Baraka Triggers the Immediate Suspension of the Building Work at Edificio España

23 November 2018 – El Economista

The magistrate of the Court of First Instance nº 67 of Madrid has ruled that the building work on Edificio España in Madrid be suspended immediately due to the risk alleged by Baraka before that legal body.

Baraka, the company owned by the businessman Trinitario Casanova, filed a lawsuit before the courts of Madrid in August requesting the suspension of the building work on the hotel in Edificio España, in Madrid, which is now owned by the hotel chain Riu. The hotel firm purchased the iconic building in Plaza España from Baraka last year.

Baraka is claiming in the courts that the commercial premises inside the building, spanning 15,000 m2, belong to it and that Riu is refusing to sign across the deeds.

The hotel group Riu indicates that it has not yet received any notification to suspend its building work, according to sources speaking to El Economista. The hotel chain clarifies that Baraka does not have any contract with purchase rights or to register on public record the commercial space in Edificio España. Indeed, they note that at the time of Riu’s purchase of the building, Baraka signed “a non-representative mandate contract to search for investors for the commercial area, which it has failed to do”, despite repeated requests from the hotel chain.

The firm points out that a sales agreement has been reached with Corpfin Capital Real Estate for the commercial area, which was signed in September and which is on the verge of being executed. Riu is threatening to sue Baraka for damages and losses if the building work at Edificio España is affected. The hotel chain is going to invest between €380 million and €400 million in the project, including the purchase of the building (around €272 million) and its renovation.

The future hotel will be a four-star property and will have 589 rooms, 15 meeting rooms and almost 3,000 m2 for social and corporate events. The inauguration of the hotel is planned for September 2019 and the property will operate under the brand Riu Plaza.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

RIU Starts Work On Edificio España To Open Hotel In 2019

24 October 2017 – Expansión

The Mallorca-based hotel chain RIU has started work to renovate Edificio España, which will house its first hotel in Madrid and which will be the company’s flagship property in the country.

The future RIU Plaza will have a four-star rating and will contain 589 rooms and 15 meeting rooms, with almost 3,000 m2 to be used for events. Moreover, the hotel will have a gastro bar in the reception, two restaurants and a sky bar located on the two upper floors, one of which will have a terrace and a swimming pool.

The hotel chain purchased Edificio España from Baraka back in June in a three-way transaction, shortly after the Murcian group owned by Trinitario Casanova had purchased the property from Wanda for €272 million.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Hotel Chain Riu Ends Up Acquiring Edificio España

2 June 2017 – El Mundo

The soap opera surrounding the sale of Edificio España in Madrid reached its finale yesterday morning, with the completion of a three-way operation, which saw the Chinese Group Wanda official sell the building’s deeds to the hotel chain Riu. The hotel group reached an agreement with Grupo Baraka to acquire 100% of the property and to subsequently undertake the necessary renovation to convert it into the first hotel in Spain to operate under its Riu Plaza brand.

All of the parties met at the notary’s office yesterday morning in Madrid, and once the purchase of the property from Wanda by Grupo Baraka (which held the initial purchase rights) had been formalised, the latter sold the property to Riu Hotels & Resorts. The consideration paid amounted to €272 million, according to the consultancy firm JLL, which has advised the sale.

“Our strategic plans include opening a Riu Plaza hotel in Spain and this opportunity in Madrid, in an unbeatable location and in an iconic building, completely fulfil all of our requirements,” said Carmen and Luis Riu, CEOs of Riu Hoteles. “The operation had been on the cards for several months before the option opened up of Riu acquiring 100% of the building. After analysing that opportunity in detail, we decided that we didn’t want to waste it”, explained the directors.

Trinitario Casanova, President of Grupo Baraka, will take responsibility for leasing the retail space, measuring 15,000 m2, where several department stores will be opened.

The building work could start today

After hearing of the sale, the Councillor for Sustainable Urban Development at the Town Hall of Madrid, José Manuel Calvo, said that the new owner of Edificio España could start the building work to consolidate Edificio España right away. The licence to undertake the structural work was granted on 31 March and its terms are “not affected” by the identity of the building’s owner.

The processing of the permit to open a hotel in the skyscraper will take a bit longer. Sources at the Palacio de Cibeles (the Town Hall) predict that the green light will be given for the construction of the establishment in “the autumn”, given that the municipal technicians and Baraka’s architects have been working together on this project for several months now.

In terms of the retail surface area, which will be housed on the lower floors of the property, in Plaza de España, the presentation of an affidavit is all that is required to start the refurbishment work.

The hotel

The future Hotel Riu Plaza will occupy 24 of the 27 floors in Edificio España, whilst the remainder will be used as retail space. The establishment will have approximately 650 rooms and will be a 4-star property.

The hotel will also have a space measuring more than 1,800 m2 for events, which will include an open plan room measuring 1,500 m2, with 6 m high ceilings, which will become a unique space in the centre of Madrid.

The establishment will also have two restaurants, a rooftop swimming pool, where there will also be a Sky Bar and an additional space for events, spanning more than 900 m2.

Original story: El Mundo (by Luis M. Ciria, Marta Belver and Roberto Bécares)

Translation: Carmel Drake

RIU Seeks To Grow Its ‘Hotel Plaza’ Business Line

17 May 2017 – Expansión

RIU is on a roll. As it waits for the starting gun to fire on its Edificio España project in Madrid, the Mallorcan hotel chain is analysing other destinations in order to strengthen its Plaza business line, which is strategic for the group, whereby adding new locations to the Plaza brand.

The CEO of RIU and Head of Canary Islands, Morocco, Portugal and Cape Verde, Félix Casado, explained in an interview with Expansión that the group is considering destinations such as Barcelona, Paris and Rome to continue the business it started in 2010, when it opened its first RIU Plaza hotel in Panama. Since then, it has added another five Plaza branded establishments in Berlin, Dublin, Miami, Guadalajara and New York. But, for the time being, it does not have any in Spain. At the beginning of the year, the company announced its plans to team up with Baraka to manage and invest in the mega-hotel that the Murcian group is planning to open in Edificio España.

“We are very excited about the idea of handling this project in Madrid, in particular, in a building as iconic as Edificio España. The negotiations are not proving easy and now we have to wait for the purchase operation to be closed, which has been delayed for three months, before we can start construction”, said the Director. Casado said that his firm’s investment commitment with the Baraka Group “continues”, in line with expectations, with the aim of creating a joint venture to which the hotel chain will contribute 25% of the investment.

In terms of the possibility of undertaking a project on its own, in the event that Baraka does not manage to close the purchase within the scheduled timeframe – i.e. by June – Casado simply said that that option “is not envisaged”. And he added: “The other line would be a separate study that would have to be analysed from the point of view of the required investment and the return”.

Entry into China

Besides the urban business, the hotel group’s growth plan involves expanding into vacation destinations, both in America as well as in Asia.

The company, which operates in 19 countries with almost one hundred hotels, is considering entering China, starting out in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. “We would be willing to invest in all of these destinations. RIU is going to attend the ITB Tourism Fair in China to consolidate its relations there and create new business opportunities”, said Casado.

In addition, RIU has not ruled out returning to Cuba, which it left in 2015, with the management of new hotels. “We are looking at various possibilities to return to Cuba. We have experience in that destination and if an opportunity arises that fits with out philosophy then we will explore it”.

Renovations

In addition, the hotel group is committed to repositioning its products through major renovation projects. Within the framework of this strategy, the Spanish group will spend €400 million this year on construction and renovations, of which almost €150 million will be spent on improving its hotel portfolio in Spain.

“We are diversifying the product and we are updating it, so as not to get left behind, with the aim of ensuring that our clients are happy, which is one of the priorities of RIU”, he said. Recently, RIU opened the doors to its Club Hotel RIU Costa del Sol in Torremolinos, after combining and renovating the RIU Belplaya and RIU Costa Lago hotels.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake