Catalana Occidente Finalises Purchase of Gaudí’s Torre Bellesguard for €30M

20 July 2018 – Idealista

Catalana Occidente is adding a new asset to its portfolio. The real estate investment arm of the insurance company Catalana Occidente is finalising the purchase of Torre Belleguard, constructed by Antoni Gaudí at the beginning of the 20th century, for €30 million. The Town Hall of Barcelona, the Generalitat and the Regional Council of Barcelona have declined to exercise their right of first refusal and preferential acquisition.

The Catalana Occidente Group, which is headquartered in Sant Cugat del Vallès, has expressed its interest and is willing to pay the owners €30.1 million, excluding taxes, such as the property transfer fee, which would increase the consideration to at least €33 million, according to El País.

The acquisition of this property (which has been classified as an Asset of National Cultural Interest since July 1969) is pending “a few finishing touches” and the intention is for the building “to continue to be open to the public because we are aware of its importance and great heritage value”, explain sources at the company.

Torre Bellesguard was threatened in 2008 when deteriorations caused by the passage of time forced its owners to undertake a comprehensive restoration project and invest €600,000 (a cost shared equally between the family, the Generalitat and the Town Hall).

The high cost of the renovation led the family owner of the property to open it to the public in 2013, organising guided tours inside the tower. It also opened its gardens for the celebration of cultural and social events.

Following this purchase, Catalana Occidente would increase its asset portfolio. The insurance group has invested up to €208 million in the purchase of properties in Spain over the last two years. In total, the company has acquired six offices buildings located in Madrid and Barcelona.

The largest purchase made by the company, which is itself controlled by the Serra family, was the acquisition last year of two properties (Luxa Silver and Luxa Gold) in the 22@ district of Barcelona for which it paid €90 million to the fund Stoneweg.

Moreover, at the end of 2016, the insurance company purchased the building at number 55 Paseo de la Castellana, in Madrid, for which it disbursed €60 million. The asset, which was sold by Standard Life with a 100% occupancy rate, has a surface area of 5,625 m2.

The €27 million that it paid for a second property in the Spanish capital, located in the Montecarmelo area (…) completes the number of acquisitions made by the group’s parent company since 2016.

With these investments, Catalana Occidente’s real estate portfolio in Spain amounted to €1.265 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2018. This line of business generates gains of €476.6 million for the group, in which the real estate component of the investment portfolio (€12.2 billion) amounts to 11.3%.

Original story: Idealista

Translation: Carmel Drake

GreenOak to Debut Second Socimi, Go Madrid Benz, on the MAB

15 May 2018 – Eje Prime

GreenOak is going to ring the bell again on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB). And this time it will do so with Go Madrid Benz, its second Spanish Socimi after Gore Spain, which made its stock market debut in January 2017. The US fund has already filed a request with Spain’s National Securities and Exchange Commission (CNMV) to incorporate the company on to the stock market; its main asset is the Las Mercedes Business Park. GreenOak’s intention is for the shares in this company to be listed before the summer.

With a surface area for offices and other administrative buildings spanning 80,000 m2, Las Mercedes is the jewel in the crown of Go Madrid Benz. The fund, which is led in Spain by Javier Zarragoitia, wants to assert its control over the 46% share capital that it owns in the Socimi to debut it on the stock market. The objective of the company is to achieve gross annual rental income of €7.65 million, with a yield of 6.5%, according to El Confidencial.

The sole shareholder of what will be the newest listed Socimi on the insatiable MAB, which is also home to more than fifty companies, is Go Benz Sarl, one of GreenOak’s investment vehicles. The fund has owned Las Mercedes since 2016 when it paid Standard Life €130 million for the business complex located in the northeast of Madrid.

The Las Mercedes Business Park comprises nine office buildings, situated around the A-2 motorway, an attractive area for companies, which has undergone significant development in recent years. Indeed, just a few weeks ago, GreenOak raised €95 million to refinance this asset through a long-term loan signed with PBB Deutsche Pfandbriefbank.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

GreenOak Buys Vallsolana Garden Business Park For €25M

31 March 2017 – Cinco Días

The US fund GreenOak is continuing its commitment to the Spanish real estate sector with another acquisition. It has just closed the purchase of the Vallsolana Garden Business Park, located in Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona) from the Swiss entity UBS for €25 million, according to market sources. The operation has been advised by Cushman & Wakefield.

The complex has a surface area of almost 20,000 m2, spread over two office buildings. Each one of the independent properties has four floors. The facilities house the headquarters of companies such as Adidas, Everis and Eurofragance.

GreenOak will add these offices to its ever-growing portfolio in Spain. Last year, the fund purchased four buildings in the Avalon business park, on the Julián Camarillo industrial estate in Madrid from Santander.

Nevertheless, to date, its only major acquisition in a single operation was made last year when it acquired the Las Mercedes business mega-complex, next to Barajas airport. That park has a surface area of 78,000 m2 and comprises nine buildings. In that case, it paid around €140 million to Standard Life, according to sources in the sector.

GreenOak is also preparing to launch its second real estate specific fund in Spain, with an expected investment capacity of around €900 million.

The building in Sant Cugat includes services such as padel courts, a gym, a games room, an auditorium and a lounge. In addition, the business park has around 400 parking spaces. The site’s currently occupancy rate stands at 80%, according to sources in the sector.

The business park is located in one of the most powerful business centres in Barcelona, in the city of San Cugat, which attracts numerous companies.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

GreenOak Prepares New €900M Spanish Residential Fund

16 February 2017 – Cinco Días

The firm GreenOak Real Estate is preparing its second dedicated real estate fund in Spain, which is expected to have an investment capacity of around €900 million. On this occasion, the new vehicle will place a greater focus on the residential construction segment in Madrid and Barcelona above all.

Housing is attracting international funds. The enormous commitments pledged by Värde Partners, Lone Star and Castlelake have been known for several months and now, the US fund GreenOak is joining the party. (…). The recovery in the residential sector is attracting lots of overseas investors given that it offers higher returns than other real estate segments such as retail, offices and industrial warehouses.

And so GreenOak has now opened its second fund in Spain, from its British office, which is led by John Carrafiel. Its investment capacity is expected to amount to almost €900 million, both in terms of capital secured as well as additional bank financing, according to market sources. Some of those resources will be allocated to housing, both the renovation of existing stock and new builds. The fund will also develop buildable land in established residential areas, where active demand exists due to the lack of development during the years of the crisis.

The search for opportunities will focus on Madrid and Barcelona, markets where almost all new builds are being sold, according to sources in the sector, due to the demand that has built up in recent years. In order to construct its projects, rather than creating its own real estate company like other funds have done, GreenOak will establish partnerships with local developers that specialise in different markets.

GreenOak was created in 2010 by three partners from Morgan Stanley’s real estate business. Its main headquarters are located in New York, London and Tokyo; and Spain has been a strategic investment location since the beginning.

In 2015, the firm announced that it had raised its first fund amounting to €700 million, with a view to investing in property in our country. That vehicle has now completed around 15 operations in Spain, primarily in the logistics sector.

The first fund entered the housing sector for the first time with the renovation of a building on c/Fuencarral 77 in Madrid, close to the Tribunal metro stop. (…). The firm also has experience in residential construction in other countries, such as in the USA.

Last year, GreenOak also acquired four office buildings from Santander in the Avalon business park, on the Julián Camarillo industrial estate in Madrid.

It completed its major purchase in a single operation last year when it acquired the Las Mercedes business megacomplex, at kilometre 11 on the A-2, next to Barajas airport. That park contains nine office buildings with a surface area of 78,000 m2. According to sources in the sector, it acquired it for around €140 million from Standard Life.

Moreover, the first fund has been particularly active in the logistics segment, closing more than a dozen operations. In fact, the firm has considered putting up a portfolio of some of its industrial assets up for sale, just a year after acquiring them.

In addition, the firm debuted its own Socimi, called Gore Spain Holdings, on the Alternative Investment Market, on 19 January 2017, with an initial value of €144 million. That company owns 20 assets in Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Valencia, Bilbao, Murcia and Sevilla, including logistics warehouses and the Avalon business park in Madrid.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Catalana Occidente Buys Castellana, 55 From Standard Life For €60M

22 December 2016 – El Confidencial

Real estate investors are making the most of the last few days of 2016. The Catalana Occidente group, through its subsidiary Plus Ultra Seguros, has purchased the building at number 55 on Paseo de la Castellana from Standard Life. The asset is located on Madrid’s most important thoroughfare and represents an geunine object of desire for all of the major real estate investors. The group has paid almost €60 million for the building, which represents a yield of around 3%. For Standard Life, selling the building for this amount signals the finishing touch to a perfect operation, given that the insurance company invested €35 million when it acquired the property.

The building has a surface area of 5,625 m2, distributed over seven above ground office floors of 734 m2 each. Moreover, it has a garden for exclusive use by its employees and 27 parking spaces. The property was completely renovated in 2007, but its main architectural and protective features were respected, such as the façade that overlooks Paseo de la Castellana, the entrance hall and the main staircase.

The process has been advised and managed by CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield – the consultancy firms that have conducted a competitive process involved a restricted number of investors.

Castellana 55 is one of the most iconic buildings in the prime area of Madrid and its surface area is leased out in its entirety. Moreover, it is one of just a handful of assets that has gone up for sale in the most prime area of Madrid. Sources familiar with the operation say that the process has received a lot of interest, given the vast shortage of prime products in the market.

Sales and Brexit

The sale of Castellana 55 is the second major divestment that Standard Life has made in Spain this year, after it sold the Las Mercedes Business Park to GreenOak for €140 million. Las Mercedes is an office complex measuring almost 80,000 m2, comprising 10 buildings. It is located on the outskirts of Madrid, next to the A-2 highway and close to the Campo de las Naciones Exhibition Centre and Barajas airport.

The manager completed this operation in June, just one month before it was hit by Brexit and was forced to announce the suspension of trading of its fund Standard Life Investments UK Real Estate Fund. The vehicle, which has funds amounting to GBP 2,900 million (€3,420 million), focuses exclusively on investments in the UK, although in October it announced that it has returned to normality.

Original story: El Confidencial (by E. Sanz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

GreenOak Puts All Of Its Logistics Assets Up For Sale

29 November 2016 – El Confidencial

Early in the summer of 2015, the opportunistic fund GreenOak surprised the market by announcing its unbridled appetite for the Spanish logistics market. In June of that year, the vehicle funded and managed by John Carrafiell announced that it had just purchased five logistics assets in the Community of Madrid, with a combined surface area of 200,000 m2, and that it had agreed to acquire another 100,000 m2.

Over the next few months, the fund completed a barrage of operations, involving the acquisition of, amongst others: a 14,000 m2 platform, which became the largest logistics operation in the País Vasco in 2015; a 30,000 m2 asset in Toledo, leased to Schwepees; the Michelin logistics platform in Seseña, which has a surface area of 47,000 m2; and a portfolio covering 144,320 m2 spread across several properties in Zaragoza and Massalvés (Valencia), which it purchased from Prologis.

Thus, in just 12 months, GreenOak fulfilled its objective of acquiring a portfolio covering 500,000 m2, but rather than develop it, the US fund has now decided to put it up for sale, and whereby take advantage of the strong appetite from institutional investors and specialists in the sector. According to several sources familiar with the sale, the fund has opened a formal sales process, whose first key milestone was recorded last week, with the presentation of preliminary offers from interested parties.

The US firm Eastdil Secured, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo, is coordinating the process, according to the same sources, who point out that this advisor was also chosen by the Canadian fund Ivanhoe to coordinate the sales process of Xanadú, one of the largest shopping centres in Spain, which was sold for around €500 million.

GreenOak’s decision to divest its entire logistics portfolio is seen in the market as an operation by an opportunistic fund, which knew how to buy cheaply and which has decided to take advantage of the interest from more stable investors to generate rapid capital gains. The consideration for the operation is expected to exceed €200 million, compared with the figure of around €125 million that GreenOak has invested to build the portfolio.

Opportunistic buyer

GreenOak signed its first major property purchase in Spain in 2014, when it acquired seven shopping centres from the Dutch group Vastned Retail for €160 million. (…).

It then went onto buy the building located at number 77 on Calle Fuencarral, which it acquired from the General Social Security Treasrury for €21 million; followed by the Sevilla Factory shopping centre, which it bought for €12 million; an office building in Port Cornellá (Barcelona), which it purchased for €10.1 million; and four buildings in the Avalon Business Park (Madrid) and another one in Arroyo de la Vega (Alcobendas), on which it spent more than €55 million in total, according to the figures disclosed in the annual accounts of Gore Spain, the Socimi through which the fund channels its investments in our country.

The icing on the cake for GreenOak came in June this year, when it acquired the Las Mercedes Business Park from Standard Life. The property is located on the outskirts of Madrid, next to the A-2 motorway and comprises an 80,000 m2 complex with 10 buildings, of which nine are used for offices, with the tenth used for the provision of general services.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Ruth Ugalde)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Standard Life Buys Revlon’s HQ In Barcelona For €30M

24 April 2015 – Expansión

The building was sold by the US bank Morgan Stanley

This is the third transaction involving a property in the World Trade Center Almeda Park (Barcelona) in less than a year. The Scottish fund Standard Life has purchased Revlon’s headquarters for almost €30 million. The building was sold by the US bank Morgan Stanley and the deal was advised by Cushman & Wakefield, who did not want to make any comments.

The acquisition closed by Standard Life comes after the Socimi Merlin Properties purchased two other buildings in this office complex last year. In August 2014, Merlin acquired the building leased (in its entirety) to AXA for €47 million. In January, it purchased another office block, which houses various tenants, for €37 million. In both cases, the buildings were sold by the Swiss bank UBS and the deals were advised by Cushman & Wakefield.

The property acquired by Standard Life has a surface area of 10,300 square metres and is mainly occupied by Revlon, but also has other tenants. It was built as a turnkey project for the Colomer Group, which used to be the distributor of Revlon’s line of professional products, and which was acquired by the US group in 2013.

This is not Standard Life’s first investment in Barcelona. In 2011, it acquired a plot of land in the 22@ district for €28 million where it constructed the 250-room Hotel Travelodge de Poblenou. It also used to own two buildings on Gran Vía de Barcelona, although it sold one of those, the one leased to the Catalan Institute of Finance (Instituto Catalán de Finanzas or ICF) to the Generalitat in 2008 for €30 million. This building formed part of a package of assets through which Standard Life entered the Spanish market in the middle of 2007 and which also included buildings located on Paseo de la Castellana, number 55 and Calle Serrano, number 73, both in Madrid.

Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Ángles)

Translation: Carmel Drake