Merlin Resurrects The ‘Opción Shopping Centre’ In Alcorcón

5 October 2017 – Expansión

A beach area, a dive centre with a 15-metre deep pool, a rockodrome, and even a “mini-city for cars”. That is the innovative commercial proposal with which the Socimi Merlin Properties wants to recover the former Opción shopping centre.

Located in the Madrilenian town of Alcorcón, this establishment was one of 18 shopping centres that the real estate company acquired when it merged with Metrovacesa last year. Inaugurated in 2002, Opción was one of the shopping centres that fell victim to the economic and real estate crisis, which caused it to close its doors in 2009. Since then, Metrovacesa has considered reopening the property several times, but in the end, its new owner is going to finally re-launch the extinct centre.

Merlin’s project, known as X-Madrid, will include a different retail offer to the version typically provided by Spanish shopping centres. Spread over three floors, the ground floor will include several spaces dedicated to playing outdoor sports, such as beach volleyball and parkour (the sport of traversing environmental obstacles by running, climbing, or leaping rapidly and efficiently), a skateboard circuit, a rockodrome and a CrossFit centre.

In addition, X-Madrid will be home to Madrid’s first dive centre, with a 15-metre deep pool, which is deep enough to certify the most varied of licences, whereby avoiding the need for would-be participants to travel to the coast. In addition to the sports area, the ground floor will include a space dedicated to the world of cars, motorbikes and bicycles, as well as an ecological supermarket.

At street-level, the complex’s directors plan to open a fashion and restaurant area, including the now famous food trucks, an artificial beach and a large square (The Show Place), which will host events.

On the top floor, they are going to open a technological area, a chill out space and a cinema, as well as an area to practice extreme sports. By way of a nod to the original project, X-Madrid will also contain an area known as The Antimall, which will house a selection of tattoo shops, vintage clothing stores, as well as collectors’ items, design pieces and other items of interest.

“Nowadays, we need spaces focused on current consumers, who are looking for more technological, urban and ecological shopping and leisure experiences. X-Madrid has arisen with them in mind, and from the desire to offer something different and daring”, explains Luis Lázaro, Director of Shopping Centres at Merlin Properties. In total, the Socimi, led by Banco Santander, will invest €30 million in the project, which will include the comprehensive renovation of the building to create a retail space spanning more than 39,000 m2 of shopping area, as well as 2,100 parking spaces.

The remodelling work will begin shortly, with 70% of the retail space already reserved; the centre is expected to open in time for Christmas 2018.

With the X-Madrid project, Opción will be put on the list of centres that have been restored following their closure during the crisis, as happened with Avenida M-40 (Madrid), which has now been converted into a shopping outlet by the Venezuelan group Sambil.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

ECI Sells 40% Of Torre Serrano To Infinorsa For €50M

14 September 2017 – Expansión

El Corte Inglés has sold 40% of the company Iberiafon, owner of the Torre Serrano building in Madrid, to the real estate company Infinorsa for €50 million, according to sources at the distribution giant.

The firm that has acquired the property, which is owned by several European funds, already owned 60% of Iberiafon’s share capital and also owns other buildings in Madrid, such as Torre Europa.

This operation, which forms part of the distribution group’s divestment plan, effectively assigns a value of €125 million for 100% of the property. The building’s current tenants include the Masaveu Group and the firms GVC Gaesco and Beka Finance, amongst others.

Located at number 47 on one of the most exclusive shopping arteries in Madrid, next to the El Corte Inglés department store on Calle Serrano, the tower has 13 floors, which have a combined surface area of 20,000 m2, including a 5,700 m2 car park.

Half of the total space is used for offices, whilst the shopping area occupies 4,300 m2, which will continue to be leased to the group chaired by Dimas Gimeno, according to the press release.

El Corte Inglés closed its last tax year, from March 2016 to February 2017, with a 2.4% increase in its net profit, to €161.86 million. That saw the group record three consecutive years of growth, whilst the gross operating profit (EBITDA) soared by 7.5%, to reach €981 million, according to the distribution giant.

Specifically, the profit, the highest in the last three years, has been affected by €178 million relating to “disengagement plan”, which has affected 1,341 people.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

Villar Mir Sells 49% Of Fifth Tower To Andrew Tan

27 March 2017 – Inmodiario

Making money to reduce OHL’s mounting debt is still imperative for Grupo Villar Mir. And it was in this context that the latest operation was signed between the holding company controlled by the 80-year old civil engineer and the real estate company Megaworld, owned by the Philippine businessman Andrew Tan. The businessman has become the new partner in the project to develop Caleido, the fifth tower in the Castellana complex. In 2015, the construction group sold Torre Espacio to Tan for €550 million.

The agreement will turn the Philippine businessman into one of Villar Mir’s partners, as owner of 49% of the company that is running the project, which includes the construction of a skyscraper measuring more than 180 m tall and an underground shopping area with a surface area of around 12,000 m2. Tan will spend around €150 million on the purchase. PwC has acted as legal advisors to Espacio during the operation and the law firm Pérez-Lorca has represented Megaworld.

In January, the Chairman of the Villar Mir group, Juan Miguel Villar Mir Fuentes, unveiled so-called project Caleido, together with the Mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena. This complex, in which around €300 million is expected to be invested, includes a high-rise building, which will house a university campus to be operated by Instituto de Empresa and a medical research centre to be managed by Grupo Quirón.

In addition, the plans include an underground shopping area, covering around 12,000 m2, a park measuring 33,000 m2 where concerts and other cultural activities will be held, and 2,000 parking spaces.

Villar Mir was awarded this plot of land in 2014 under a 75-year concession, after he agreed to pay the Town Hall of Madrid an annual fee of €4 million (after an initial four-year grace period). Initially, a conference centre was going to be constructed on the site. (…).

The future architectural complex, designed by the architectural studio Fenwick & Iribarren, in conjunction with the Serrano Suñer Arquitectos studio, will comprise two separate spaces: a 160 m tall building with 36 floors, and a four-storey base building measuring 20 m tall (…).

Original story: Inmodiario

Translation: Carmel Drake

Villar Mir Will Build A New Skyscraper On La Castellana

30 April 2015 – Expansión

Through his real estate subsidiary Espacio, the businessman Juan Miguel Villar Mir has been awarded the plot of land behind the Cuatro Torres complex in Madrid, where he will build a private hospital and a shopping area.

There will soon been a fifth skyscraper in the complex known, until now, as the Cuatro Torres Business Area, on the Paseo de la Castellana, in Madrid. Yesterday, the Town Hall of Madrid announced that it was awarding the plot of land located behind the complex, to the real estate company Espacio, owned by the businessman Juan Miguel Villar Mir.

Espacio will construct a private hospital with a shopping area on this land. The businessman, who also owns the construction company OHL and who is the primary shareholder of Colonial, has won the award process for this plot of land, where the Town Hall of Madrid was originally going to build the International Convention Centre, before it was forced to suspend its plans in 2010, due to a lack of funding.

At the end of 2014, Ana Botella’s Government decided to seek an alternative plan for this plot of land and it organised a bid in which it asked for participants to offer an annual fee of €1.935 million for the right to use the plot of land. Four bids were submitted but only two were admitted since one did not exceed the (minimum) required fee and the other was ruled out for formal reasons.

One of the two projects that made the cut was led by the property company Hispania, which presented its bid jointly with Ferrovial, and committed itself to paying €2.6 million (per year). Villar Mir, meanwhile, offered to pay €4 million per year for the next 75 years.

The land situated just behind the existing Cuatro Torres has a surface area of 33,325 square metres and a buildable area of 70,000 square metres. In this space, to which a green area measuring 33,647 square metres will be added, the winning bidder will have to allocate 53,500 square metres for public use; the remaining 16,500 square metres may be destined for commercial use.

Villar Mir’s proposal is to construct a skyscraper, which will be similar to the other towers in terms of height and which will house a hospital. “The building will be as tall as the neighbouring towers and will house health services, and the top floors will be occupied by scientific companies linked to the health sector”.

Moreover, next to the skyscrapers, Espacio will create another, low-level building, which will be used to provide recreational and commercial services for the new skyscraper and the four existing ones, which mainly house offices. “Most of the construction will be horizontal, built in a north-south direction, over the entire floor of the structure that has already been constructed and designed based on landscaped terraces, which will descend from the high public square down to the pedestrian access, which is reached from the plot classified as a green area”, said (a representative from) the project.

In addition, the new skyscraper will be connected to the four that have already been constructed – which all have direct access from the Castellana – through a landscaped pedestrian zone.

In total, Villar Mir will invest €500 million in the project, including both the full (canon) payment and the construction work. Of this amount, €134.06 million will be spent on the building and development of the plot.

This project comes in addition to the plan to lengthen the Paseo de la Castellana by 3.7km to the north on land that Renfe and Adif own in the area.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake