Operación Chamartín: Carmena Cuts Homes & Offices By 50%

10 May 2016 – El País

On Tuesday, the mayoress of Madrid, Manuela Carmena will present her plans “to boost the development of the north of the city”, an “open document” prepared by municipal technicians, which amends and reduces the plans for Operación Chamartín. After working on the project for almost a year and refusing to negotiate with BBVA or San José, the Town Hall is effectively burying Distrito Castellana Norte. The Town Hall’s alternative plan, to which El País has had access to, maintains the buildability coefficient, but removes all of the roads and railways from the planned surface area calculations, which Distrito Castellana had taken into account. In this way, the profitable surface area for homes (17,000 were going to be built) and offices is cut in half. Carmena proposes undertaking the renovation of Chamartín train station, the Northern junction (Nudo Norte) and Fuencarral immediately, using public money, and taking Pasillo Verde (which runs from Atocha to Principe Pío) as an example.

Distrito Castellana Norte, the private project promoted by BBVA (75.5%) and the construction company San José (24.5%) forecasts investing €5,974 million to rebuild the 3,114,336 sqm area.

But the local government believes that the initiative should “be the responsibility of the Administration”, particularly given the dimensions of the area (311 hectares; by way of comparison, the Centro district covers 523 hectares). Thus, the Town Hall proposes “more weight in the public management” in the “largest town planning operation in Madrid”. And to this end, it proposes “the creation of a public urban consortium to develop the area to the south of the M-30”, leaving the initiative to the north of the motorway in the hands of private property developers.

BBVA and San José plan to extend the Paseo de la Castellana by 3.7 km to the north, and to construct 17,699 homes and a financial district with the tallest skyscraper in the European Union (70 floors), as well as five other towers, similar in height to the four towers already in place (45-57 floors). For this, they plan to apply a buildability coefficient of 1.05 sqm for every metre of land, thanks to the increase approved by the PP (before, that figure stood at 0.6).

The Northern junction and Fuencarral

The Town Hall’s plans respect that building density, but “exclude land relating to the road and railway networks from the calculations, as well as all land that is not necessary to undertake the operation or whose transformation is not planned”. As such, it would leave 1,440,387 sqm of space occupied by the M-30, the M-40 and railway infrastructure out of the operation, and instead proposes “continuing with its current use and rating”.

After these exclusions, the total surface area of the operation would be reduced to 1,744,549 sqm (of which 233,082 sqm correspond to Chamartín train station.

Therefore, applying the buildability coefficient, there would be 1,587,040 sqm of space for residential and commercial use. This would reduce the private project by half, which had calculated that there would be 3,261,000 sqm of profitable space (1,774,000 sqm for homes; 1,046,000 sqm for offices; 165,000 sqm for hotels; and 176,000, sqm for retail).


Original story: El País (by Bruno García Gallo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Klépierre Is Willing To Invest Another €400M In Spain

16 July 2015 – Expansión

Some “very exciting” years. That is how Luis Pires, the Portuguese CEO of Klépierre’s Spanish division, defines his six years in office.

During this period, the French company, which specialises in shopping centres, has undergone a profound transformation to become one of the leading players in the sector, with 19 properties across the country. “For Klépierre, Spain is a natural market. We entered in the year 2000 with the acquisition of Carrefour’s shopping centres. Now we are very established, with more than a hundred employees and some very dynamic assets. We want to continue growing”, said Pires.

At the end of 2013, Klépierre sold the 126 shopping centres it had bought to Carrefour for €1,900 million; 63 were located in Spain. (…).

In recent years, Klépierre has closed large operations that have converted it into the largest shopping centre specialist in Europe, with assets worth €21,000 million.

Merger with Corio

Last January, following the divestment of those stores, Klépierre purchased one of its competitors, Corio, after launching a takeover bid in October 2014 for €7,200 million. As a result of the fusion of the two groups, the French real estate company became the leader of the real estate sector in Europe, with 178 shopping centres. (…).

The integration also affected Spain, where Klépierre started to manage other new properties, including Príncipe Pío in Madrid and Maremagnum in Barcelona. (…).

The firm’s most recent major transaction in Spain, the purchase of Plenilunio from Orion for €375 million (…), fits perfectly within its strategy to back high profile shopping centres. Following that purchase, Klépierre’s portfolio of retail properties in Spain now comprises 19 premises. And that figure could rise soon.

“We want to expand our presence in Spain. The group is happy with the results in the country and we see potential for growth. If a multi-million euro opportunity presents itself tomorrow, we will go for it, and if we need to invest another €400 million in Spain, then we will”. (…).

During the first half of 2014, sales at its properties in Spain grew by 6.38% on average, with an increase of 9.05% at La Gavia, in Madrid; 10.85% at Nueva Condomina in Murcia; and 9.87% at Ruta de la Plata, in Cáceres.

During the first quarter of 2015, Klépierre recorded revenues of €320.1 million, of which €17.3 million was generated by its Spanish portfolio.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

French fund Klépierre Acquires Plenilunio For €375M

17 March 2015 – Cinco Días

The shopping centre in Madrid, which measures 70,000 square metres, is home to brands such as H&M, Primark and Media Markt.

The active market for the sale and purchase of shopping centres in Spain recorded another milestone yesterday. The French fund Klépierre announced the acquisition of the Plenilunio shopping centre in Madrid, from Orion Capital Managers for €375 million. The transaction had been in the pipeline for months and was expected to close during the first half of the year.

The Plenilunio shopping centre is located in Madrid and measures 70,000 square metres. It is home to brands such as Primark (where the Irish company has its largest store in Spain, although its flagship store on Gran Vía will take over that title when it opens later this year); Inditex, Mercadona, H&M, Mango and Media Markt.

The transaction announced yesterday is the second largest ever involving a shopping centre in Spain. The largest involved the sale of Puerto Venecia in Zaragoza. The investment fund Orion, which was also the vendor of Plenilunio, received €451 million from that sale. Through these two transactions, which have taken place within four months of each other, more than €820 million has changed hands in the sale and purchase of shopping centres. The third largest sale in Spain was also closed in 2014 involving the Marineda City shopping centre in La Coruña, which was sold for €260 million.

Plenilunio is the first large sale to be closed in 2015, after record figures were registered in the shopping centre real estate market in 2014 – total investment amounted to €2,500 million, according to data from the Spanish Shopping Centre Association (‘Asociación Española de Centros y Parques Comerciales’ or AECC). The organisation itself thinks repeating the volume recorded last year again this year will be challenging.

The sector’s trade association also highlighted the importance of contributions from overseas funds to ensuring that investment volumes in Spain are higher than their pre-crisis levels. The French firm that has acquired Pleniluno already has a presence in the country through the La Gavia and Príncipe Pío shopping centres in Madrid; Meridiano in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Maremagnum in Barcelona.

Turnover of €21 million per year

The French investment group confirmed yesterday in a statement that it expects the Plenilunio shopping centre, which had an occupancy rate of 99.3% at the end of last year, to generate annual revenues of €21 million. Its turnover increased by 15% last year. The fund said it has “plans to differentiate” the property, which (it expects) will result in improved cash flows.

Klépierre reported that it had paid the €375 million consideration using its own funds. The group ended last year with liquidity of €2,700 million. Nevertheless, according to the statement, it does not rule out (the possibility of taking out) a mortgage loan (on the property). The company estimates that it has assets in Spain valued at €1,400 million. PwC advised Klépierre on the transaction and Cushman and Wakefield advised Orion.

The French group confirmed that Plenilunio is a “dominant shopping destination” in Madrid, with more than 10.5 million visitors per year and a catchment area of 1.5 million inhabitants. Its proximity to the centre of the city, its visibility from the main arteries (roads) into and out of the city and its good public transport links are the main attractive features for the company. It said that 14,000 homes are currently being built in the area, which in general has a purchasing power than is 30% higher than the Spanish average and where 33% of the population falls into the highest income bracket.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Diego Larrouy)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Adif Seeks Tenant For Historical Building In Príncipe Pío

9 February 2015 – Expansión

Madrid / The railway management company is looking for a tenant to manage the property, which measures more than 6,000 square metres, for 50 years

The railway management company, Adif, is continuing with the optimisation process of its real estate assets and has decided to put one of its most emblematic buildings in Madrid on the market. The building, located next to the Estación del Norte – known locally as Príncipe Pío – has been empty for years. Adif has decided to confer the management of the building and surrounding area for a term of 50 years. During this period, the new tenant shall pay a fixed annual rent of no less than €150,000 per year, whereby the public company will receive at least €7.5 million from the arrangement.

Historical building

The railway management company will grant both the main building, with has a surface area of more than 6,530 square metres, as well as the free spaces around the building, which have a surface area of approximately 3,429 square metres. The building has “great architectural value and its origins date back to the beginning of the 20th century”, with a large central hall and two towers, according to the terms of reference prepared by Adif.

Nevertheless, the main building is in a “poor condition” and so the tenant will have to undertake a comprehensive renovation project, which will be a key condition of the contract. The cost of the restoration and renovation work may not amount to less than €7 million.

Interested parties have until 2 March to submit their bids and the period for the submission of financial bids will open on 13 March.

This is the second time that Adif has put the Príncipe Pío building on the market. In December 2013, it launched a similar process to award the operation of the property. However, the two bids it received did not meet the conditions established in the terms of reference. To avoid a repetition of this problem, Adif has simplified the conditions, which should facilitate their agreement. The property, which is listed as a Property of Cultural Interest, was renovated in 1999 to house a recreational, cultural and retail centre. Last year, the Community of Madrid extended its permitted use to include offices.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz))

Translation: Carmel Drake

Balkany To Open Plaza Río 2 Retail Park In Madrid In 2017

20 January 2015 – Cinco Días

Madrid will have a new shopping centre in 2017. The first one to be built in the heart of the capital for more than a decade. The Plaza Río 2 project will be built alongside the Madrid Río park, and will be developed by the company Sociedad General Inmobiliaria de España (LSGIE). The company is led by Robert de Balkany, a Romanian-French multi-millionaire, related by marriage to the European monarchy and a close friend of the former King Juan Carlos. One of the directors of LSGIE, Jaime de Marichalar, is the ex-husband of Elena de Borbón.

The shopping centre, which will be located on Calle Antonio López, less than four kilometres from the Puerta del Sol, will cover an area of 40,000 square metres, with 180 shops over three floors and more than 1,500 parking spaces.

LSGIE has mandated the company SCCE – a subsidiary of the French group SCC, also controlled by the Balkany family – to begin commercial work and look for businesses who want to open stores in Río Plaza 2. For the moment, it has managed to close a deal with its first illustrious tenant: Alcampo announced a few days ago that it will open a store in the new centre occupying an area of 5,000 square metres.

The most recent shopping centre to be opened in the central area of Madrid was the one located in the former Príncipe Pío train station (also next to the Manzanares river) in October 2004. Since then, only smaller centres have opened, such as the one recently opened on Paseo de la Castellana, 200 (which houses 6,000 square metres of retail space).

Over the last 10 years, during which time Spain has gone through the toughest economic crisis since the Civil War, only a handful of retail parks have been developed in the Community of Madrid, although some of those have also borne the stamp of Robert de Balknay. Such is the case of the Plaza Norte 2 complex – in Alcobendas – the largest shopping centre in Spain, covering 50,000 square metres, and most recently, Gran Plaza 2 – in Majadahonda – whose red tape was cut in 2012 by Robert de Balkany himself and the then President of the Community of Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre.

Six shopping centres have been opened in the city of Madrid since 2004 (in Montecarmelo, Canillejas-Plenilunio, Manoteras, Carabanchel-Isla Azul and the Ensanche de Vallecas-La Gavia) according to data from the Spanish Association of Shopping Centres (Aedecc), but none of those are as central as the planned Plaza Río 2.

Project Canalejas

Another project that is also expected to open its doors in 2017 are the Galarías Canalejas, a luxury shopping centre, covering 7,000 square metres, being developed by Inmobiliaria Espacio and the OHL Group, just 250 metres from the Puerta del Sol.

Plaza Río 2 will be located directly opposite the Matadero Madrid, a group of buildings that have been renovated by the Town Hall in recent years to offer cultural activities (exhibitions, theatres, festivals…) and which has become a magnet for artists and creatives alike. In the area surrounding the capital’s new park, Madrid Río, a project known as Operation Calderón will also be taking shape, involving the demolition of Atlético de Madrid’s current football stadium and the construction of several residential towers.

The original project for the development of the site that will house Plaza Río 2 was approved by the Town Hall in June 2013 and involved the creation of a special urban development plan, which included the construction of a 27-story hotel on top of the shopping centre. However, sources from the company LSGIE say that the project that they have developed never included plans for the construction of that hotel.

The shopping centre’s developers value the location of this site due to its easy access from the M-30 ring road (which runs under the Madrid Río river park), as well as from the roads to Toledo (A-42) and Andalucía (A-4). The proximity of several popular neighbourhoods, such as Usera, Arganzuela, Carabanchel and Puente de Vallecas, has also played a role. According to SCCE’s calculations, 175,000 people live within five minutes of Río Plaza 2 and 500,000 people live within a radius of 10 minutes.

According to the designs for the project, the shopping centre will be directly accessible from the Madrid Río park. Just at that point, there is already a bridge that provides access to the facilities of the Matadero Madrid, the cultural centre Casa del Lector and the Palacio de Cristal-Invernadero de Arganzuela.

The Man Who Brought Us The Mall

The CEO of LSGIE and the SCC group, Robert de Balkany, was the person responsible for importing the concept of the shopping centre or mall from the United States to Europe. It was in 1962 when, after a trip around North America, this Romanian-born Frenchman decided to launch his business venture, which has led him to control the largest shopping centre conglomerate in Europe, with more than 120 properties. He developed his first centre – Parly 2 – in the metropolitan area of the French capital. It opened its doors in 1969. “When I returned from my trip to Detroit, I realised that shopping would never been the same again. The world had changed and consumers wanted service, comfort and activities”, explains Balkany in a corporate publication prepared for the 50th anniversary of the SCC group. “Design had been democratised. I had discovered some land in Chesnay, to the west of Paris, very close to Versailles, and I hired an American architect to join the adventure, to build the first shopping centre in Europe”. Then came Velizy2, Rosny2, Evry2, Ulis2, St Genis2…

Next came international expansion, into Spain, where the SCC group today manages 20 shopping centres, including La Vaguada (the first one opened in the country in 1983) and Plaza Norte 2 (the largest in Spain, with an investment of €300 million and where 2,500 people work). Then came Belgium, Italy, Monaco, Abu Dhabi…

Today, the empire built by Balkany manages 135 shopping centres around the world, with a turnover of €50 million and more than 500 employees.

Original story: Cinco Días (by M. M. Mendieta)

Translation: Carmel Drake