La Generalitat Blocks Colau’s Initiative to Dedicate 30% of New Builds to Social Housing

21 November 2018 – Eje Prime

The Government of Cataluña is blocking Ada Colau’s star initiative in terms of public housing, for the time being at least. The mayor of Barcelona has faced a setback following the decision of the Sub-Committee for Urban Planning, which has decided to postpone the ratification of the municipal agreement stating that 30% of new build properties in the city must be dedicated to social housing.

Colau was outraged by the decision, which she blamed on the Catalan Ministry for Land and Sustainability, which reports into La Generalitat and which “is now seeking to include changes and increase the extensions”, lamented the mayor.

“I do not want to think that La Generalitat has yielded to the pressures of any of the very powerful real estate groups”, added Colau. She is surprised because PDeCAT and ERC, allies in the regional government, “want to introduce reductions when those same parties approved the measure in the Town Hall”.

“The Sub-Committee for Urban Planning does not have to give an opinion on this measure, it just has to approve it”, said the mayor. “It is unacceptable: La Generalitat should not downgrade a municipal proposal, which in this case is also well argued legally and economically and which has already been approved”, said Colau.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

PDeCat Sells its HQ in Barcelona to An Asian-Catalan Fund for €8M

1 October 2018 – Idealista

The Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCat) has hung the “sold” sign up over what is currently its headquarters, after a series of negotiations with several funds. The Catalan political party has completed the sale of the building to an Asian-Catalan fund led by the businessman Joaquim Zamacois, according to sources close to the operation speaking to Idealista News. In the end, the consideration paid amounted to €8 million.

The office building has a surface area of more than 2,100 m2 and was put on the market for an initial asking price of €7.4 million. The asset, owned by the Catalan political party until now, is located at number 339 Calle Provenza. The PDeCat, which put the property on the market because it is “too large for its needs”, will move to another building and leave this property vacant for a new operator.

The asset is registered in the name of the (now dormant) political party ‘Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya’ (CDC), although it has been used by its PDeCat heirs. This is not the first real estate transaction that the party has closed: three years ago, CDC sold its previous headquarters on Calle Córcega to the Hong Kong-based fund Inversión Platinum, which subsequently converted that building into high-end homes.

The decision to put the headquarters on the market was taken in the summer of 2017, although it was not advertised until December after the Catalan elections had been held. To fire the starting gun, PDeCat placed an advert in local newspapers announcing the sale.

The building, which as well as being used for offices could also be converted into homes, has housed a number of tenants over the years. In the past, the property was leased to the Trade and Energy Departments of the Generalitat de Cataluña.

Sale in the middle of the ‘procés’

The sale of the building came on the first anniversary of the illegal referendum held on 1 October 2017. Over the last year, although the political instability has not had a significant impact on the real estate sector in Cataluña, it did cause investor interest to suffer during the final quarter of last year.

According to data from the real estate consultancy CBRE, real estate investment in Cataluña amounted to €2.093 billion in 2017, down by 17% compared to the previous year, although experts in the sector indicate that one of the problems was a lack of supply, rather than a lack of demand.

Nevertheless, the professionals in the sector agree that the data for the last two quarters has been improving in Cataluña, with operations such as the sale of PDeCat’s headquarters serving by way of example. Moreover, the outlook is positive: “For example, if we focus on the office investment market, data for the third quarter of 2018 is better than for the same period in 2017”, explain sources at the real estate consultancy Cushman&Wakefield.

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake