La Generalitat to Auction c.20 Homes in Barcelona for €6M

29 May 2018 – Eje Prime

La Generalitat is going to auction off inhabited homes in Barcelona. The Catalan government is going to sell around twenty homes in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat for an asking price of €7.7 million in the first auction and €6.2 million in the second, according to information provided in La Generalitat’s Official Gazette.

The residential portfolio for sale comprises 16 homes and three detached houses, all of which are rental properties and all of which are currently occupied. The auction will be conducted in blocks in order to prevent the tenants from using the right of first refusal over their own homes. Nevertheless, the future owner of the homes is going to have to subrogate the lease contracts.

The apartments for sale are located opposite Plaza Europa and the Gran Vía 2 shopping centre in L’Hospitalet, at numbers 15-23 Calle Ciencies. In those blocks, in addition to the homes, La Generalitat is going to auction off two premises and 23 parking spaces with storerooms. With regard to the detached family homes, they are located on another urbanisation, on Calles Mileva Maric and Hanna Arendt.

The current tenants of the apartments pay between €800, in the case of the homes with the oldest rents, and €1,600 per month for the detached family homes. Each home has a surface area that ranges between 78 m2 and 120 m2 and has two, three or four bedrooms.

The auction, which will see the deadline for the presentation of offers close on 9 July, will be held on the 19th of that same month through Addmeet, the online real estate platform that has already managed other large public sales in other Spanish cities.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

The Owner of Santander’s HQ is Set to Emerge from Bankruptcy

26 January 2018 – Voz Pópuli

There is light at the end of the tunnel in the creditor bankruptcy of Marme Inversiones 2007, the company that owns Banco Santander’s Ciudad Financiera (in Madrid). This week, a key meeting was held to unblock the bankruptcy proceedings, with deliberation over several appeals, something that the courts will come to a decision about over the coming weeks.

The parties potentially interested in this process have started to take positions regarding the possible sale of the Ciudad Financiera, which could happen in the middle of this year. The best-positioned player is the fund AGC Equity Partners, with a proposal that values that bank’s headquarters at between €2.7 billion and €2.8 billion, as this newspaper revealed.

But two competitors have emerged: a consortium formed by Madison Capital, Glenn Maud and GCA; and a proposal from the Iranian-born financier, Robert Tchenguiz, according to financial sources consulted by Vozpópuli.

The offer that most concerns AGC is the one presented by the US funds (Madison and GCA) and the British property magnate Glenn Maud, who was one of the original buyers in 2008. The price that they may put on the table is close to the figure being offered by the Arab fund, around €2.7 billion.

Months of advantage

Nevertheless, AGC is the favourite in the race because it has been negotiating the operation with Santander for several months. Santander is not only the tenant in this case, it also holds a small part of the debt and a right of first refusal. Having said that, the Commercial Court number 9 of Madrid has denied that preferential right until now. Be that as it may, an agreement with Santander would facilitate everything.

Meanwhile, in addition to these two offers, further competition has emerged in the form of Tchenguiz, owner of the company Edgeworth Capital. The Iranian national has been trying to harness his investment in subordinated debt for years. By holding one of the riskiest tranches, he has to make sure that the liquidation plan protects him, otherwise, he will be exposed to discounts. That negative scenario would become a reality with AGC’s liquidation plan.

For this reason, Tchenguiz is offering an insolvency exit plan in which he would become the owner of the Ciudad Financiera by purchasing the stake owned by Glenn Maud.

To complete the picture, we should take into account that beyond the bankruptcy of Marme Inversiones, two other companies in Spain are involved in this insolvency: its two parent companies, Delma and Ramblas. And that those creditors and investors are awaiting trials in the UK and The Netherlands. This complex legal battle is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Original story: Voz Pópuli (by Jorge Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Barcelona’s Town Hall Reserves Right of First Refusal over 47 Buildings in Raval

12 December 2017 – Eje Prime

Ada Colau’s Government may make a new move in its commitment to social housing. The Town Hall of Barcelona has reserved the right to purchase 47 buildings in the Raval neighbourhood, where the acquisition and subsequent renovation of properties for social purposes is being proposed.

The objective of the Town Hall is to protect residents from losing their homes, either due to the poor condition of the properties in the area or problem with drug dens, as well as to boost activities relating to social housing policies, according to a report from Idealista.

The streets where this right of first refusal has been granted are Sant Ramon, Espalter and Robador. The intervention by the Town Hall in this regard started at the beginning of 2017 when the Town Hall of Barcelona approved the Catalan capital’s right of first refusal over entire plots and buildings. As such, the Town Hall has priority over the purchase of these assets before the owner is allowed to sell them to a third party.

To date, the Town Hall of Barcelona owns twelve blocks in the Raval neighbourhood, containing around 150 homes in total.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Colau Buys Residential Building From Renta Corporación For Social Housing

23 October 2017 – Expansión

Ada Colau is pushing ahead with her mission to recover residential buildings for the citizens of Barcelona. Her most recent battle has seen her conquer Renta Corporación, one of the traditional real estate companies dedicated to the purchase of old buildings in El Eixample and the subsequent rescission of contracts with tenants, with the aim of renovating and selling the properties. The Town Hall has exerted its right of first refusal for the building located at number 394 on Calle Còrsega in Barcelona, between Bruc and Girona, for which it has paid €5.85 million.

For its purchase of the building, Ada Colau’s Government has argued that the operation comes in response to “extraordinary and urgent measures to mobilise homes resulting from mortgage foreclosure processes”, together with “measures to protect the right to housing for people at risk of social exclusion”.

The Town Hall’s intention is to hand over the building, free of charges, to Patronat Municipal d’Habitatge so that it can be used as homes for social purposes.

The right of first refusal and withdrawal is a practice included in the Housing Law that the Parlament approved in 2007, although its use had been rare until now. It received a boost following the election of Ada Colau as mayor of the Catalan capital in June 2015.

The most recent balance reported by the municipal government includes the first year and a half of the mandate. In that regard, the Town Hall applied the right of first refusal and withdrawal in 87 of the 154 homes that it acquired.

Those figures have increased this year with several operations in that vein. The most significant deals have taken place at number 7, 9 and 11 on Calle Lancaster and number 37 on Calle Leiva.

In the first case, the Town Hall spent €5.65 million buying 41 homes spread over three blocks. In the second case, it paid €2.75 million to Anida – a subsidiary of BBVA – to avoid the sale of the block to a fund.

The municipal government also exercised its right of first refusal and withdrawal this summer to buy three plots of land on the former La Escocesa factory premises, in Poblenou, for €10.11 million. The hundreds of luxury homes that were planned for those plots are no longer going to be built, with social housing properties and facilities now planned for the site instead.

The housing plan that the plenary approved at the beginning of the year includes modalities that go beyond constructing new blocks for rent-protected and social housing homes. They include continuing with the acquisition of homes from financial institutions or their transfer for a period of time, buying blocks in neighbourhoods where the urban fabric is consolidated – such as in Calle Còrsega – and exploring co-housing: the transfer of homes at below-market prices for between 50 and 100 years.

Original story: Expansión (by M. Anglés and D. Casals)

Translation: Carmel Drake