Telefónica to Sell an Historic Office Building in Barcelona for c. €110M

15 March 2019 – Expansión

Telefónica is putting one of its oldest buildings in Barcelona up for sale. The property, constructed in 1928, is located in Plaza Catalunya on Calle Fontanella and has a surface area of 8,530 m2 distributed over eleven above-ground floors and a basement.

The asking price stands at around €110 million and Telefónica, which occupies the whole building, is expected to continue as the tenant following the operation, in a deal known as a sale & leaseback.

The lower three floors of the building are currently occupied by Movistar Centre, an initiative from Telefónica, similar to a flagship store, which allows the public to try out the latest mobile phone technology.

According to the initial plans, Telefónica could close the sale of this property during the first half of this year, or early during the second half. Potential buyers include funds, Socimis and other investors.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo & Ignacio del Castillo)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Pontegadea Lets 3,000 m2 of Office Space in Barcelona to Lidl

2 May 2018 – Eje Prime

Pontegadea, the real estate company owned by Amancio Ortega, is continuing to make its investments in Barcelona profitable. The group has just closed the rental of some of its office space, spanning more than 3,000 m2, to the German supermarket giant Lidl, according to market sources speaking to Eje Prime. Pontegadea has rented part of a building that it owns in Plaza Catalunya, in the centre of Barcelona, which it purchased from BBVA in 2013 for more than €100 million.

Lidl is going to occupy four floors in the building, which together span a total surface area of 3,155 m2. Currently, the building, which was originally intended to house the corporate headquarters of a large group, is being marketed on a floor by floor basis. On the lower storeys, the property is home to one of the flagship stores that Zara has in the centre of the Catalan capital.

Following this rental operation, which has been brokered by the real estate consultancy firms JLL and Forcadell, Lidl is going to sublet the space from BBVA (given that, for the time being, the rental contract is in the name of the banking entity) in order to locate its offices in the centre of the city. The property is going to house the e-commerce and CRM teams, which will serve the group’s business throughout Europe. Although the most iconic part of the building is located in Plaza Catalunya, the building’s entrance is located at number 13 Calle Bergara.

In this way, Lidl is continuing to generate work for the real estate sector in Spain. As Eje Prime revealed, the German supermarket chain has recently put up for sale its portfolio of real estate assets in the country. More than 109,000 m2 of retail space, industrial assets and land, which the German giant has acquired since it first arrived in Spain in 1994 form part of the package put up for sale by the company.

To carry out this operation in Spain, where the company is also purchasing new land, Lidl attended the Barcelona Meeting Point real estate fair in October, where it had one of the largest stands in the room, which it used to explore real estate agreements, including the sale of part of its property portfolio (…).

Lidl has been operating in Spain for more than 22 years, during which time it has invested almost €2.6 billion in the purchase of land, retail premises and store openings. Now, the company has initiated a new phase of expansion and so it is looking for properties, including both industrial and commercial land (…).

The office business is growing in Barcelona 

Leasing of office space grew by 20% in Barcelona during the first quarter of 2018 with respect to the same period in 2017, and forecasts indicate that this business is going to continue to grow over the coming months. The city recorded a leasing volume that was 17% higher than the quarterly average for the last five years, whereby confirming the strong demand.

Of the 125 operations signed during the first few months of the year, 7% corresponded to contracts for spaces spanning more than 2,000 m2. Most of the space leased (47%) was signed in New Business Areas, with the leasing of new space by companies such as PepsiCo and Securitas, which moved into a stock that today has an occupancy rate of 93%, as revealed by Eje Prime.

Meanwhile, the Paseo de Gracia-Diagonal area and city centre closed the quarter with a joint market share of 37% of the total space leased. The remaining 16% opted for projects located on the outskirts of the city (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

ECI Sells Building On Plaza Catalunya For €17M

9 February 2016 – Expansión

The department store group has ruled out the expansion of its store on Plaza Catalunya because it has been unable to buy the building next door and so it has sold its property on Calle Fontanella, number 9.

El Corte Inglés has abandoned its expansion plans for Plaza Catalunya. The building that the department store group acquired in 2004 on Calle Fontanella, with the aim of extending its store, has been sold for €17 million to a Russian investor who plans to convert it into a hotel.

The property, which has not been used for more than a decade, is located at number 9, Calle Fontanella and is separated from El Corte Inglés store on Plaza Catalunya by another building. The group chaired by Dimas Gimeno acquired it thinking that it would also be able to buy the property located at numbers 5-7 and adjoin the two buildings onto its department store. Nevertheless, following years of negotiations with the owner (then CatalunyaCaixa), the building was eventually acquired by Caboel, the property company of the former owners of Caprabo, who renovated it and converted into a hotel operated by Room Mate.

The location of this El Corte Inglés store, in the heart of Plaza Catalunya, means that it can only be expanded through the purchase of neighbouring properties. The expansion project began to take shape more than ten years ago, thanks to Catalunya’s Commercial Facilities Sector Territorial Plan for the period 2006-2009, which allowed it to increase its net sales area by 5,000 m2.

The building at number 9, Calle Fontanella was acquired from Banco Sabadell for €17 million, which means that, a decade later, and given the impossibility of adjoining it onto its existing store, the department store group has recovered its original spend.

The purchaser of the building is a conglomerate of investors, which, according to real estate sources, are Russian and intend to convert the property into a hotel.

Its surface area (3,200 m2), wide façade and central location make the conversion of the property into a tourist establishment an ideal option, but the operation has been signed in the middle of the hotel moratorium. As such, the investors will have to wait until the mayoress of Barcelona, Ada Colau, establishes the new urban planning rules for tourist accommodation, which will determine the neighbourhoods in which new establishments may be constructed.

Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés)

Translation: Carmel Drake