Café Iruña Building in Bilbao Goes On The Market for €20M

28 February 2018 – El Correo

The Heredia-Spínola family, owner of the property that has been home to the popular Café Iruña since 1903, has the future of one of the large real estate operations in Bilbao in its hands, after putting the building up for sale for €20 million. In addition to the hostelry establishment, which has been operated by the businesswoman Alicia Garmendia since 1980, the building, which has one of the most spectacular chamfered street corners on the Ensanche, also houses more than twenty companies on its upper floors.

Offices for lawyers and attorneys as well as for business and tax advisors, massage salons, yoga and pilates studios, insurance broker desks, psychologist and psychiatric clinics, study and documentation centres and even a nursing home are some of the services that occupy the six storeys of one of the most iconic premises of the Vizcayan capital. The Chinese Institute also has its headquarters in this building with views over Colón de Larreátegui and Berastegi.

There have been lots of comings and goings in the property since its owners expressed their intention to put the building on the market a few months ago. The operation, which is being undertaken with the utmost secrecy, is keeping a large number of its tenants in suspense. Most companies have been paying old rents, which are well below current market prices, for several years. But some are now starting to move out as their contracts are expiring and the new rents, more in line with the prevailing prices in the centre of the town, are proving unviable, both in the office and retail segments.

One of the fashion stores located on the ground floor of the property closed its doors several weeks ago after its rental cost increased. The other – Quo Bilbao – dedicated to the sale of clothing and accessories for women, which has been selling off its stock at a discount for weeks with articles costing between €10 and €50, is still open and has no intention of shutting down (…).

A hotel or luxury homes

Those who are also clear that “under no circumstances” shall they move from the site that they have occupied for 115 years are the managers of Café Iruña, the most popular cafeteria in Bilbao. Coincidently, it will reopen its doors tomorrow after being closed since last Monday to undertake several maintenance and conservation jobs (…). The Iruña Servicios de Hostelería Group confirmed that (…) under no circumstances will the change of ownership affect the operation of the business, which was founded on 7 July 1903 by the Navarran property developer Severo Unzue and which has become famous for its Moorish pintxos, amongst other snacks.

“We employ almost 30 people and we are going to continue”, insisted Garmendia. With two years to go until the current contract expires, only an exorbitant increase in the rental price may call into question the survival of this establishment, which spans 300 m2 and whose décor is inspired by the Mudejars with polychrome ceilings and stunning tiles that captivate thousands of tourists, making it one of the main restaurants of choice  in the city (…).

The companies that enjoy this central location are under the impression that the new owners could convert the property into luxury homes or turn it into a hotel (…).

Original story: El Correo (by Luis Gómez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

C&W: 876,000 m2 of Logistics Space was Leased in Madrid in 2017

9 January 2018 -Eje Prime

The logistics sector is starting 2018 with a bang. The industrial sector is soaring, after breaking records last year, with the leasing of 876,000 m2 of space in Madrid, its strongest location. That figure represents an increase of 80% with respect to 2016 and is the highest recorded in the last decade, exceeding even the 800,000 m2 of space that was leased in 2007, according to data from the real estate consultancy Cushman & Wakefield.

Similarly, the number of operations signed in relation to the purchase of warehouses and logistics centres amounted to 66, whereby exceeding the 50 recorded in 2016, and the average size of the surface area leased was 15,000 m2.

The areas bordering the A-2 and the A-4 were the most sought-after, as reflected by the influence that they had on the total volume of space leased in Madrid as a whole: the first area accounted for 60% of all operations, whilst assets located along the road to Valencia accounted for another 26% of transactions.

That significant increase in the sale of logistics land also resulted in a rise in prime rents. 2017 closed with an average price per square metre of €5.25/m2.

Meanwhile, in Barcelona, 450,000 m2 of logistics space was leased during 2017, which represents a decrease compared to 2016 when 645,000 m2 of space was leased, primarily because two large operations were registered during that year, with the arrival of Amazon and Mango, which incorporated warehouses with surface areas of 200,000 m2.

In the Catalan capital, by contrast, prime rents rose by 12.5%. The latest data shows an average price per square metre of logistics space of €6.25/m2 in the Mediterranean city. That rate is the highest of any of the capital cities in Southern Europe and is one of the highest on the continent. London is still the most expensive enclave for leasing warehouses and logistics centres with a price per square metre of around €15/m2.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Barcelona’s Vía Portaferrissa Looks To Reposition Itself As Prime Real Estate

27 November 2017 – Eje Prime

Portaferrissa is claiming its place amongst the prime shopping streets of Barcelona once again. The road has a privileged location, between Portal de l’Àngel and Las Ramblas, receives local and tourist traffic and has several available retail spaces, but its prices are not competitive and only a handful of operations have been closed in recent times. Now, two historical properties are making a move to put Portaferrissa back on the prime map.

One of them is at number 25, so-called Casa Gralla, which until just a few months ago was occupied by Pepe Jeans. The property is owned by the Casacuberta family, which also controls the building that houses the Decathlon store on Calle Canuda, as part of a portfolio containing more than twenty assets.

During the 1990s, the ground floor premises of number 25 housed shopping arcades, Gralla Hall, but that closed at the beginning of the 2000s, when the model showed its first signs of weakness.

Pepe Jeans then took over the lease of the premises and sub-leased part of the space to Quiksilver, which remained for years. Nevertheless, that company did not invest in creating a retail store, other than eliminating the separation of the former arcade.

The Casacuberta family has now begun to renovate the property to merge the two spaces, which will span 1,900 m2 after the renovation. The most recent significant negotiations (held with a view to finding a tenant) were with Adidas, with which a pre-agreement was reached, although the operation did not end up going ahead.

Now, the property is facing its third year on the market, although its prices, which are well above market rates, may still be a barrier.

Another one of the premises on the market on Portaferrissa is Palau Castanyer, which currently houses the Art Montfalcó souvenir shop. That property was sold to KKH Capital group in November for €24 million.

Falling prices 

Portaferrissa begins at La Rambla dels Estudis and ends at La Plaça de la Cucurulla, just stone’s throw from the very busy Portal de l’Àngel. Prices on the street reached their peaks before the crisis, with an average of €1,808/m2 per year in 2005, although the prices of stores measuring less than 100 m2 ended up exceeding €2,500/m2.

However, since then, prices have plummeted, by around 30%, according to sources in the sector. “In 2007, River Island rented the store at number 13 for €970,000, and a few years later, it was leased for €600,000”, say the same sources.

According to the recent report Main Streets Across the World, compiled by the consultancy firm Cushman & Wakefield, the average rental price per square metre per year on Portaferrissa amounted to €1,980 in 2016, in line with the previous year.

Original story: Eje Prime (by I. P. Gestal)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Merlin To Invest €460M On Improving Its RE Portfolio

24 October 2017 – El Español

Merlin Properties plans to invest around €459 million in the renovation and improvement of several office buildings, shopping centres and logistics facilities that comprise its real estate portfolio. The entity plans to undertake this work between 2018 and 2021, according to reports from the Socimi in which Santander and BBVA hold a stake.

The company led by Ismael Clemente (pictured above) calculates that these improvements will generate additional revenues from rental income amounting to €60.9 million per annum.

Merlin estimates that these improvements, together with its management and the natural growth of the assets, will allow it to raise its current revenue from rental income by 22% and whereby exceed the €500 million threshold, without the need to purchase any new properties.

That is according to the company, which is currently the largest listed real estate firm by asset value. It is holding its “Investor Day” in Barcelona this week, despite the uncertainty currently hanging over Cataluña.

During the event, the firm unveiled a presentation, which has been submitted to Spain’s National Securities Exchange Commission (CNMV), detailing the assets that Merlin plans to renovate.

The list includes the building that houses Sacyr’s headquarters in the centre of Madrid, at numbers 83 and 85 on Paseo de la Castellana, the heart of the capital’s business district.

The Socimi will spend €20 million on a comprehensive renovation of that property, which it expects to complete by 2020 and which will involve a radical change to its external appearance, which will be completely glazed.

Merlin’s list of renovations also includes investments and construction work in Barcelona, in properties as iconic as Torre Glories, the building formerly known as Torre Agbar.

There, the firm will spend €15 million to convert the tower into a “multi-tenant” office building. Moreover, it will install an observatory at the top of the tower, on the 30th floor (…).

Original story: El Español

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hispavima Buys The Puma Store On c/Fuencarral For €13M

27 September 2017 – Eje Prime

Retail premises are continuing to attract the attention of both international and local investment funds. That is the case of the Murcian firm Hispavima, which has recently acquired the premises at number 33 on Calle Fuencarral, occupied by the sports fashion distribution group Puma, for approximately €13 million. Over the last few years, the company has expanded its portfolio of commercial assets in the capital, with the purchase of stores on coveted streets such as Preciados, Callao and Claudio Coello, amongst others.

The premises that Hispavima has acquired have a retail surface area of 196 m2. According to market sources, Puma pays a monthly rent of €40,000, and the return on the asset is 3.5%. The operation was closed in July, and was brokered by the real estate consultancy CBRE.

Hispavima is led by Jorge Tuchado, who is responsible for the expansion department at the group. Hispavima is the real estate division of Tefim Grupo Financiero, a holding company founded in 2001, which comprises several business lines (…).

The group currently owns 15 million m2 of land in total for tertiary, residential and logistics activity. “Of that, we have more than 1 million m2 of buildable land ready to develop”, says the director (…).

Although the company did not want to provide details about the value of its portfolio of retail premises, it did explain that it now owns more than a dozen assets. Its portfolio includes the Swatch store on c/Preciados; the Banco Santander branch on Callao, 1; and the Cos and Mango stores on c/Claudio Coello and c/Princesa, respectively.

“Over the last few years, we have not been able to purchase everything we have wanted to, given that the competition is much greater and the Spanish market is gaining a lot of interest”, says the director, indicating that the Socimis and international funds are direct competitors when it comes to buying a retail premise (…).

The hype of Fuencarral

The fact that the sports equipment distribution group Decathlon recently announced that it is going to open a macro-store measuring 2,400 m2 in the former Mercado de Fuencarral, on Calle Fuencarral, has served to put the Madrilenian retail thoroughfare on everyone’s radar in the real estate sector.

Fuencarral is one of the main shopping streets in Madrid. A large number of high-medium end fashion brands have stores on the street: from familiar brands such as El Ganso, Scalpers, Superdry, Pepe Jeans, Guess and Tommy Hilfiger to other, more high-end names such as Michael Kors, Maje, G-Star and Diesel.

On its busiest stretch, tenants pay an average rent of €151 per month per square metre. And although that figure has fluctuated somewhat over the last ten years, it is now at its peak, having grown by almost 32% since 2008. This makes Fuencarral a target location for many investment funds who see the retail premises as good assets for investment.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Uniqlo Signs Lease To Open Mega-Store In El Jardín de Serrano (Madrid)

22 September 2017 – Eje Prime

The Revilla brothers are making their investments profitable. The company Hermanos Revilla, which specialises in the acquisition of real estate assets in Madrid, has signed a pre-lease contract with the Japanese fashion chain Uniqlo to open a mega-store in El Jardín de Serrano, a shopping arcade in the heart of the Salamanca neighbourhood. According to sources close to the operation, the store will be opened by 2020 and will see the conversion of the arcade into a single store.

El Jardín de Serrano is located at number 6 on Calle Goya, in the heart of the Salamanca neighbourhood of Madrid. Uniqlo will occupy two floors of the property, specifically the first and basement floors, which together span approximately 1,300 m2. The property, which will be subject to a comprehensive renovation, has been on the market for a long time and had also received interest from groups such as Primark and H&M.

According to the same sources, the rental contracts of all the retail establishments that currently occupy the arcade expire in 2019. In this way, Uniqlo and Hermanos Revilla will have a period of one year to carry out the necessary construction work to transform the property into a large format store. Professionals in the sector consulted by Eje Prime say that Uniqlo will pay rent of approximately €2.5 million per year.

El Jardín de Serrano underwent a remodelling project in 2011. It has a total surface area of 3,700 m2, spread over four floors. If Uniqlo does end up moving into the property (it has included a cancellation clause in the pre-lease contract, to be invoked in the event that “a better opportunity arises”), then the two upper floors will continue to be used as offices. This will represent the fashion chain’s first store in Madrid.

Sources at Hermanos Revilla declined to comment about the deal, whilst some of the establishments that currently operate in the shopping arcade confirmed that they are aware that negotiations are underway for a fashion brand to open a large store in the building.

Hermanos Revilla is one of the main investment families in the real estate sector in Madrid. The company owns a portfolio of properties comprising office buildings and shopping centres, such as the case of El Jardín de Serrano.

Currently, Hermanos Revilla own a dozen office buildings located in the financial district of Madrid, including iconic assets on Paseo de la Castellana, where it owns number 41, the buildings at numbers 29 and 8 on Calle Goya (which together span a surface area of more than 10,000 m2 for offices and retail use) and number 35 on Calle Jorge Juan.

Hermanos Revilla also owns other properties in the Chamberí area, with a building at number 2 on c/José Abascal; in Chamartín, with an asset at number 132 on Principe de Vergara; the Musgo 1 and Musgo 3 buildings in the Moncloa area and four buildings on the outskirts of Madrid, in the M-30 and A-2 districts.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

# Of Estate Agents Grow With A Vengeance In The Community Of Madrid

19 September 2017 – Real Estate Press

The resurgence of real estate activity in Spain, and in particular, in the Community of Madrid, has given rise to a significant increase in the number of companies in the sector, which have grown by 18.5% since 2014. Currently, the Community of Madrid has 31,384 real estate companies and 33,616 real estate related premises. In other words, one for every 192 inhabitants.

So far this year, 41,641 homes have been sold in Madrid, up by 17% compared to a year ago, and up by 30% compared to two years ago. Moreover, prices rose by 10.9% in the second quarter of 2017 with respect to the previous year. In addition, rental prices have risen by 11% over the last year.

Jaime Cabrero, President of the Official College of Real Estate Agents in Madrid, says that “Normally, when the sales market is strong, the rental market is weaker, and vice versa, but now both sectors are booming”. He added that “Naturally, we are seeing an increase in (the number of) real estate companies (…); there are 33,616 estate agent premises”, which is a high number of establishments dedicated to real estate activity.

According to figures from the Central Directory of Companies, compiled by Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE), over the last three years, the number of estate agent premises has risen by 5,377. The increase in the number of companies, many of which have more than one branch, amounts to 4,912. Logically, this activity has an impact on employment. During the second half of 2017, the sector provided work to 29,300 people, according to the INE’s Active Population Survey, 8,800 more than in 2014 and the highest figure for the last decade.

In fact, the real estate activity category includes all companies dedicated to the sale, purchase or rental of all kinds of properties, including “lessors, agents and brokers”, as well as other key services, such as appraisal. The category also includes companies dedicated to construction, which then carry out the maintenance and rental of buildings, as well as managers of real estate properties. The sub-category containing the latter – “real estate activities on behalf of third parties” – grew by 1,773 companies between 2014 and 2017, to exceed 10,000 in total.

Original story: Real Estate Press

Translation: Carmel Drake

Rents In Azca’s Towers Exceed Those In The Cuatro Torres

12 September 2017 – El Economista

The Cuatro Torres skyscrapers, to the north of Madrid, are no longer casting a shadow over Azca, which is establishing itself as the iconic business district in the city. With views overlooking the Paseo de la Castellana and just a stone’s throw from the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and the Nuevos Ministerios transport hub, this business centre has managed to renew itself, to avoid being left behind compared with other areas of Madrid. So much so, that the rents for its recently renovated skyscrapers are 16.6% higher per square metre than the most expensive space in the Cuatro Torres, to the north of the city.

Castellana 81, the historical headquarters of BBVA, leads the ranking in terms of rental prices in Madrid, given that its empty space is being marketed for between €27 and €35 per square metre per month. This tower, designed by the prestigious architect Sáenz de Oiza, has been subjected to a comprehensive renovation by its owner, the Socimi GMP, which spent €30 million renovating one of its most iconic properties in Azca and on Madrid’s skyline.

The asset, which became a multi-tenant property when it first came onto the market, has already managed to conquer new companies following the departure of the banking entity, which moved to its own financial city, in Las Tablas, to the north of Madrid. Thus, in the last few months, rental contracts have been signed with Teka and Hays.

At the forefront of design

Castellana 77, which is also owned by the Montoro family’s real estate company and the Singapore sovereign fund, GIC, has been the subject of another of the major renovation projects that has been carried out in Azca and which has positioned the business district at the forefront of design. Its façade is covered with slats that protect it from direct sunlight and which are lit up at night in a diverse range of colours.

The tenant that decides to lease the office space in this building, which spans 16,200 m2 over 18 floors, will be able to choose the colour of the tower, which has more than 200 parking spaces as well as charging points for electric cars. With these features, this property has the second highest rents in Azca, which range between €28 and €33 per square metre per month.

And it is followed closely by Torre Europa, which housed the headquarters of the professional services firm KPMG for many years. Following the move of that consultancy firm to the Cuatro Torres, the tower has been renovated to turn it into the first intelligent and connected office building in Spain. Infinorsa, the majority owner of this skyscraper, which overlooks the Santiago Bernabéu, has invested €20 million on a facelift of the façade, which had not been changed for 30 years, and above all, on the renovation of the interior, which has given a radical about-turn to the essence of this 121m-tall tower (…).

Rents in this tower now range between €27 and €32 per square metre per month. Its renovation has already captivated one of the large international law firms, Freshfields (…). The US firm AOL has also decided to move its Spanish corporate headquarters to Torre Europa, as well as a pharmaceutical company (…).

Torre Picasso, the tallest skyscraper in Azca, at 156m, has not undergone such a comprehensive renovation as its neighbours, but following the departure of the consultancy firm EY to Torre Titania, 15,000 m2 of space there was left vacant. Some of that space in the tower owned by Pontegadea – the investment arm of Amancio Ortega – will be leased to Deloitte, which will thereby become its largest tenant. After several improvements to the property, the highest floors are now being marketed for €31/m2/month (…).

Rents in the Cuatro Torres barely reach €30/m2/month

Nevertheless, in the new financial district located in the north of Madrid and known as Las Cuatro Torres, only one of the towers manages to charge a rent of €30/m2/month, even though the buildings are much younger, given that they were inaugurated between the years 2008 and 2009.

Office space in Torre Espacio ranges between €29 and €30 per square metre per month. The Philippine group Emperador, which owns this skyscraper (…) renewed the image of the tower at the end of last year and launched a new marketing plan with the aim of finding tenants for the 8,800 m2 that were vacant in the building at that time.

Next in the ranking is Torre Cepsa, for which Amancio Ortega (…) paid €490 million last year. It is occupied almost in its entirety by the oil and gas company whose name it bears; the cost of the 15,000 m2 of space that is available ranges between €23 and €28 per square metre per month.

Meanwhile, Torre de Cristal, the tallest skyscraper in Spain, at 210m, is the most affordable of its neighbours, since its available space is being marketed for between €25 and €27 per square metre per month. Last year, KPMG left the Azca area and moved to this property, where it leases around 23,000 m2 (…).

Next door is Torre PwC, leased to the consultancy firm whose name it bears and the five-star hotel Eurostars. Its owner is the Socimi Merlin Properties (…) and PwC reportedly pays €19/m2/month.

The Cuatro Torres complex is now getting ready to receive a fifth tower, Torre Caleido. That property, which is currently being constructed (…), will be leased to IE Business School and Grupo Quirón-Salud (…), who will reportedly pay between €15 and €18 per square metre per month (…).

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Tinsa: House Prices Rose By 6.1% YoY In Large Cities In April

10 May 2017 – Expansión

House prices are continuing to rise sharply, boosted by an acceleration in the large cities and in the Balearic and Canary Islands, according to the latest estimates from the appraisal company Tinsa. Specifically, the price per square metre of properties rose by 2% in April with respect to the same month last year, according to figures published yesterday.

Although those figures are seven-tenths lower than those registered in March for the country as a whole, we cannot speak of a slowdown, given that the general trend over the last few years has been increasingly bullish. Moreover, the data also reveals a growing acceleration in several key markets, such as the large cities, where prices rose by 6.1%, and the Balearic and Canary Islands, where property prices rose by 4%.

In this way, the rise in house prices in Spain’s provincial capitals and large cities has accelerated by six-tenths with respect to the same month last year, to reach its highest rate since the outbreak of the crisis. This increase is being spearheaded by some of the prime areas of Madrid and Barcelona, where supply is constrained and demand is rocketing. Nevertheless, over the last few months, the price rises have been spreading to more and more neighbourhoods, given the strong buyer pressure in the most sought-after areas.

Meanwhile, property prices in the Balearic and Canary Islands are rising at a rate of 4%, driven by two main factors. On the one hand, the high level of demand from overseas buyers. On the other hand, the purchase of homes as investments, given that owners can rent them out easily for short-stays for most of the year, which raises their yields. Prices in these regions have fallen by 27.8% since 2007, i.e. by one-third less than the average.

On the other hand, this situation contrasts with the weakness in house prices along the Mediterranean Coast, in metropolitan areas and small towns, where there the stock of homes for sale is greater and demand is lower. (…).

Two speeds

(…). By way of illustration, house prices in the Mediterranean region are still 46% lower than their peak levels of 2007. (…).

In metropolitan areas, prices are still falling, with a decrease in property prices of 2.6%. That data also represents a slowdown of more than two points with respect to last month and is a kick in the teeth for a market that has seen its price plummet by 45.9% since the real estate bubble burst. The reason is precisely due to the fact that the crash in the market made house prices in the centre of large cities more affordable, which meant that most buyers did not have to move tens of kilometres away to buy a home.

Original story: Expansión (by P. Cerezal)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Aguirre Newman: Inv’t In Shopping Centres Amounted To €3,500M In 2016

8 May 2017 – Iberian Property

Total investment in shopping centres in 2016 amounted to €3,500 million, an increase of 59.1% compared to 2015 and the highest on record, according to the Estudio de Mercado Centros Comerciales 2016/2017 published by Aguirre Newman.

During the first trimester of 2017, elevated investment activity continued, with more than €1,000 million invested in transactions involving shopping centres.

Thanks to this level of investment, in 2016, the shopping centre segment was the second most dynamic real estate market, after offices, for the second year running. As regards the kind of buyer, institutional investment funds were the most active, accounting for more than 52% of the total volume, as were the Socimis, with more than 38%. The remaining activity was undertaken by real estate companies and private investors.

In 2016, more than 35 investment transactions were closed, seven of which involved portfolios. The main transaction involving a single asset took place in Barcelona, with Deutsche Bank’s purchase of the shopping and entertainment centre Diagonal Mar, for just over €490 million. Also, the purchase of Metrovacesa by Merlin Properties had a very significant impact on the shopping centre figures, accounting for around 28% of the total transaction amount.

During 2016, there was a slight containment of initial yield rates “due to the positive macroeconomic environment and the perception of a potential return to an upswing in rents”, according to Aguirre Newman. In the case of “gold” shopping centres, transactions closed in a punctual manner, below 4%, a record low for yields in this market.

The report from Aguirre Newman also points out that new supply incorporated into the 2016 market covered a gross leasable area (GLA) of more than 273,000 m2. The main shopping centres inaugurated in 2016 were Parque Nevada (Granada) and FAN Mallorca Shopping (Palma de Mallorca). Of the 273,000 m2 of new space, 17% was the consequence of the expansion of existing shopping centres.

Original story: Iberian Property

Translation: Carmel Drake