The Government Lifts the Veto on Construction Work in Buildings with Residents

The Ministry of Health is partially lifting the prohibition over the performance of non-emergency building work in both residential and commercial properties.

The Government is going to allow construction work to be carried out in buildings inhabited by residents. That is reflected in Order SND / 385/2020 issued by the Ministry of Health in the Official State Gazette published in an extraordinary way on Sunday.

“In order to limit the concentration of people in buildings where work is being carried out, and where construction workers have to share certain common spaces with the residents and other users, order SND / 340/2020 dated 12 April was approved. It suspends certain activities relating to intervention work in existing buildings where there is a risk of contagion by Covid-19. The evolution of the health crisis is forcing the adaptation of the measures adopted and in this framework, the Order must be amended to include, within the works excepted from the suspension, those carried out in premises, homes or other specific areas of an uninhabited building or areas to which residents do not have access for the duration of the work, provided that the conditions established in this order are met”, states the decree.

AC Hotels to Invest €5M in its First ‘Autograph’ in Valencia

1 October 2018 – El Mundo

AC Hotels, owned by the Navarran businessman Antonio Catalán, has acquired the rights to operate the former CAM building in Valencia, on the central street, Calle Pascual y Genís. Until now, the tenant was the Valencian firm Join Contract, which was granted use of the property by Solvia Group (Banco Sabadell) for 30 years in July, and which is now placing that use into the hands of this prestigious chain.

According to sources speaking to El Mundo, the firm AC Hotels competed against other major chains in the sector including NH and Barceló, as well as the local chain Grupo Intur, owned by the Gimeno family, which controls a large proportion of the major hotels in Benicàssim. Nevertheless, AC Hotels, which already has a hotel very close to what will become its newest location, decided to push hard for this site to whereby expand its business with the construction of what will be its first luxury hotel in Valencia.

That is why it will be called ‘Autograph’, the high-end brand that this operator uses to distinguish its top hotels. It will be the first of its kind in Valencia, although the firm has other luxury hotels with these characteristics operating under the same brand in Madrid and Barcelona.

Sources familiar with the operation have said that AC Hotels is going to invest almost €5 million in the renovation of the iconic building. If there are no delays, the building work will begin before the end of the year. The execution of the work will be carried out by the Valencian firm Join Contract, the same entity that has transferred the use of the asset to AC Hotels for 30 years (…).

More than 60 rooms

Although the project is still in its preliminary phase, some details have been published about the future AC Hotels Autograph. With a surface area of 4,500 m2 (580 m2 per floor), the hotel will have around 60 rooms, including suites and standard rooms. There will be a restaurant and hall on the ground floor, and there will be a small swimming pool for guests on the roof (…). The building will have nine floors in total, two of which will be used for parking (…).

Antonio Catalán, leader in the sector

AC Hoteles, from Antonio Catalán, is one of the leading chains in the hotel sector in Spain. It was founded in 1997 by this established Navarran businessman, who previously sold the NH chain to an investment fund for €70 million. After founding AC Hoteles, Catalán sold half of his shares to the chain Marriott for €80 million. Today they have more than 140 hotels open or under development around the world (…).

Original story: El Mundo (by Sergio Aspas)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Operación Neo: Lone Star Negotiates Sale of Former Fecsa-Endesa HQ in Barcelona

28 November 2017 – El Confidencial

Lone Star is on the verge of closing another chapter in its history, with the sale of the last major asset that forms part of Project Octopus, a portfolio comprising more than €4,000 million in real estate loans from the bank Eurohypo in Spain and Portugal, which the US fund acquired three years ago, in conjunction with JP Morgan.

The asset in question is the former headquarters of Fecsa-Endesa in Cataluña, a building with a surface area of 35,000 m2, whose three chimneys form part of Barcelona’s skyline and regarding which, it is holding exclusive negotiations with the joint forces of the Tramway group and the German vehicle Indigo Capital.

The conversations are now in the home stretch and may even be closed this afternoon, according to sources familiar with the process, although they also indicate that a second finalist is waiting in the wings, which could take over if these negotiations do not end up proving fruitful.

This operation marks another step forward in Lone Star’s strategy to unwind its positions in the Spanish real estate market, following the sale of the rest of Project Octopus and of the property developer Neinor Homes. That company debuted on the stock market in the spring and following several share sales, the US fund now only controls a 13% stake. Moreover, it goes against the grain of the current situation in the real estate market in Cataluña, which has all but come to a standstill due to the ‘independentista’ challenge.

This property, which has been empty for five years, has both environmental and change of use problems, which have certainly conditioned its sale. Constructed on the site of an old coal generation plan at the beginning of the 20th century, the subsoil of the plot contains impurities from the former coal and gas operations, which constitute the main risk to this operation and which have convinced other interested parties to withdraw from the process.

Impact of the sovereign challenge

In addition, the property has a key 4 urban planning rating, which restricts its use to public services with a technical component. In fact, its former owner, Grupo Sanjosé, which acquired the building from Endesa in a “sale & leaseback” operation, did not manage to resolve the change of use, which allowed Lone Star to execute the debt linked to the building in 2015.

And so on and so forth, because the sovereign crisis in Cataluña was about to bring down the process, launched in September and managed by JLL, in which firms such as Meridia, Colonial, Oaktree, Tristan, GreenOak, Värde and Stoneweg expressed an interest, according to sources.

In the end, only two candidates have submitted bids, for around €20 million, and the winner will likely have to double that investment figure in order to be able to carry out all of the renovation work that this asset requires to be in a position to generate value again.

Original story: El Confidencial (by R. Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Antonio Calero Acquires Paseo Neptuno, 72 In Valencia

4 November 2016 – Real Estate Press

Through one of his companies, the businessman Antonio Calero has acquired the building located on Paseo de Neptuno, number 72, owned until now by Ernesto Martínez Colomer.

Calero is the main shareholder of the Marina Beach Club complex in Valencia, whose name will also be used on this occasion.

With a total investment of €14 million, to cover the cost of buying the building and converting it into a hotel, Calero, plans to turn the property into a hotel and restaurant.

The three-storey building has a similar structure to those of other hotel complexes in the surrounding area, which has been established by the municipal legislation that applies to the area, and especially to these types of buildings that overlook the Paseo Marítimo and the beach.

The municipal constraints also affect the design of the property, in such a way that the final façade still needs to be agreed in conjunction with the Town Hall of Valencia. In any case, the project has been assigned to the architect José Martí from the ERRE studio, a personal friend of the businessman, who is looking for a totally renewed and different concept at the club, with the fundamental premise that the complex be “very representative of the Valencian character”.

Each one of the hotel’s 50 rooms will be fashioned by a local designer, who will source supplies from major companies in the furniture and furnishings sector, including Andreu World, Viccarbe and Porcelanosa, according to Calero. “The idea is that our clients will be able to experience up to 50 different nights”, said the owner.

Calero also highlighted the “exclusive” character of this new project. The price per room will reflect the rates charged in the area for a 5-star hotel. Although the figures have not been determined yet, competitors in the area charge between €150 and €900 per night.

Those figures are based on low season rates at the nearby Hotel Balnerio Las Arenas, located just a few metres away. At Hotel Neptuno, which is also nearby, but which is a 4-star property, prices range between €100 and €400 per night.

In any case, to obtain the highest distinction in terms of hotel category, the owner will have to make a series of structural changes to the property, which still need to be defined.

The purchase has just been completed, which means that the project is in its very early stages. The application for the building licence and permits will now be submitted and the construction work is expected to take at least 15 months, which means that it is unlikely that the hotel will open for another two years. In other words, the new hotel should be ready for summer 2018.

Original story: Real Estate Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

Villar Mir Engages Colliers To Accelerate Partial Sale Of Canalejas

26 September 2016 – Expansión

Grupo Villar Mir, the controlling shareholder of OHL, is making progress with its aggressive divestment plan, through which it aims to reduce its own level of indebtedness, as well as that of the construction company, and solve the financial problems that it finds itself immersed in. To this end, the industrial holding company has accelerated the search process to identify an investor willing to buy some of the complex of Canalejas buildings in Madrid.

Specifically, the Villar Mir group, which controls the project through a holding company (75%) and OHL (25%) has engaged the real estate consultancy Colliers to analyse the sale of a minority stake in the Canalejas complex, the real estate project that it is currently developing in the centre of Madrid.

The aim is to analyse the proposals that various investment groups have submitted to the owner of OHL, to participate in the project, which is expected to require an investment of €500 million. “This analysis phase will be completed in October and only then will we be able to take a decision regarding the possible partial divestment, whilst retaining control over and our commitment to the project”, said sources at the company.

According to El Confidencial, a number of possible interested parties are presenting themselves as contenders, including the international funds TH Real Estate and Lone Star.

In any case, Villar Mir will retain a majority stake in the project, given that its intention is to sell a stake of between 30% and 49%.

At the beginning of 2013, Villar Mir purchased seven buildings from Banco Santander, located between Calles de Alcalá, Sevilla and Plaza de Canalejas, for €215 million. The complex will house a luxury hotel managed by the Four Seasons chain, around 20 homes associated with the hotel, a shopping centre covering 15,000 sqm and a 500-space car park.

Initially, Villar Mir hoped to open the complex at the end of 2016, but problems with the Town Hall of Madrid relating to the renovation work delayed the project and it is now not expected to open until 2018. The construction company has launched a comprehensive divestment plan. Its portfolio of assets available for sale include 7% of Abertis, the industrial division, and the Mayacobá Mexican hotels. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by C. Morán and R. Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Renovation Work Begins At Hotel Princesa

6 July 2015 – Expansión

The Hotel Princesa in Madrid now forms part of the US-based luxury hotel chain Marriott.

On Friday, the iconic building became the Hotel Courtyard By Marriott Madrid Princesa.

The renovation work that is underway is expected to be completed at the beginning of 2016.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake