The Land for Spain’s Largest Commercial & Leisure Centre Goes on Sale

21 February 2019 – El Economista

The Madrilenian neighbourhood of Valdebebas is going to become home to the largest commercial and leisure complex in Spain. The first steps to make that possible have been taken today, as the Valdebebas Compensation Board has granted Savills Aguirre Newman the sales mandate for the land on which this new commercial and entertainment space is going to be built, to the north of the city, according to confirmation provided by sector sources speaking to El Economista.

The land has a buildability of 145,790 m2 for commercial space, in addition to a plot for offices measuring more than 35,400 m2 and green areas spanning another 24,500 m2.

The land that is going on sale now has historically been known as the Commercial Block of Valdebebas. Initially, a large shopping centre was planned for the site, but the Compensation Board designed a new plan to build more social housing units and a school. That new plan, approved by the Town Hall of Madrid in 2014, was subsequently appealed and overturned by the Supreme Court, and so the land has been returned to its original use.

According to explanations provided last year by the President of the Valdebebas Compensation Board, César Cort, in an interview with this newspaper, several investors have approached the Compensation Board interested in this plot, however, the Board wants “to carry out a transparent process that is completely secure legally”.

In terms of the price, Cort said that it will be “a high figure”. “When this same product was sold to Metrovacesa and Riofisa, the price amounted to more than €200 million, but it will not necessarily be the same figure”, explained Cort, who assured that “we plan to sell the land during the first half of 2019”.

Residential activity

Currently, around 18,000 people live in Valdebebas and the population is expected to double to around 35,000 inhabitants over the next three to four years.

Besides the launch of the commercial block, the Town Hall of Madrid has already started to grant building permits in the residential market. In this way, there are plans afoot for the construction of 48 residential developments, which will result in the construction of 3,800 homes in total, which represent one third of the 11,400 homes planned for the Valdebebas area.

During the first few months of the year alone, more than 20 developments will obtain licences to begin the construction of 2,000 homes.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Property Developers Accelerate Their Land Purchases

31 August 2017 – Expansión

Spain’s large real estate companies have launched ambitious investments plans with the aim of starting to build thousands of homes over the next few years, whereby benefitting from the upwards cycle that the housing market is currently enjoying.

The most active players include some of the new property developers led by investment funds such as Neinor Homes, Vía Célere and Aelca. These companies, the first of which is listed on the stock market and the latter two which have plans to make their stock market debuts within the next few months, have accelerated their land purchase plans in recent months, backed financially by their owner-shareholders and loans from the banks.

Such is the case of Neinor Homes. The property developer owned by Lone Star has invested €157.5 million so far in 2017 on the acquisition of various plots of land spread across locations such as Valencia, Málaga and Madrid. These purchases will allow it to build 1,750 homes, in addition to the around 4,000 units that it already has underway.

In the case of Vía Célere, acquired in February by Värde and five other funds, its land purchases so far in 2017 amount to €100 million, which has allowed it to increase its portfolio of land by 212,016 m2 to 2.7 million m2.

Another one of the companies that has invested a lot in land in recent months in Aelca. The company led by Värde and its founding partners, Javier Gómez and José Juan Martín, has spent €170 million so far in 2017 to increase its buildable portfolio by 362,000 m2. Following these purchases, it plans to build around 3,900 homes.

New leader

But the leader of this growth is Metrovacesa. The property developer led by Jorge Pérez de Leza has started a new phase this year, following the transfer of its rental assets to Merlin, with the ultimate aim of recovering its leading position in the sector, this time, focusing on the residential market. To this end, its main shareholders, Banco Santander and BBVA, have transferred it land worth €1,108 million, covering a buildable surface area of 3.1 million m2.

Metrovacesa’s plans for these plots, which have capacity for 24,000 homes, include the sale of some of the asset to competitors, which are eager to expand their portfolios. Currently, the property developer owned by Santander and BBVA is the second largest landowner in the country, with land spanning 6 million m2, exceeded only by Sareb.

Meanwhile, the ACR group (which has invested in some projects together with Allegra, the investment arm of Mario Losantos, the former owner of Riofisa) has purchased land worth €43 million, with a buildable surface area of 88,000 m2, where it plans to build 810 homes. (…).

Amenabar has a similar investment policy. The Basque real estate company, the current leader house building ranking in Spain, with more than 4,000 units underway, has acquired land covering more than 352,000 m2 this year, which will allow it to build another 2,976 homes. (…).

Another of the classic property developers, Quabit, has undertaken 13 operations involving buildable land in just two months, allowing it to incorporate almost 120,000 m2 into its portfolio. (…) The listed company will build 1,097 homes with a forecast revenue of €196 million.

Meanwhile, the Inbisa group has invested more than €80 million in the residential market over the last 18 months and plans to spend another €30 million before the end of the year.

Another fund that has made a significant commitment to the housing market in Spain in ASG. That firm, which also invests in commercial properties, has spent €200 million this year on the acquisition of 16 urban plots of land.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

RE Firms Prevalent On Hacienda’s List Of Overdue Debtors

24 December 2015 – El Mundo

The tax authorities have published their list of overdue debtors for the first time.

Four large construction companies from the bubble – Reyal Urbis, Nózar and the Cordoban companies Prasa and Arenal 2000 – together owe the tax authorities €852 million.

The real estate bubble was made possible not only thanks to the banks’ willingness to grant loans, but also because the property developers that borrowed money stopped paying their taxes. That is the main conclusion to be drawn from the list of overdue debtors that the tax authorities have published for the first time just days before Christmas Eve – which features construction companies and manufacturers of construction materials in abundance. (…).

Almost none of the stars of the Spanish real estate bubble are missing from the list of major overdue borrowers. Four names stand out in particular: Reyal Urbis, owned by Rafael Santamaría; Nózar, owned by the Nozaleda family; the controversial property developer Rafael Gómez ‘Sandokán’ (Arenal 2000) and the Cordoban group Prasa, owned by the Romero family. Together, the four owe debt amounting to €852 million.

Reyal Urbis leads the ranking of overdue borrowers with a tax debt of €378.2 million. (…). But countless other companies owe millions of euros. From Fernando Martín, the major shareholder of the bankrupt Martinsa Fadesa (€65.39 million) to Carlos Cutillas, one of the main operators in the north of the capital with his company Inmobiliaria Chamartín (€20.53 million). Alongside them feature hyperactive property developers from the boom years, such as Dirusa (€40 million), the Lábaro group (€27.8 million) the Álvarez family (Gedeco-Avantis, with €17.7 million) and Detinsa (€29 million).

Riofisa, the construction company created by the Losantos family and acquired at the height of the boom by Luis Portillo, owes €31.97 million. Another one of the major overdue borrowers is Hilario Rodrígeuz Elías, who was considering listing Group Tremón, a construction company with operations in Madrid and Andalucía, on the stock exchange. His companies Atlantis Servicios Inmobiliarios and TR Hoteles Alojamientos y Hosterías together owe €47.77 million. Other less well known property developers that also have sizeable debts with the tax authorities include: Ventero Muñoz (€11 million); the unknown Ramón Olivareas Garrigós (€68.6 million), owner of Grupo Casoli and the company Vivienda y Bienestar SL; Carlos Monteverde de Mesa, owner of Grupo Monteverde (€13.9 million) who was linked to the “Blesa case”; José Ávila Rojas (€4.3 million); and the Torrego family (Conther), former owner of Cine Bogart and Continental Auto (€2.5 million).

Sahanuja, the great Catalan saga

The Sanahuja family owes the tax authorities €37.2 million through three of its companies -Sanahuja Escofet, Sacresa Terrenos and Sacresa, Terrenos y Promociones-. (…). Another one of the largest overdue debtors is Vicente Roig, owner of Grupo Coperfil, who owes the tax authorities €69.79 million through four companies.

Marina D’Or and the Valencian clans

Jesús Ger, who was behind the Marina D’Or golf complex, owes the tax authorities €46.3 million through his company Comercializadora de Mediterránea de Viviendas. (…). The Community of Valencia is very well represented in the list of overdue debtors. Another illustrious surname is that of the Serratosa Caturla brothers, who together have a debt of €15.9 million. They are joined by Bautista Soler, the partner of Luis del Rivera, who owes €26 million through the companies Inmobiliaria Lasho and Urbanas de Levante. Andrés Ballester, owner of Edificaciones Calpe and the company Nereida, with a debt of €17.7 million. And the controversial builder from Alzira, Vicente Girbés Camarasa, owner of Grupo Blauverd, with €20.6 million. And Juan Cotina and his companies Asedes Capital and Asedes Infraestructuras, with €21.4 million.

Other (in)famous overdue borrowers include the Mexican businessman Luis Nozaleda Arenas; the Romero family, the Sánchez Ramade brothers and Rafael Gómez Sandokán, all from Cordoba; and Facundo Armero, the Murcian developer behind Polaris World, who owes €78.5 million.

Original story: El Mundo (by José F. Leal)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Castlelake Buys More Land From Sareb

23 February 2015 – Expansión

Transaction / The North American firm acquires several plots of land in Madrid for €13 million and strengthens its commitment to this type of product.

Sareb has generated more cash from its portfolio of real estate assets. The Asset Management Company for Bank Restructurings (la sociedad de activos procedentes de la reestructuración bancaria) has sold a batch of four residential plots, located in the town of Boadilla del Monte, Madrid.

For the sale, the company chaired by Jaime Echegoyen organised an exclusive sales process and invited five international funds to participate, in partnership with Spanish construction and real estate groups. Then, a sealed bid auction was held and the assets were awarded to the North American fund Castlelake (formerly known as TPG Credit Management).

According to sources close to the transaction, Castlelake paid €13 million for the plots (the minimum price was €11 million). The North American fund, which is operating with a Spanish partner, plans to construct uni-familiar homes worth €44 million on this land, which has a total surface area of 76,000 square metres.

Following its successful bid, Castlelake shall bear not only the costs of construction, but also the cost of the investment required to develop the area, explain real estate sources.

Other transactions

This is not the first time that Castlelake has purchased assets from Sareb. Last year, the North American fund acquired another batch of 17 plots included in the Crossover portfolio, worth €80 million. In the end, the transaction was closed for €55 million. These plots have been placed in a Banking Activity Fund (Fondo de Actividad Bancario or FAB), a vehicle that has significant tax advantages, in which Castlelake holds a 95% stake, whilst Sareb retains a 5% stake.

Castlelake’s new transaction exemplifies the interest that has been awakened once more in the residential market. “Just as 2014 was an extraordinary year for investment in tertiary real estate, 2015 will be a key year for the recovery of the residential market”, says Patricio Paloma, Director of Alternative Investment at CBRE España.

In recent months, several residential plots have been sold. For example, Sareb sold a plot measuring 3,328 square metres close to Plaza de Castilla, in the north of the capital, to Mario Losantos, through his investment vehicle Allegra Hólding. Through this transaction, the former owner of Riofisa returned to the Spanish real estate sector to construct a development for 120 homes, together with ACR.

Months later, the cooperative manager Domo paid €136 million to acquire a plot next to the Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid to construct 355 homes.

“Land is now starting to generate a lot of interest and, in addition to the transactions that Sareb will close, we expect that some of the banks will begin to put some of the land on their balance sheets up for sale, whereby generating liquidity for them that they will use to finance new projects”, says Palomar.

More sales of large plots in Madrid are expected to take place over the next few months. For example, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is preparing the sale of land it owns on Calle Padre Damián, measuring 15,092 square metres and with capacity for up to 250 homes.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Klépierre, Invesco And TH Offer €350m For Plenilunio

19 January 2015 – Expansión

The home straight/ Orion receives three binding offers for the Plenilunio Retail Park. Unibail Rodamco withdraws from the process.

The sales process for one of the largest shopping centres in Madrid is in its final stages with three finalists. The French company Klépierre and the funds Tiaa Henderson (TH) and Invesco have all submitted binding offers for the property.

Invesco is the latest candidate to join the bid for the centre; the French-Dutch group Unibail Rodamco has withdrawn from the process. The shopping centre operator had expressed interest in acquiring Plenilunio to create a Golden Triangle in Madrid, as the owner of three landmark properties: La Vaguada, ParqueSur and through this transaction, Plenilunio. However, the high price offered by its competitors has put pay to Unibail Rodamco’s aspirations, explain industry sources. The British real estate company Grosvenor has also expressed interest in the centre, according to real estate sources.

Thus, TH – which bid alongside a sovereign fund -, Invesco and Klépierre would all be willing to pay €350 million for this property, which occupies a surface area of 220,000 square metres. Plenilunio has 70,000 square metres of retail space (GLA), distributed over three floors, plus 2,500 parking spaces, according to the Spanish Association of Shopping Centres. The property, which has an occupancy rate of almost 98%, generates annual rental income of €20 million.

Upon receipt of the binding offers, the current owner, the US fund Orion, must choose whether to negotiate with a single finalist or to conduct a final competition with two of the finalists. It is expected to take this decision quickly as it aims to close the sale during the first quarter of 2015, as revealed by Expansión on 17 December.

Plenilunio, which opened in May 2006, was developed by the Spanish real estate firm Riofisa (acquired soon after by Colonial). Before its opening, Banco Santander bought the property for €275 million, and then sold it onto Orion for €235 million in 2009.

The US fund controls the property through its company Orion Columba which adopted a Socimi structure in September 2013. The sale of Plenilunio is the second large divestment that Orion has undertaken in Spain in recent months – it closed the sale of the Puerto Venecia shopping centre in Zaragoza at the end of 2014. The property, the largest in Spain, was acquired by the British real estate company, Intu Properties for €451 million. In October 2013, Orion paid €144.5 million for the 50% of the centre that it did not already own.

Plenilunio is one of 80 shopping centres expected to change hands over the next few months in Spain, according to Deloitte Real Estate. In 2014, more than €2,100 million was invested in shopping centres across the country, driven by the sale of Marineda in La Coruña for €260 million and Islazul in Madrid for €232 million.

Original story: Expansión (Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Riofisa In Talks With Creditors On €400 Mn Debt

12/01/2014 – Expansion

The shopping mall king Riofisa has filed for pre-arrangements with creditors as its debt reached €400 million.

The company, formerly belonging to Asentia – the old ‘bad bank’ of Colonial – is presently controlled by Eneas and Mainspring.

Riofisa has four months to negotiate with the lenders and agree upon a payment scheme. Currently, the group owns the Plaza de Armas (Sevilla), the Vialia (Salamanca) and the Aqua Magica (Palma de Mallorca) retail parks. The last is found under construction (the project pictured).


Original story: Expansión

Translation: AURA REE

Syrian Investor Willing to Bring El Muelle Mall Back to Life

17/10/2014 – Expansion

The El Muelle retail park in Las Palmas (pictured) shut its doors seven years ago. Now, the 90.000 square meter mall has become the key part in tourism development for the capital of the Canaries.

The property was built on a plot belonging to an area under supervision of the Port Authorities. Opened in 1989 by Riofisa, a decade later it was repossessed by Caixa Catalunya. The entity came to an agreement with the current manager of the center, Syrian Amid Achid, who has been trying to buy the property ever since without success. The ownership of the mall fell into hands of BBVA which had absorbed the Catalonian entity earlier this year.

Presently, bids sumbitted for the El Muelle exceed €100 million. The most noteworthy seems the offer of the Kiessling group (Loro Parque) that intended €60 million for constructing in there one of the biggest aquariums in Europe.

Before the real estate bubbl burst, the shopping center was estimated to be worth of €90 million. Three years ago, its value dropped to €17 million and the amount could supposedly shrink even more as a new concession has been denied.

Since last week, the El Muelle has got a supermarket managed by the HD group, leader in the Canary Islands. The store has 1.900 square meters and it consumed €3 million of total investment.


Original article: Expansión (by José Mújica)

Translation: AURA REE

Adif & Riofisa Sell AVE´s Shopping Mall in Malaga

19/05/2014 – Expansion

The railway operator and the shopping mall developer join the real estate sales frenzy. Adif and Riofisa came to an agreement with a consortium of Brazilian businessmen and transferred to them the Vialia shopping mall, situated at the Benito Zambrano train station in Malaga.

The center was opened in 2006 and it is one of the two largest train station business parks in Spain. Its total area oscilates around 64.000 square meters with trading area of 45.456 meters. In 2013, over 14.4 million people visited the complex.

The new owners conducted the transaction through Global Phobos and paid about €65 million for the property, assisted at the sale by Banco Santander, Deloitte Real Estate and the Uría Menéndez lawyers office.

Vialia was held in 40% by Adif and in 60% by Nuevos Espacios Comerciales (Necsa), controlled by Riofisa.

Within Adif´s plan of streamlining assets in its balance, the operator put up for sale 1.500 houses, as well as several plots, trading premises and parking lots. By the end of the ongoing year, Adif will have put for an auction almost 600 properties.

Apart from the houses, Adif sold train stations in Bilbao and in Navarra. The first, La Naja, was acquired for €65.150, whilst the other, Corrella y Cascante, for €1.35 million. Also, Adif shed the old station of Príncipe Pío in Madrid.

During the first quarter of the year, the total investment in Spain hit €988 million, out of which €614 million corresponded to shopping center purchases.


Original article: Expansión (by R. Ruiz & C. Morán)

Translation: AURA REE