The Owners of Sambil Outlet Enter Spain’s Luxury Residential Market

4 April 2018 – Expansión

Having arrived in Spain in December 2012, the Venezuelan group Sambil, controlled by the Cohen family, has just launched its second project in the country. Whilst in the case of the first, its activity involved the purchase and subsequent transformation of the M-40 shopping centre – located in the Madrilenian town of Leganés and closed after it filed for bankruptcy – into the largest shopping outlet in Spain, it is now placing its focus on the luxury residential market.

Sambil has purchased a building located on Calle Ramón de la Cruz, in the heart of the Salamanca neighbourhood of the Spanish capital. After investing €11.5 million on that acquisition, the Venezuelan group has just launched its plans to create 14 luxury homes, with between two and four bedrooms.

“A year and a half ago, we purchased this small building, as a taster, to gain knowledge about the market. There we are going to build 14 luxury apartments, with a total investment of €24 million”, explains Alfredo Cohen, Director General of the Sambil group.

For its design, the company has engaged the architect Carlos Calero and the interior designer Ricardo de la Torre, whilst the marketing will be led by The Corner Group. “We expect the construction work to begin in May and to be completed two years later”, say sources at the company. The work will include the comprehensive renovation of the building, preserving the protected features such as the façade and the stairway. “We will undertake the construction work ourselves, given that we are builders”, said Cohen.

The homes will have a minimum surface area of 160 m2 and will span up to almost 300 m2 for the largest properties; they will cost between €1.5 million and more than €3 million for the penthouse. “There are going to be 14 super-luxury homes with common terrace areas with a jacuzzi, gym, sauna and robotic parking, amongst other services”.

A real estate giant

Founded 40 years ago by Salomon Cohen Levy and led today by his children, Sambil is one of the largest owners of shopping centres in South America. Most of its establishments are located in Venezuela, where the company is still working despite the problems in the country (…). Outside of Venezuela, the company, which has also developed hotels and other real estate complexes, has projects in Puerto Rico and on the Caribbean island of Curaçao.

In addition to the project in the Salamanca neighbourhood, Sambil is working on new opportunities in the Spanish market, both in the commercial and residential segments. “As a construction company we look at everything, but what we would most like to do is to build more Sambil centres”, said Cohen.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sambil Plans To Open 6-8 Shopping Centres In Spain

29 September 2016 – Mis Locales

The Venezuelan Sambil Group plans to open a network of between six and eight shopping centres in Spain and does not rule out expanding its business to other markets in Europe.

Nevertheless, before embarking on its new projects, the company will focus on establishing what is, for now, its only centre in Spain: the Sambil Outlet in Leganés (Madrid), which will open its doors on 24 March 2017, after more than four years of construction work. It will become the largest outlet and leisure space in Spain with a gross leasable area of 43,000 sqm.

The new centre, which will open on a site on the ill-fated M-40 and in which Sambil has invested around €55 million, will create around 1,500 jobs and require additional investment of between €25 million and €30 million to equip the premises for each brand.

According to Cohen (Director General of the Sambil Group), the company has chosen Spain to make its first foray into Europe because it was “ideal” from both a cultural and language perspective, as well as because it has a lot to offer in the corporate field and is attractive again for overseas investors.

“It is a rapidly-growing, mature and legally secure market, which needs entrepreneurship”, said Cohen, who stated that the country “has all of the tools to continue outperforming other markets around the world”.

The Executive highlighted that a company such as his, which is family based and has its headquarters in Venezuela, does not travel “7,000 kilometres” to open one shopping centre, and he added that in Spain his company’s focus is very much placed on the most populous cities -Barcelona, Sevilla, Bilbao, Valencia, etc-.

Although the group is strongly committed to the “outlet” format, it does not rule out opening “traditional” shopping centres in some of the cities, although, in both cases, they would be accompanied by leisure and restaurant facilities.

In this sense, he highlighted that the Sambil Outlet will have the largest wind tunnel in Europe and the most modern cinema screens, which will be run by the Odeon chain, which is working to make cinema-going more “accessible”.

Moreover, it will house the largest Simply (Alcampo) supermarket in the Community of Madrid.

The company thinks that between 5 and 6 million people will pass through the doors of its centre in Leganés during its first year of activity. It has faith in the success of the “outlet” format combined with leisure, which is currently fashionable in countries such as the USA (…).

“Post-crisis, the Spanish consumer is much more rational than emotional” stated the Director of Sambil in Spain, Arnold Moreno, who confirmed that the centre will open with an occupancy rate of at least 80%.

Sambil Outlet will have stores from discount brands such as For&From (the Inditex group’s footwear label), Mango, Fifty Factory (Cortefiel), Décimas and Xti, as well as “low cost” fashion stores.

The Sambil Group has constructed more than 500 residential buildings and offices and owns a portfolio of eight hotels and thirteen shopping centres – ten located in Venezuela, one in the Dominican Republic and one in Curaçao.

Original story: Mis Locales

Translation: Carmel Drake

Spain’s Largest Outlet Centre Will Open In March 2017

19 September 2016 – El Economista

Sambil Outlet, the largest outlet and leisure centre in Spain, located in Leganés (Madrid), will open its doors at the end of March next year, after an investment of €55 million and more than four years of work to prepare it for occupancy.

The new facilities, which will include the largest wind tunnel in Europe and will have a gross leasable surface area of 42,000 sqm, will open on the site of the ill-fated “M-40” shopping centre, which had remained closed for years before it was acquired by the Venezuelan group Sambil at the end of 2012.

“Fortunately, the project is going well despite the economic fluctuations in Spain. When we first got involved, the crisis was still very much alive”, explained the Director of Sambil España, Arnold Moreno, in an interview. He also said that the objective is to open the centre with an occupancy rate of at least 80%.

Sambil Outlet, which will provide direct employment for around 1,000 people, will generate another 1,500 indirect jobs and will house brands such as Inditex (with a shoe store), Mango, Fifty Factory (Cortefiel), Xti and Mustang. It is the Venezuelan group’s first project in Spain, but it will not be its last.

“It is our first foray into Spain. Financially, it would not be feasible for us to have just one centre in the country, given that our headquarters are located more than 7,000 km away”, said Moreno, who also indicated that his company is considering several alternatives in this regard.

Logically, in terms of possible locations for a new Sambil outlet, “we are looking at other major cities”, such as Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla and Bilbao, but given that we are a family company and not an investment fund, we are being “very cautious”.

“We are convinced that, following the crisis, the Spanish population is demanding an excellent price/quality relationship, it wants smart purchases. There has been a change in this respect, people are taking more care with their spending”, said Moreno, who, by way of example, explained that in the last year just two new shopping centres have been opened compared with 150 outlets (where surplus high-end branded products are sold at low prices).

As for the extent to which the economic situation in Venezuela may affect the firm’s expansion in Spain, Moreno explained that, although it may weigh down on future operations, we have “been experiencing shortages for seventeen years, this situation is nothing new for us”.

“Our local businesses are still functioning but a very low efficiency because the country has a lot of economic, political and social problems”, he lamented. The Sambil group specialises in the construction of office buildings, homes, hotels and shopping centres.

Original story: El Economista

Translation: Carmel Drake