WeWork Leases 2 New Office Spaces in Barcelona

4 October 2018 – Eje Prime

The US group, WeWork, is continuing its conquest of Spain and is getting ready to make its mark in the centre of Barcelona. The company, which specialises in flexible office spaces, will add a new complex to its portfolio in the Catalan capital after signing the lease on a building. The Corner, located at number 444 Avenida Diagonal, owned by Emesa. In parallel, the group is finalising the lease of the former headquarters of Banco Popular on Paseo de Gracia, in a property controlled Hines.

The building on La Diagonal is owned by Emesa, the investor group owned by Emilio Cuatrecasas, and used to house the headquarters of the law firm Cuatrecasas. The Corner, located at the intersection of La Diagonal and Paseo de Gracia has a surface area of 3,400 m2 distributed over seven floors (plus a basement), with an average surface area of 400 m2 each.

Emesa has owned the property on La Diagonal since 2017, when it paid €35 million to acquire it. The asset had been on the market since the beginning of the year after Cuatrecasas abandoned its traditional location to move to the 22@ district. Emesa had considered the possibility of leasing the building to several tenants, but in the end, it will be occupied in its entirety by WeWork.

In the meantime, the coworking giant is finalising another major operation. The company is close to signing the lease on the former headquarters of Banco Popular on Paseo de Gracia, a building that has been owned by Hines since March 2017, which paid €90 million for it.

Spaces, one of WeWork’s main rivals, expressed interest in that building in July. Nevertheless, sources at the company indicate that its operation never materialised. The building, located at number 17 Paseo de Gracia, has a surface area for offices and a retail premise, and has just been renovated by its owner.

With these moves, the US giant is taking positions in the centre of Barcelona; until now it had focused its presence on the 22@ district. In May, WeWork leased 4,500 m2 of space in the WIP building, owned by the Swiss fund Stoneweg.

That building is located next to the first complex that the group opened in Spain, in the Luxa building on Calle Tánger of the technological district. In Madrid, WeWork operates a space at number 43 Paseo de la Castellana, another at 77 on the same street, and a third at number 27 Calle Eloy Gonzalo.

Companies specialising in the management of these types of work spaces are revolutionising the office market all over the world. WeWork and Spaces are just two of the largest players on the global stage and both arrived in Spain in 2017.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Pilar Riaño & Jabier Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Santander Offers €3bn for its own Ciudad Financiera

19 September 2018 – Eje Prime

Banco Santander could end up buying back its Ciudad Financiera. The Spanish bank has submitted an offer for around €3 billion for the complex in the framework of the auction organised by Commercial Court number 9 in Madrid to liquidate the assets of Marme Inversiones, the owner of the asset, according to Expansión.

Besides Santander, two other entities have submitted bids. They are the Kuwaiti fund headquartered in the British capital, AGC Capital Markets, and the British-Irani investor Robert Tchenguiz.

According to the most recent information, Blackstone was going to participate in the bid. Specifically, the US fund was going to offer more than €3 billion for the Spanish bank’s central offices.

In the end, both Blackstone and Centerbridge have ruled out participating in the auction, the resolution of which will be revealed within the next few days: the bankruptcy administrator could award the asset, or open another phase for the receipt of better offers.

Banco Santander’s Ciudad Financiera has been owned by Marme Inversiones (controlled by the investors Glenn Maud and Derek Quinlan) since 2008. The company filed for bankruptcy after it was unable to keep up the repayments on the loans it took out to sign the operation.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Unibail Will Invest at Least €800M in Spain Over 6 Years

26 January 2018 – Expansión

Unibail-Rodamco, the largest European real estate group, has committed investments for projects in its portfolio in Spain amounting to, at least, €800 million between now and 2024; it has already disbursed €120 million of that figure.

The Director of Development and Investments at Unibail-Rodamco in España, Javier Solís (pictured above, left), explained yesterday at a meeting organised by IESE, Tinsa and Savills Aguirre Newman, that the company has projects in its portfolio spanning a new gross leasable area (including extensions) of 187,000 m2 and a total committed investment of more than €800 million, reports Efe.

Of the projects underway, the director highlighted the shopping centre in Benidorm (Alicante), whose construction has already commenced and which is expected to open in 2020. In his opinion, the increase in visitor numbers and sales at shopping centres suggests “that returns have the potential to rise”.

The director explained that some of the investment planned for the coming years will be spent on improving its assets so that “they are more than just a place to shop”. In this sense, Solía advocates transforming them into centres for meeting up, having fun and being entertained, for enjoying new gastronomic experiences and with higher standards in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability.

In terms of future possible purchases, Solís said that the company’s intention is to incorporate new assets that are already operational, although, for the time being, it does not have any operations on the table.

In Spain, Unibail-Rodamco owns a dozen shopping centres and has two more under development. Its most high profile assets include Parquesur and La Vaguada (in Madrid) and Les Glòries and La Maquinista (in Barcelona), worth around €3.7 billion.

Westfield

Unibail-Rodamco, which has a presence in 11 European countries, reached an agreement at the end of 2017 to purchase its Australian rival Westfield for $24.7 billion (€19.8 billion).

The operation will result in the creation of a colossus with a gross asset value of €61.1 billion and a presence in 13 countries. Following the integration, Unibail-Rodamco will extend its competitive distance over its main European rivals, Klépierre and Hammerson. Indeed, one month ago, the latter announced an agreement to purchase Intu and grow in the shopping centre segment.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake