Corp Promotors Acquires Plot Next to La Sagrera Station in Barcelona for €10.4M

17 October 2018 – Europa Press

The real estate company Corp Promotors has acquired a plot of land spanning 1,512 m2 located next to the future La Sagrera AVE train station in Barcelona for €10.44 million.

The Catalan firm has fought off competition from three companies in the bid for the plot, which was opened by the public company responsible for the development of the station, an entity in which the Ministry of Development, La Generalitat de Cataluña and the Town Hall of Barcelona all hold stakes.

The plot, which is located in an area that has “great potential for growth” in Barcelona, can be used for building both homes and commercial premises.

Specifically, it has a buildability of 8,221 m2, of which 7,346 m2 will be used for homes and the remaining 875 m2 will be used for shops.

The land forms part of the plots freed up for railway use generated by the construction of the station. The amount obtained from its auction will contribute to financing the new railway.

In fact, the joint venture company that is developing the station has obtained 63% more than the estimated sales price for this plot, of €6.4 million. That was what allowed Corp Promotors to acquire the land and fight off competition from the other three firms that were also bidding for it.

The company behind the construction of La Sagrera station is owned by the Ministry of Development through its companies Adif, which holds a 37.5% stake, and Renfe, which owns another 12.5% stake. The Town Hall of Barcelona owns 15% and La Generalitat the remaining 25%.

Original story: Europa Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

Baraka Injects €13.4M to Strengthen its Residential & Commercial Businesses

17 May 2018 – Eje Prime

Trinitario Casanova is continuing to add projects to his real estate business in Spain. The Murcian group Baraka has just injected another €13.4 million into its companies that specialise in the residential and commercial sectors. The group’s upcoming plans in Spain include initiating operations in Chamartín, where it has just acquired a plot of land measuring 1.2 million m2.

According to the Official Gazette of the Mercantile Registry (Borme), Baraka has injected another €10 million into its company Baraka Renta. That business division of the group focuses primarily on the purchase of land and the subsequent development and execution of rentals for various companies, both domestic and international, in the food sector.

Baraka has also strengthened its company Baraka House, where it has increased the share capital by €3.5 million. That branch of the group focuses on the development of high-rise homes for young people. “This new line is being carried out in the main cities in Spain thanks to the use of pre-fabricated constructions”, explain sources at Baraka.

In this way, the group is injecting new resources into its companies to undertake new real estate projects in Spain. The latest deal that Casanova has carried out focuses on Madrid, specifically the Operación Chamartín macro-project.

The Murcian businessman has paid €400 million to the original owners of some of the plots of land in Operación Chamartín for their reversion rights to develop 1.2 million m2 of land that is currently owned by Adif.

Rente expropriated these plots with the idea of building the railway station on the site, but, subsequently, the public company reached an agreement with BBVA and Grupo San José to develop the land.

Both companies created the property developer Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN), which is now leading this urban development operation that is going to build 10,500 homes on a surface area spanning 2.66 million m2.

Nevertheless, Casanova wants to take advantage of the claim being made by the reversionists, who are asking the administration to be awarded the right to acquire their former plots in the event that Renfe decided to change the use for which they were expropriated and to sell them, as has actually happened, according to these parties.

Casanova’s next steps for this project in Chamartín involve first paying a cheque for €400 million to the reversionists, who have received a small payment for now whilst they wait for the rights that they are requesting to be activated or not, and later on to pay €1 billion to Adif for the outright purchase of the plots. That is the amount that DCN has promised to pay the Spanish railway manager.

Second generation and reinforcements for the property developer 

Proof that the residential sector is firmly in Baraka’s sights came with the appointment of Fuensanta Casanova, daughter of Trinitario Casanova, as the Head of Development and Investment at Baraka, as Eje Prime revealed in Madrid (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

El Corte Inglés Should Receive Approval for Madrid Mega-Centre in March

23 December 2017 – Expansión

Three years have passed since El Corte Inglés acquired the most sought-after plot of land in Madrid, a space measuring 13,000 m2, located on Paseo de la Castellana. The group paid €136 million to be awarded the land, previously owned by Adif, in a deal that involved an initial payment of €68 million, followed by the disbursement of the remaining amount three years later. And that is also how long it has taken for El Corte Inglés to process the paperwork to allow it to expand the jewel in its crown, its Castellana shopping centre. According to sources familiar with the process, in January, the Town Hall of Madrid will submit its approval of the definitive plan to the central Spanish Government (…). According to the same sources, if all goes according to plan, El Corte Inglés will receive the green light to expand its Castellana megacentre in March, or, in any case, before the summer.

A complex project

The wait of more than three years to unblock the project has been due to a mix of complexity and bad luck. The urban planning proposal for the land established a total buildable surface area of 35,192 m2, of which 10,176 m2 corresponded to three above-ground storeys for tertiary use and 25,000 m2 to four underground basement floors for parking.

This proposal was very complex given the location of the land, located as it is, right on top of the Nuevos Ministerios Metro and Renfe stations (…).

Once it has been given the green light, it is likely that El Corte Inglés, which declined to comment, will not take long to start the building work to expand its Castellana centre. Its flagship store in the Spanish capital spans a surface area of more than 170,000 m2, with 70,000 m2 of retail space spread over seven floors and 1,600 underground parking spaces. More than 3,000 people work there.

According to sources in the sector, El Corte Inglés will also take the opportunity (of the construction of the new building) to reorganise the retail space that it owns in Nuevos Ministerios, and which includes its stores located between number 83 and 85 Paseo de la Castellana, which it sold to the real estate firm Monthisa in September 2016 through a sale and leaseback agreement (…).

Premium fashion and gastronomy

The marketing and design of the new retail space that El Corte Inglés is preparing to build on the land acquired from Adif is being carried out with the utmost secrecy by the retailer, which has refused to hire real estate agents like normally happens in these types of projects (…).

The most likely course of action is that it will create a premium space to house luxury brands and the highest-level gastronomy – although that is not the only possibility that the retail chain is currently contemplating -. That would strengthen one of the main objectives of its star centre: to attract tourist shoppers in the capital (…).

Original story: Expansión (by V. Osorio and R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Land Shortage Causes House Prices to Soar in Madrid

5 November 2017 – El Mundo

House prices are on the rise in Madrid, due to the shortage of available buildable land and the high pent-up demand (the Spanish capital is capable of absorbing around 10,000 new homes per year and just as many second-hand homes). That was one of the main conclusions from the meeting organised last week by El Mundo in collaboration with Distrito Castellana Norte (DCN) to analyse the likely impact of the 11,000 new homes that are being planned as part of Madrid Nuevo Norte, the official name for the project more commonly known as Operación Chamartín.

According to Luis Corral, CEO of Foro Consultores, Madrid Nuevo Norte is an “absolutely essential project for that area of Madrid”, because both of the existing urban developments, namely, Valdebebas and Arroyo del Fresno, as well as the neighbouring municipalities, Alcobendas and San Sebastían de los Reyes “have run out of land”. In his opinion, “anything that places this part of Madrid on the market is a good thing, even if it causes price inflation, as seen in Valdebebas, where homes now cost more than €3,000/m2″.

Beyond its importance from a residential perspective, “Madrid Nuevo Norte also involves a major urban regeneration project, which offers a golden opportunity to position Madrid as one of the greatest capital cities in Europe”, according to Carolina Roca, Vice-President of the Association of Property Developers in Madrid (Asprima). In this sense, the final plans – which will probably be approved during the course of next year – include the construction of a large business centre, as well as a major refit of Chamartín station (which will house the future headquarters of Adif and Renfe).

Although this is an ambitious project from every perspective, “the area to the north of Madrid has capacity to absorb much higher figures than the 11,000 homes currently forecast”, says Samuel Población, Head of Residential and Land at the consultancy firm CBRE. “The absorption rate that we have seen in Valdebebas in just five years serves as an example”, he adds.

Moreover, the current rates of house building confirm that demand is continuing to grow right across the Community of Madrid. Based on the number of construction permits granted, the region is currently building 22,000 properties per year, a figure that contrasts with the 80,000 properties that are going to be built in Spain as a whole in 2017. According to Roca, “property development is performing well in Madrid, but the same dynamism is not being replicated across the country and so, we are still a long way off the 150,000 homes per year that need to be built”. That means that the region “has doubled its weight, something that is not positive because Madrid cannot cope with the real estate business of the whole of Spain”.

But the main problem, according to the head of the Madrilenian property developers, is that the municipal authorities are not responding to this increase in demand by offering new plots of land. “The available buildable land will have been used up in three or four years and no one is performing the repositioning that is necessary for after that period”. (…).

The main consequence of the shortage of raw material in the hands of property developers “is a significant rise in the prices of plots, which end up being passed on in the form of more expensive house prices”, explains Población (…).

In this context, Corral also stressed the need to promote new urban developments as “generators of homes for the most disadvantaged households, as shown by the more than 2,200 social housing units included in Madrid Nuevo Norte (…).

Original story: El Mundo (by Rubén G. López)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Foro Consultores: Land Prices Soar In Certain Pockets Of Madrid

13 February 2017 – El Confidencial

Land prices are soaring, house prices are rising, the buying frenzy is gaining momentum in some areas and in certain developments…Is history repeating itself? Are we witnessing the gestation of a new real estate bubble, albeit not on a national scale, but nevertheless in certain areas of the country. That is what seems to be happening in some neighbourhoods of Madrid. But, the answer, for the time being at least, seems unanimous: not yet.

Buildable land, in other words, land that is ready to be built upon, is running out and, across Spain, there is barely enough land left upon which to construct the 1.5 million homes estimated to be required to supply the market for the next 8.6 years. In Madrid, the land will run out in just over 6 years, according to the latest report from the appraisal company Tinsa. It identifies a worrying shortage of this type of land in areas of expansion to the north of Madrid, as well as in certain specific points of the metropolitan area, such as Pozuelo, Villanueva de la Cañada, Coslada and Rivas. In some of these areas, according to warnings from Tinsa, there will be no buildable land left within 12-24 months. This situation has, unsurprisingly, led to sharp increases in land prices in certain areas. And these rises are concerning the sector. Where are these first warning signs starting to sound?

Valdebebas

The large real estate development in the north of Madrid, which was launched at the height of the crisis and which has fallen victim to numerous legal setbacks, has become, in the eyes of the residential sector, a clear example of the extent to which land can become a very sought-after, as well as a very dangerous, asset.

“Without doubt, it is one of the areas where land prices have grown significantly. In 2014, they ranged between €750/m2 and €900/m2, whereas nowadays operations are being closed for more than €1,200/m2 and €1,300/m2, and the perception in the market is that land can no longer be sold for less than €1,400/m2”, explained Vicente Quintanilla, Director of the department for Investment and Land at Foro Consultores. According to this expert, “this trend generates significant tension in terms of the prices of new builds, which are being sold for €3,000/m2 in certain developments”. (…).

Pozuelo, Aravaca…

Another market where prices have also risen significantly is the municipality of Pozuelo de Alarcón, where Sareb sold land for around €1,000/m2. (…).

Indeed, the supply of land in Pozuelo has completely run out and families in need of homes are heading to other markets, such as in Boadilla del Monte, a cheaper alternative. According to data from Foro Consultores, the gap in prices is very significant. “To give you an idea, a family home or chalet in Boadilla costs around €450,000 on average, compared with between €700,000 and €1 million in Pozuelo.

Scarce and sought-after plots of land have also seen sharp price increases in recent years. “In El Camino de Barrial, in Aravaca, land prices have risen from €1,200/m2 in 2014 to around €2,000/m2 now. (….).

Boadilla del Monte, at boiling point

Boadilla del Monte is another one of the markets that has experienced a huge boom over the last two years. And there, it has not been due to the scarcity of land, but rather because of the strong demand from families who, as described above, cannot find homes in Pozuelo de Alarcón.

“For family home plots, land prices have increased from €400-500/m2 in 2014 to €800-900/m2 in2016, say Foro Consultores. (…).

Euphoria in Méndez Álvaro and rises in El Cañaveral

In the heart of the capital, where land is noteworthy due to its absence, land prices have increased considerably. In 2014, buyers paid €1,000/m2 and in a recent operation, whereby Adif and Renfe sold a plot to Vía Célere, the price paid amounted to around €1,900/m2. (…).

This increase in land prices is not exclusive to the area to the north of Madrid (…). The price of more affordable land and cheaper homes has also risen significantly in recent months.

Such is the case of El Cañaveral, in the east of Madrid, where “last summer, land prices amounted to around €360-370/m2 and now plots are going for €450-500/m2” (…).

Finally, all of the experts lament the fact that during the crisis, no agreement was reached to manage land, which has resulted in this significant shortage and in the inevitable increase in prices. They advocate greater agility in terms of urban planning, especially where the shortage is leading to a bottleneck in the market.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Electoral Shift May Undermine Operación Chamartín

27 May 2015 – El Mundo

The Ministry of Development fears that the electoral shift may undermine the plans for the project known as Distrito Castellana Norte, which is worth more than €6,000 million.

From June, the new municipal political map in Spain will face decisions regarding the future of dozens of urban development projects in the country’s large capital cities, worth thousands of millions of euros, many of which are still awaiting licence approvals from their respective town halls.

The largest one is Operación Chamartín, in Madrid, the largest urban development plan in the capital. The project has been in the pipeline for 20 years – four less than the Partido Popular held office for at the town hall – and was accelerated in recent months by the incumbent mayoress, Ana Botella, in an effort to obtain the final approvals.

The inability to comply with all of the procedures required for the operation, located in the North of the capital, covering 3.7 km in length and three million square metres in surface area, with plans to build 17,000 homes, as well as offices, retail areas and green spaces, forced Botella to leave the final approval (of the project) in the hands of her successors at the Town Hall. Specifically, to the resolution of around 1,800 claims and above all, to the approval of a partial plan for the extension of the Paseo de la Castellana.

Until 24 May, it was expected that a new municipal team led by the Partido Popular would continue the project, which promises to transfer the centre of the city from Puerta del Sol to the North. But the setback suffered by the Partido Popular in the capital last Sunday leaves the project in the air. The most likely option, that of a left-wing coalition between Ahora Madrid and the PSOE, is raising concerns amongst the stakeholders. The focus of the likely team, led by Manuela Carmena, would centre on social housing rather than on million-euro urban developments.

The project known as Distrito Castellana Norte is estimated to be worth more than €6,000 million; BBVA and the construction company Grupo San José are the main partners in terms of financing and development. The operation also includes municipal and regional land, but the majority is owned by the Ministry of Development, and in particular, its two largest companies: Renfe and Adif.

The urban development plan that Ana Botella was unable to finalise involves covering over the train tracks at Chamartín station. The value that the sale of this land to BBVA and San José would have for the companies owned by the Ministry of Development amounts to €1,200 million, most of which would be paid to Adif, whose debt amounts to €18,000 million this year, making it the State’s most indebted public company, behind only the FROB (Fund for the Orderly Restructuring of the Banking Sector). Given the financing needs of the conventional railway infrastructure companies and the lack of funds available for such investments, the minister Ana Pastor has publicly backed the plan. In fact, Adif was already counting on the payment of €200 million this year based on the approval of the pendingpartial Plan.

Now the deadlines are being called into question, at least the fast-track option is, which carries the support of the incumbent town hall. But the amendment, rejection or definitive approval of the largest chapter in the capital’s urban planning cannot be left on the sidelines for long.

After its launch in 1995, with the granting of land to the current BBVA, the project has survived (changes in) municipal teams, real estate bubbles and judicial processes, which have delayed its approval and halved the value that the property developers were guaranteed to generate.

In the end, last year, the grant was awarded, but BBVA and the Grupo San José extended their offer up to a maximum deadline of 2016. If there is no partial plan by the new Town Hall and the new extension expires, the Ministry of Development will see its largest urban development project die, although it is likely to be a legacy that another Government will pick up in due course.

Original story: El Mundo (by César Urrutia)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Villar Mir Will Build A New Skyscraper On La Castellana

30 April 2015 – Expansión

Through his real estate subsidiary Espacio, the businessman Juan Miguel Villar Mir has been awarded the plot of land behind the Cuatro Torres complex in Madrid, where he will build a private hospital and a shopping area.

There will soon been a fifth skyscraper in the complex known, until now, as the Cuatro Torres Business Area, on the Paseo de la Castellana, in Madrid. Yesterday, the Town Hall of Madrid announced that it was awarding the plot of land located behind the complex, to the real estate company Espacio, owned by the businessman Juan Miguel Villar Mir.

Espacio will construct a private hospital with a shopping area on this land. The businessman, who also owns the construction company OHL and who is the primary shareholder of Colonial, has won the award process for this plot of land, where the Town Hall of Madrid was originally going to build the International Convention Centre, before it was forced to suspend its plans in 2010, due to a lack of funding.

At the end of 2014, Ana Botella’s Government decided to seek an alternative plan for this plot of land and it organised a bid in which it asked for participants to offer an annual fee of €1.935 million for the right to use the plot of land. Four bids were submitted but only two were admitted since one did not exceed the (minimum) required fee and the other was ruled out for formal reasons.

One of the two projects that made the cut was led by the property company Hispania, which presented its bid jointly with Ferrovial, and committed itself to paying €2.6 million (per year). Villar Mir, meanwhile, offered to pay €4 million per year for the next 75 years.

The land situated just behind the existing Cuatro Torres has a surface area of 33,325 square metres and a buildable area of 70,000 square metres. In this space, to which a green area measuring 33,647 square metres will be added, the winning bidder will have to allocate 53,500 square metres for public use; the remaining 16,500 square metres may be destined for commercial use.

Villar Mir’s proposal is to construct a skyscraper, which will be similar to the other towers in terms of height and which will house a hospital. “The building will be as tall as the neighbouring towers and will house health services, and the top floors will be occupied by scientific companies linked to the health sector”.

Moreover, next to the skyscrapers, Espacio will create another, low-level building, which will be used to provide recreational and commercial services for the new skyscraper and the four existing ones, which mainly house offices. “Most of the construction will be horizontal, built in a north-south direction, over the entire floor of the structure that has already been constructed and designed based on landscaped terraces, which will descend from the high public square down to the pedestrian access, which is reached from the plot classified as a green area”, said (a representative from) the project.

In addition, the new skyscraper will be connected to the four that have already been constructed – which all have direct access from the Castellana – through a landscaped pedestrian zone.

In total, Villar Mir will invest €500 million in the project, including both the full (canon) payment and the construction work. Of this amount, €134.06 million will be spent on the building and development of the plot.

This project comes in addition to the plan to lengthen the Paseo de la Castellana by 3.7km to the north on land that Renfe and Adif own in the area.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Who’s Who In The ‘Operación Chamartín’ Project?

2 March 2015 – Expansión

Madrid / The most important real estate project to be undertaken in Spain in recent years is being driven by BBVA and the San José group, which together own the development company; three public bodies are also participating in the project, as well as companies such as Renfe.

On 30 January, a swarm of photographers surrounded tens of public figures including distinguished representatives from the financial world, such as Francisco González, Chairman of BBVA, and Spanish businessmen and politicians. It was not a chance encounter, but rather a meeting to formally present of one of the largest real estate developments ever planned in Spain and one of the most important in the world today: the Castellana Norte project.

The official presentation of the development, known until now as Operación Chamartín, put the finishing touches to more than two decades of negotiations and collaborative work between public and private companies.

The project, which will require an investment of almost €6,000 million for the development of almost 3 million square metres (of land), has required consensus from the developers, BBVA and the constructor group, San José, as well as the Town Hall of Madrid, the Community of Madrid, the Ministry of Development and executives at Renfe. But, which role will each party be taking on?

“This would not have been possible without the support of BBVA”, announced one of the real estate experts who has worked, together with 31 professional teams from more than twenty countries, on the preparation of the Castellana North project. The financial entity owns 75.5% of the plan’s developer, the Castellana Norte Madrid company (formerly Dutch), having inherited the stake from Argentaria following its acquisition in 1999. The company is the owner of the rights of 61.6% of the land (amounting to almost two million square metres).

Its partner in this (development) company is the construction group San José. The company owned by Jacinto Rey had to divest its real estate assets during the last refinancing process it underwent. Nevertheless, it managed to retain its stake in the former company Dutch, showing its commitment to this project, which is expected to be executed over 20 years.

After the Castellana Norte company, the Town Hall of Madrid owns the next largest plot of land, with a 5.3% stake. On 19 February, the Council approved the revision of the Partial Plan for the Interior Reform of Operación Chamartín (Plan Parcial de Reforma Interior de la Operación Chamartín), which will organise the 3,114,336 square metres under development.

In that document, the Town Hall has committed to carrying out the construction works of the Nudo Norte (North Junction) and Nudo Fuencarral (Fuencarral Junction) set out in the plan, although the expenses incurred will be borne by the developer.

Renfe

62% of the land owned by the company Castellana Norte was transferred from Renfe. This land is partly occupied by the train tracks that converge at Chamartín station. The railway company, which reports to the Ministry of Development, will receive €1,250 million for the transfer of this land over a 20 year period.

Furthermore, Renfe, which owns 1.4% of the land, together with Adif, will take responsibility for the execution of the remodelling of Chamartín Station; the construction of the new tunnel to connect the high speed line between Atocha and Chamartín; the construction of the stations in Fuencarral; and the construction of the structure that will cover the tracks.

Meanwhile, the Community of Madrid will be responsible for the design and execution of the construction of the new metro line that will run through the area, but the cost of that will be borne by the management company.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake