Change of Heart: Slim Suspends Sale of Torre Realia in Barcelona

15 January 2018 – Eje Prime

Carlos Slim has changed his mind about Torre Realia in Barcelona. The real estate company owned by the Mexican magnate has decided to suspend the sales process of its most iconic asset in the Catalan capital, according to explanations provided by sources close to the process. Realia has received offers for more than the asking price (€140 million), however, the company has decided not to sell, citing changes in the company’s strategy.

Last June, Realia entrusted JLL and BNP Paribas with the mandate to sell this asset, equivalent to Torre Kio in Madrid. The tower is located in one of the fastest growing areas of the Catalan capital in terms of the office sector, in Plaza Europa, which is set to become the city’s new business district.

Although sources at the group claim that the decision is linked to a change in strategy, given that the offers that Realia had on the table were “higher than the price set by the real estate group”, it seems that the political situation and the climate of instability may have also been triggers for Slim’s group to decide to postpone the sale to a later date.

Realia’s trophy asset in Barcelona has 24 floors and a surface area of 31,960 m2, as well as 399 parking spaces. The property, which comprises two buildings, was designed by the architect Toyo Ito, in collaboration with Fermín Vázquez, from the B720 Arquitectos studio. Torre Realia is 110 m tall and its ground floor houses a shopping arcade that joins the two towers.

In terms of its real estate activity, at the end of the first half of 2017, Realia primarily owned offices and shopping centres for rent, which spanned a combined surface area of 405,842 m2 and had an occupancy rate of 93.5%. Moreover, at that time, it also owned an asset measuring 18,324 m2, in the form of the Los Cubos building in Madrid, which it ended up selling to the French group Therus for €52 million.

Realia’s stock of offices for rent spans a surface area of 226,729 m2, with an occupancy rate of 94.7%. Moreover, the company owns 41 residential plots for family homes, destined for self-promotion, which it has put up for sale. Realia’s current land portfolio spans a buildable surface area of 1,851,392 m2, of which 49% is located in Madrid and the central region of Spain, according to data from the group.

Plaza Europa, on the rise

The sale of Torre Realia comes at a time when the area in which it is located is enjoying a real boom. As the headquarters of KPMG in Barcelona, Realia’s asset has seen its value rise in recent months thanks to the large number of operations that have been closed in this enclave and to the growing number of large corporations that are moving their head offices to this new financial district, in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

One of the main players in the area is the Puig family, which has joined forces with the Catalan Socimi Colonial to build a 14,000 m2 tower at Plaza Europa 46, right opposite Grupo Puig’s corporate headquarters, which it just purchased from BBVA for around €60 million.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Núñez i Navarro Invests €4.2M In Office Refurb

1 December 2017 – Eje Prime

Núñez i Navarro is strengthening its commitment to the office sector. On Thursday, the real estate developer presented a new office project in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona). The building in question is the Marina Factory, whose remodelling is going to involve an investment of €4.2 million.

The work on the property will be completed in March next year, after 19 months. The asset, located at number 450 Rambla Marina, has six floors measuring 1,200 m2 and 1,430 m2 and two retail premises. In total, it has capacity to house 1,000 people throughout its 10,000 m2.

The Marina Factory is located in an up-and-coming area of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat. The boost from Plaza Europa, which is two kilometres away from the office, has converted the area into a first-rate office district, with companies such as the perfume group Puig, the consultancy firm KPMG and the group Gallina Blanca choosing to locate there.

Núñez i Navarro is one of the largest Catalan property developers and one of the companies in the sector that has best overcome the crisis, with a policy of low indebtedness.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Slim Commissions Sale Of Torre Realia In Barcelona For €140M

7 June 2017 – El Confidencial

(…). Torre Realia BCN is the jewel in the crown of FCC’s subsidiary in Cataluña and, moreover, it is located in a thriving area which has been witness to some of the most interesting real estate operations of recent times: Plaza Europa, the new business district within the Catalan capital’s area of influence.

With this cover letter, the group controlled by Carlos Slim has decided to put the skyscraper on the market and has engaged JLL and BNP Paribas to find a buyer, according to several sources close to the operation.

A spokesman for Realia refused to confirm the operation, which has reportedly been orchestrated directly by Gerardo Kuri Kauffman, one of the right-hand men of the Mexican magnate in Spain and the CEO of the real estate company.

The decision to sell this genuine trophy asset comes just after the real estate company signed a new syndicated loan amounting to €582 million, aimed at refinancing the €678 million debt that expired in April and which threatened the viability of the group.

To finish sorting out the financial situation, the company was also planning to sell the Los Cubos building in Madrid, an operation that never ended up being closed due to Slim’s high price expectations.

New business district

Realia is hoping to obtain €140 million for this sought-after property, which measures 112 m tall, over 24 storeys, with a gross leasable area of 31,960 m2 and 399 parking spaces. It is aware of the growing interest that exists amongst the large real estate companies to establish themselves in the new business district.

The skyscraper is, precisely, one of the most iconic buildings in this thriving area and is the image that identifies the zone. The property houses the headquarters of KPMG in Barcelona and has seen its value rise in recent months, thanks to the wave of operations that have taken place in this enclave and the growing number of large corporations that are moving their headquarters to this new financial district, in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.

The main player in two of the operations that are transforming the area is the Puig family, one of the most important corporate sagas in Cataluña, which has completed a double whammy, by teaming up with Colonial to promote a 14,000 m2 tower in Plaza Europa 46-48, which is right opposite Grupo Puig’s headquarters, a building that it has just purchased from BBVA for around €60 million.

Arcano has also been active in the area with its acquisition of an office building located at Plaza Europa 22-24 for €13 million. That property has a gross leasable area of 7,335 m2, plus another 452 m2 of storerooms, 83 of its own parking spaces and 164 administrative concession parking spaces, which it plans to completely remodel after the summer.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Inmo Acquires 4.7% Of Colonial & Buys Puig’s HQ From BBVA

25 April 2017 – El Español

Inmo, the real estate company owned by the Puig family, has acquired shares in Inmobiliaria Colonial to take its stake in the company to 4.7%. Meanwhile, it has also purchased the headquarters of the Puig perfume and fashion company that BBVA put up for sale in October.

Inmo encompasses the real estate activity and assets of the family-owned group, and Inmo’s investment in Inmobiliaria Colonial comes in response to its “willingness to diversify” its exposure in the real estate sector, according to a statement issued on Monday.

Regarding the acquisition of Puig’s headquarters in Plaza Europa de L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona), the property has 21 storeys and covers a surface area of 14,300 m2. (…).

Inmo’s announcement on Monday comes after Colonial reported in February that it had teamed up with the real estate company owned by the Puig family to develop a new office tower in Barcelona, an “iconic” building in the Catalan capital that will involve investment amounting to €32 million.

The project forms part of the investment in new real estate assets that the real estate company announced in its three markets: Madrid, Barcelona and Paris, for €400 million in total.

In the case of the new tower in Barcelona, the project will be constructed through a joint venture, which Colonial will constitute together with the Puig family’s real estate arm (50% each). The latter will contribute the land on which the property will be built.

The new tower will be located in Plaza Europa, next door to the headquarters that the perfume group rents out. The project involves building a 60m tall, 21-storey building, which will have a surface area of 14,000 m2. (…).

Colonial announced the new tower under the framework of investing in new assets that forms another part of its growth strategy, which it launched in 2005 after completing its clean-up and restructuring process.

Since then, the firm has accumulated investments in new assets amounting to €1,760 million, according to its President, Juan José Brugera. (…).

Original story: El Español

Translation: Carmel Drake

Arcano’s RE Fund Acquires 2 Assets For c. €20M

27 March 2017 – Observatorio Inmobiliario

On Tuesday (21 March), Arcano’s real estate fund, the Arcano Spanish Opportunity Real Estate Fund (ASOREF), announced the acquisition of two new assets for almost €20 million. The assets acquired comprise an office building in Barcelona’s Plaza Europa (number 22-24) and a residential building on Calle Divino Pastor, 5 in Madrid.

Following these operations, the fund has now invested 50% of its capital; it plans to complete the rest of its investments this year.

The office building on Plaza Europa, 22-24 in Barcelona (pictured above) involved an investment of around €13 million. The asset is located in one of the fastest growing areas of the city for high-quality office space. The property currently has an occupancy rate of 84% and a gross leasable area of 7,334 m2, along with 83 parking spaces and storerooms covering 452 m2. It also has 164 parking spaces as an administrative concession.

Now that Arcano has acquired the property, its objective, as part of its added-value strategy for this fund, is to invest in its refurbishment and update, to increase the value and appeal of the building. “Our strategy will involve repositioning the property through the active management of it. From our point of view, Plaza Europa is the natural area of consolidation for the office market in Barcelona – it is going to undergo significant changes over the next few years”, said Pablo Gómez-Almansa, Investment Director at ASOREF.

The asset acquired in Madrid, on Calle Divino Pastor, 5, for a price of just over €6 million, is for the construction of 28 new homes with 1 and 2 bedrooms, a commercial space and 88 parking spaces. It is an 810 m2 plot of land with a constructed residential surface area of 2,371 m2. The plot is located in the Malasaña neighbourhood, in the Centro district of the city of Madrid, between Calles Fuencarral and San Bernardo. The building is very well located and in a strategic area between Calles Princesa, Gran Vía, Fuencarral and Carranza. It will benefit from the lack of land and shortage of new residential developments in the area.

In the words of Eduardo Fernández-Cuesta, Head Partner at ASOREF, “the two acquisitions announced today underline Arcano’s commitment to forming a diversified portfolio and adding value to its properties, through renovation, new builds and better positioning of its buildings in the market, to increase the supply of high-quality assets”.

Original story: Observatorio Inmobiliario

Translation: Carmel Drake

BBVA Puts Torre Puig Building Up For Sale

6 October 2016 – Expansión

BBVA has put the building that houses the corporate headquarters of the perfume and fashion group Puig up for sale. The property is located in Plaza Europa in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona).

The family-backed Catalan multinational company, which leases this building, has the option to purchase it in the event that it is put up for sale, as has now happened, according to sources close to the operation.

Sources in the real estate sector calculate that the skyscraper could be sold for between €55 million and €65 million.

The operation, known as Project Torre, is being advised exclusively by the real estate consultancy Aguirre Newman.

The corporate building in Plaza Europa, which was opened two years ago, to coincide with the centenary of Puig, was taken over by BBVA as a result of its acquisition of CatalunyaBanc (CX).

Designed by the architect Rafael Moneo, the skyscraper is located in Barcelona’s new corporate and business centre and has a surface area of 14,288 sqm distributed over 21 floors. In addition, the building has three basement floors.

Puig’s corporate headquarters houses an auditorium, gym, meeting rooms, cafeteria and restaurant, amongst other spaces.

Torre Puig has a LEED Gold energy efficiency certificate, which is an international hallmark of excellence granted by the Green Building Council of the USA that recognises the environmental quality of buildings.

Original story: Expansión (by J.O. and S.S.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Inbisa Sells 1,600m2 Of Office Space In Barcelona

31 July 2015 – Noticias Logística y Transporte

Inbisa Inmobiliaria has sold 1,600 m2 of office space, 9 parking spaces and 2 store rooms in the Torre Inbisa Plaza Europa, in Barcelona to a Russian private equity investor. The building’s occupancy rate will increase to 80% as a result of the sale.

According to Inbisa Inmobiliaria, “the buyer, which has been advised by Residae Barcelona Real Estate Consultancy, has valued the investment on the basis of the solvency of the tenants, the stability of their contracts, the characteristics of the asset and the potential for the growth in value of the property”. (…).

Plaza Europa has consolidated its position as a strategic area in Barcelona thanks to its proximity to the Barcelona-El Prat airport, the port, the AVE station and the city centre; and many companies have chosen to locate their headquarters there. Torre Inbisa Plaza Europa is the only building in the area that offers to sell offices, with spaces available measuring as little as 200 m2.

The tower is more than 100m tall and has a total above-ground constructed surface area of more than 19,500 m2 over 25 floors, measuring 800 m2 each. It also has 2 underground floors with capacity for 237 parking spaces, 700 m2 of store rooms and a dining room, which may be used by the building’s occupants. (…).

Inbisa Inmobiliaria confirmed that “special care was taken with the design (of the tower) from the start to control the climatic exposure,  the light, ensure the correct thermal and acoustic insulation and natural ventilation, with the aim of optimising the facilities”.

At the end of June, Inbisa Inmobiliaria sold industrial warehouses measuring more than 3,700 m2 in Vizcaya in the Centro Empresarial Inbisa Derio.

Original story: Noticias Logística y Transporte

Translation: Carmel Drake

Office Rents In Barcelona To Grow By 30% In Three Years

18 February 2015 –

Barcelona is one of the cities with the greatest potential for real estate growth in Europe. At least, it is according to the 2015 Trend report, prepared by CBRE.

The international consultancy firm’s 2015 Trend Report says that the office segment is the main driver of Barcelona’s (real estate) market, and it estimates that rents will grow by between 25% and 30% between now and 2018.

Significant investment was made in offices in Barcelona in 2014, amounting to €844 million in total, i.e. 139% more than in 2013. In total, 19 transactions were closed (an increase of 31%) and more than 340,000 m2 of properties changed hands (112% more than in the previous year). This data clearly shows that investors’ appetite for this type of asset has returned to its pre-crisis levels.

In terms of occupancy rates, tenants leased 258,000 m2 of office space in 2014, the highest figure since the start of the crisis, and very close to the annual average for the past 10 years, with new business areas (Plaza Europa, 22@) accounting for 45% of the total, recovering their domination over the city centre.

An important factor to take into account is the progressive decrease in stock in the city centre, which resulted in 90,000 m2 less (available) office space in 2014. The main reason for this change was the conversion of offices into hotels, such as in the cases of Torre Agbar and the former headquarters of Cuatrecasas, as well as demand by tenants for higher quality, efficient spaces.

The report includes a Real Estate Barometer, which has been calculated for more than 10 years, based on a survey conducted with almost 200 industry executives. According to the majority of these executives, the most interesting development is that the role of vulture funds in Spain will decrease in 2015 with respect to last year. In fact, 64% confirm that this year will be dominated by ‘core’ funds and investors, i.e. those that invest on a long-term basis and are looking for greater security.

In terms of investment, the main players in the sector consider that the office and retail outlet segments will account for the majority of investment in Spain, whereby continuing the trend observed in previous years.

Original story:

Translation: Carmel Drake