Accepts Seven Exceptions To The Hotel Moratorium

13 February 2016 – Expansion

Ada Colau´s  moratorium applied to the hotel sector in Barcelona in July last year did not catch the market by surprise, since a stoppage on the granting of new licenses was foreseen on her electoral program, while the hotel industry of the city was being reassessed. What surprised and angered the industry was the fact that the measure would affect projects already underway. 
Drivers of these establishments were quick to wield legal certainty to carry out their plans and threatened the City Council with highly expensive sues. 
The moratorium affected more than forty projects, some of them at a very early stage but others whose paperwork had been worked for months. Many of them alleged back then that they held a urban  certificate legally binding the council to accept licenses for processing and stating they were allowed to carry on with the project. 
The City Council, which at first denied this, has been six months later forced to accept these license applications. In total, seven requests have been accepted for processing, which will now come under consideration for compliance with the regulations. Among these seven projects we find Emin Capital, which bought Torre Agbar to open a Grand Hyatt, and Me que projects by Melia at Caspe Street. Two months earlier, Colau team had already unlocked Meridia Capital project in the former headquarters of Henkel and that of Amancio Ortega in the old headquarters of Banesto, where the opening of a hotel with Iberostar is planned. 
In addition to the ongoing projects that were affected by the measure, the moratorium adopted by Barcelona en Comú has stopped the investments in new hotel projects. Another immediate consequence was the rise in the value of existing establishments. Unable to open new hotels, investors have directed towards those which already had a license, those which have raised their sales expectations.


The sector is now awaiting the development of the plan being made by Ada Colau on hotel regulation by neighborhood. Hotel entrepreneurs are worried that Mayoress has spoken of a possible “decrease” in some areas.

Original story: Expansion (by Marisa Anglés)

Translation: Aura Ree

RE Inv’t Reached €1,977M In Barcelona In 2015

16 January 2016 – El País

Real estate investment reached record figures in Barcelona last year. It amounted to €1,977 million in total, up by 43% compared with 2014, and exceeding even the levels seen before the crisis. The recovery in the office market primarily drove the trend, although there was also another important factor: overseas investment. According to a report by Aguirre Newman, foreign buyers accounted for 55% of all investments, and that percentage increases to 85% if we consider the Socimis’ shareholders. The remaining capital is local.

Investors’ need to seek reasonable rates of return explains their interest in Barcelona, according to the CEO of Aguirre Newman in Barcelona, Anna Gener. In her opinion, neither the sovereign process being undertaken by the Generalitat or the hotel moratorium imposed by Barcelona’s Town Hall have scared off investors, and her views are supported by the figures. The Catalan capital has continued to attract the same rate of investment as the rest of Spain, which amounted to €10,790 million in 2015, another historic record.

“Investment has grown a lot, given that the must talked about exodus of businesses did not happen”, explained Gener yesterday, who added that real estate advisors are more concerned about finding available supply for potential institutional investors, who have traditionally ben conservative when it comes to investing. She said the same thing applied in the case of hotels, which in Barcelona accounted for investment amounting to €347.5 million, despite the decision by the Barcelona en Comú Government to block new openings. “Hotels in Barcelona are so profitable that everyone wants hotels and the moratorium removes competitors from the sector”, said Gener, who predicted that the price of hotel licences will increase as a direct result of the Government’s measure.

The office market is still the most active segment, after achieving a rental volume of 400,000 m2 and total investment of €885 million, up by 52% compared with a year earlier. Aguirre Newman thinks that the major problem is the scarcity of supply in premium areas, which is putting upwards pressure on prices. Its major client this year has been la Generalitat, with the operation to concentrate offices from different departments in the Zona Franca, in one of the large facilities measuring 46,000 m2. There is no availability in the city centre for offices measuring more than 1,500 m2.

Another sector that is rising from the ashes is residential, with growth of 43% and an average price rise of 8% last year. The consultancy firm predicts an increase in the number of projects involving renovations and changes in use to luxury residential, with international buyers dominating the segment. In these high-end cases, Aguirre Newman forecast that prices may even reach €10,000/m2.

The forecast for this year is that investment across the whole real estate sector (in Barcelona) will amount to €2,000 million once again.

Original story: El País (by Dani Cordero)

Translation: Carmel Drake

JLL: Hotel Investment Exceeded €2,650M In 2015

12 January 2016 – Expansión

2015 was a record year for investment in the hotel sector, driven primarily by Spanish buyers. The Canary Islands and Madrid were the stars in terms of location. Last year, 143 hotels were sold in Spain worth €2,650 million, which represents an increase of 65.6% compared with 2006, the previous record-breaking year; and more than double the investment volume recorded in 2014 – €1,180 million.

Spain was the third most popular European country for investors, behind the UK and Germany, according to a report by the consultancy firm JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group. And Spanish investors returned to the spotlight, thanks to the improvement in the domestic economy. In 2015, 74% of total investment was made by domestic buyers, compared with 58% a year earlier.

In this regard, the Socimis were the great discovery of the year. Merlin and Hispania, the two largest Socimis by market capitalisation, spent €965 million on hotels, whereby accounting for 36.4% of the total volume invested in Spain.

In terms of Spanish investors, the Socimis and investment funds were followed by Spain’s hotel chains, which accounted for 13.5% of total investment. The Catalan hotel chains H10 and Hotusa were the most active in 2015. They were followed by private investors, such as family offices, which accounted for 8.9%.

In the meantime, overseas investors accounted for 26% of total investment in Spain, with buyers from France being the most active – Accor’s acquisition of four Novotel hotels was a key deal – behind those from Germany – IFA paid €48 million for two properties in the Canary Islands – and Hong Kong – Mandarin purchased the Ritz in Madrid, together with the Saudi group Olayan-.

By type of investor, the funds increased their weight significantly during the year, specifically, up from 30.4% to 53.6% of the total. Hotel groups and private investors lost steam, in contrast to the real estate companies, which recorded a slight rise.

The Canary Islands accounted for 29.6% of total investment, benefiting from the upturn that Spain’s tourism industry is experiencing at the moment due to (political) instability in other competing countries in the Mediterranean. 31 hotels were sold there in total, primarily as a result of the partnership between Meliá and Starwood Capital, as well as due to the creation of Bay, the first pure hotel Socimi, by Barceló and Hispania.


Madrid was the second most popular destination, accounting for 23.5% of total investment. The price paid for the Ritz hotel – €778,000 per room – was the highest recorded in Spain. Half of the operations involved five-star hotels and 43% involved four-star hotels.

Occupancy rates have improved in the Spanish capital, but the average price there continues to fall below its pre-crisis levels.

In the Balearic Islands, hotels worth more than €445 million were sold – 16.8% of the total – , above Barcelona, where 14 transactions worth €340 million were signed – accounting for 14% – above all, involving four-star properties. Despite the moratorium imposed by the mayoress Ada Colau, the Catalan city is the country’s leader in terms of profitability and the outlook there is positive.

Another trend in 2015 was the sale of hotel portfolios. 78 of the 143 hotels that changed hands belonged to a larger batch. This year, more operations of this type are expected, albeit smaller in value; and overseas Socimis and investors are expected to play a more active role. According to JLL, investment in 2016 could reach similar levels to those seen last year.

Original story: Expansión (by Yovanna Blanco)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Colau Suspends 35 Hotel Projects In Barcelona

26 October 2015 – Expansión

On Friday, the Town Hall of Barcelona revealed the final impact of the hotel moratorium in the Catalan capital. The mayoress Ada Colua’s star initiative has left 35 projects up in the air, although it will not effect some of the most iconic projects, such as the hotel that Amancio Ortega is planning to build in Plaza Catalunya or the project proposed by Meridia Capital for the former Henkel headquarters.

The future of the 35 projects now depends on the special urban plan for tourist accommodation (Peuat or ‘plan especial urbanístico de alojamiento turístico’), the regulatory framework that governs the (tourism) sector in the city. The town hall expects to approve the framework in March, just before the suspension of the licences expires. “We still have time to put in order and regulate tourism”, said the fourth deputy mayoress, Janet Sanz, at a press conference.

The 35 projects affected include 30 hotels, three youth hostels and two halls of residence. Some of the most well known projects include the property that the Hotusa group, owned by Amancio López, plans to build on Avenida Vilanova (close to the Arc del Triomf) and the building that Meliá wants to convert on Calle Casp.

During the press conference, the councillor revealed that 51 projects have run their course unaffected by the moratorium, since they were approved when the previous government was in office, i.e. when CiU led the Town Hall. Those 51 projects include 36 licences, 9 obtained due to non-opposition and 6 that have urban use certificates (a document that allows a licence to be requested during a six-month period).

The opposition, led by CiU, criticised Colau’s policy and accused her of making a lot of fuss and then taking little action. They asked the mayoress to show “rigour and seriousness”.

Original story: Expansión (by Gabriel Trindade)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Barcelona City Hall Suspends Tourist Licences For 1 Year

3 July 2015 – Cinco Días

The mayoress of Barcelona, Ada Colau, has fulfilled one of the promises she made during the election campaign for the municipal elections with the launch of a one-year moratorium for the granting of tourist licences in the city. “Tourism is one of the city’s main assets and we have to take care of it and make it sustainable”, she said.

Colau’s announcement had been expected by the market, since it had been one of her main promises during the election campaign, but it did not take shape until yesterday. Barcelona’s City Council, governed by Barcelona en Comú, has taken the decision to freeze licences for at least one year. The town council’s aim is to submit a Special Plan for the Regulation of Tourist Accommodation during the first quarter of next year, although it does not rule out extending that period by another year.

Some of the most iconic hotel projects being carried out in Barcelona include the conversions of Torre Agbar, the Deutsche Bank tower and the Henkel building. But, according to Janet Sanz, deputy mayoress of ecology, urban development and mobility, the actual list is longer and includes around thirty properties. “We are not saying that none of these projects will go ahead, simply that we are beginning a process of reflection on our tourism model”.

This moratorium, which comes in addition to the one that already exists in the neighbourhood of Ciutat Vella, is intended to allow time for an in-depth analysis of the stock of tourist accommodation in the city, so that the existing supply and the economic and social impact of tourism can be evaluated and diagnosed. The freeze will affect all establishments, from luxury hotels to hostels, so that a “calm debate” can be held about the situation in the city. Plans are afoot at the Deutsche Bank tower, which KKH purchased  last year, to build a five star Four Seasons hotel, costing €150 million, and the plan is to open a Grand Hyatt hotel in the Torre Agbar, which Emin Capital acquired in 2013. Others, such as the property being renovated by the construction company owned by Josep Lluís Núñez, the former President of FC Barcelona, will be excused from the moratorium.

In terms of Spanish hotel chains, the moratorium may affect Barceló, which is planning to open two new establishments in the city: one on Avenida Diagonal, 414 with views of the Casa de les Punxes, and the other, the conversion of the former headquarters of Nubiola Pigmentos, on the corner of Pau Claris and Gran Vía, which is still in its early phases. Nearby, one of Melia’s ME hotels, with 173 rooms, on the corner of Calle Casp and Paseo de Gracia may be affected. (…). Iberostar, Room Mate and Praktik Hotels could also be affected. (…).

The market regards the moratorium as a sign of insecurity for the entry of new investors. “The decision creates legal and administrative insecurity and leaves investors interested in entering the city on stand by”, says Inmaculada Ranero, CEO of Christie + Co for Spain and Portugal. (…).

Original story: Cinco Días

Translation: Carmel Drake