Stoneweg Finalises the Sale of a Tower Containing 300 Rental Homes for €130M

20 May 2019 – Eje Prime

Stoneweg is joining the rental home development market. The fund is going to build a 300-home tower block on the land that it purchased from Dragados, the subsidiary of ACS, on Paseo de la Dirección in Madrid. The operation will amount to €130 million.

The company is holding advanced negotiations with the manager Ares and the US group Greystar, which specialises in student halls, regarding the development. Ares had been the favourite to acquire the tower but now Greystar is gaining ground.

Ares is on a mission to buy up rental homes. In the last few months, the company has agreed to buy 500 rental homes from Aedas Homes, 121 homes from Metrovacesa and 223 homes from Momentum.

Stoneweg purchased the plots from Dragados with the aim of building two residential blocks containing 600 homes in total. The first block will be handed over as a turnkey operation containing rental homes, whilst the second will contain homes with asking prices of €4,500/m2.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Stoneweg Buys Plot to Build Luxury Apartments for €130M

13 December 2018 – Idealista

The real estate market has broken a new record in Madrid: the Spanish-Swiss fund Stoneweg has purchased a residential plot from Dragados for €130 million, the most expensive operation in the history of the capital, according to Idealista News. The plot, located on Paseo de la Dirección, 246, spans 40,000 m2 and two luxury residential towers are going to be built on the site, which will be sold for €6,000/m2.

The project, which is going to be constructed by Dragados, comprises two towers that will have 700 homes in total, and which will go on sale for around €6,000/m2. The land will also be home to two tertiary-use towers, destined for offices, which do not have an operator yet. The operation has been advised by the firm Colliers.

According to sources consulted by Idealista News, these two towers will change the skyline of Madrid and will open the door to a change in the physiognomy of the Tetuán district. The property developer is whereby continuing to take advantage of the real estate cycle and, specifically, of the good times that the luxury residential business is experiencing, which is attracting attention from local and international buyers alike.

Over the coming weeks, Stoneweg is going to open a selection process to choose a company to take care of the sale of the 700 luxury homes. Candidates are expected to include CBRE, Savills-Aguirre Newman, BNP and Colliers (…).

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja, P. Martínez-Almeida & Ana P. Alarcos)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Stoneweg Finalises Purchase of Land in Madrid from Dragados for €120M

14 December 2018 – Eje Prime

Stoneweg is buying land in Madrid. The Spanish-Swiss investment fund is finalising the purchase of a plot located in the Spanish capital from Dragados for €120 million. The operation, which is expected to close within the next few days, will represent a record in Madrid in terms of the volume of finalist land sold.

The plot spans a total buildable surface area of 45,000 m2 and is located on Paseo de la Dirección, in the Madrilenian district of Tetuán. Stoneweg plans to build two residential-use towers on the site comprising 25-storeys each. The price for the land could amount to around €5,000/m2, according to reports from Expansión.

CBRE has participated in the operation, as advisor to the buyer, whilst Colliers International Spain has advised the vendor. The residential development in Madrid will be added to eight other projects that Stoneweg has underway in Spain, four in Barcelona and another four on the Costa Brava.

The investment platform was created in 2015 by the former private banking real estate team at Edmond de Rothschild and by the founding partners of CBRE in Switzerland. Currently, the fund is chaired by Claude Messulam and its management team includes Jaume Sabater as the CEO and Joaquín Castellví, as the Director of Investment and Acquisitions.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Stoneweg Plans to Build New Homes in Barcelona & along the Costa Brava

10 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Stoneweg is continuing to grow its portfolio of projects in Cataluña. The Spanish-Swiss fund is strongly committed to the territory and has already announced new developments in Barcelona and the Costa Brava.

Two of the most important projects are going to be developed on two prime streets in the centre of Barcelona, namely Rambla Catalunya and Pau Claris. The company led by Joaquín Castellví and Jaume Sabater declined to share more details about these future homes, according to Expansión. The real estate company is going to unveil the two developments at the next Barcelona Meeting Point, which will be held in the Catalan capital between 25th and 28th October.

Meanwhile, in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, the fund is going to build two towers containing 276 homes on the site of the former Cosme Toda factory, a plan that was announced in March, when a €370 million investment plan was registered to build 800 new homes in Cataluña.

The sought-after 22@ district for the office market is also of interest to the company, which is planning a development on Calle Llull. In the meantime, on the Costa Brava, Stoneweg has started projects in the residential market in Palamós, Platja d’Aro, Roses and Begur.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

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

ECI Sells 2 Assets in Madrid & Bilbao to Corpfin for €100M

3 August 2018 – Eje Prime

El Corte Inglés is continuing to divest property. The department store group, the largest in its sector in Europe, has closed the sale of two more properties, on prime streets in Madrid and Bilbao, to Corpfin Capital. The sale & leaseback operation has been closed with a gain of 40% with respect to the market value of the properties, at around €100 million.

Specifically, the group has divested its property at number 41 Calle Princesa in Madrid, which spans 11,400 m2 and whose market value is estimated to be around €18 million.

The company has also sold the building located at number 20 Gran Vía in Bilbao to the Spanish fund. That store has a surface area of 5,500 m2 and a market value of around €38 million.

Both properties have been on the market for two years, although the operation was closed off market. El Corte Inglés has signed a long-term lease contract with the new owner that, according to sources familiar with the operation, will charge rents that are 20% higher than the market average on both streets.

The Madrid-based group, chaired since June by Jesús Nuño de la Rosa, has framed this operation within its asset divestment plan to reduce the debt that has been weighing it down for several years. The company owns 92 centres in Spain.

El Corte Inglés has received offers for the purchase of some of its most profitable establishments, including those in Madrid, Barcelona and Marbella. One of those is Torre Titania, formerly the Windsor Building, in Madrid. At the other end of the spectrum, the department store giant owns several stores opened during the first few years of the crisis: almost 24 points of sale, most of which generate significant losses.

One of its most recent operations was closed in October, when the company sold a building in Sevilla to Stoneweg for €10 million, as reported by Eje Prime. The objective of the new owner is to convert that property into a hotel.

Original story: Eje Prime (by P. Riaño & I. P. Gestal)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Stoneweg Invests €200M in Financing of Real Estate Projects

31 August 2018 – El Economista

Last year, the Spanish-Swiss platform Stoneweg, led in Spain by Joaquín Castellví, launched its alternative financing division, to which it has already allocated €200 million to support the development of around 40 real estate projects.

The company headquartered in Geneva (Switzerland) has also raised another €100 million to finance new developments, in which it participates up to a maximum of 60 per cent of the debt.

With the creation of this new line of business, the firm was one of the first to enter the alternative financing market in Spain, a market in which the number of players is growing gradually.

The role that Stoneweg takes in the financing of projects is prior to that of the banks, given that the firm enters in the initial phase of developments, before there is a high level of pre-sales or when a project involves a plot of land that is not yet buildable. For that reason, its financing is more expensive than that offered by the banks, but it provides investors with the opportunity to enter more projects and whereby take full advantage of the upwards cycle currently underway.

Once the developments progress and achieve the parameters requested by the banks, the developers typically cancel the bridge financing in order to resort to traditional means.

In the case of Stoneweg, 50 per cent of the projects in which it has participated to date have been residential, whilst the other half have involved hotels and offices. One of the most significant alliances was closed at the end of last year with Ayco, which subscribed a financing line with an initial drawdown amount of €13 million.

Property developer role

This line of business comes in addition to the firm’s role as a direct investor in the real estate market, where the company has disbursed almost €700 million in recent years. In this way, the firm has starred in one of the largest ever operations in the office market in Barcelona, with the development and subsequent sale of the Luxa Complex in the 22@ district.

The company is continuing to look for opportunities in that segment, both in the Catalan capital and in Madrid, although, currently, housing accounts for the majority of its portfolio, given that it has around 2,000 units under development at different stages.

Through its residential firm Stoneweg Living, the platform has now handed over 150 units and in June, it finished its first development in Madrid, Alfonso X, located in the neighbourhood of Chamberí. Moreover, it recently started work on its first high-end development in the Maresme area of Barcelona, in which it is going to invest around €19 million.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Catalana Occidente Buys its 4th Building in 22@ District for €20M

25 July 2018 – El Economista

The Catalana Occidente Group is building up its portfolio in the 22@ district, the fastest growing office area in Barcelona, where it has just acquired a property for €20 million, according to confirmation provided by various sources to this newspaper.

The building in question is a WIP project, which was owned, until now, by its developers, the Castellvi group and the funds Stoneweg and 1810 Capital Investments. This is not the first operation that the investors have closed with the Catalana Occidente Group, which in September last year also acquired the Luxa office complex, in one of the most important operations of the year in the Catalan capital’s office market.

In that case, it paid €90 million for the two independent buildings spanning 10,000 m2 (Luxa Silver) and 7,000 m2 (Luxa Gold) – plus almost 300 parking spaces – which are leased to Amazon and WeWork. The latter has also just signed a lease contract to occupy the neighbouring WIP building, which has a surface area of 4,400 m2 and which is located at number 121 Calle Ciutat de Granada.

These three newly built and avant-garde design buildings join the other properties that the group purchased at the beginning of last year, also in the 22@ technological district, when it acquired the headquarters of Atos, together with La Llave de Oro, for around €21 million.

RE assets worth €1.17 bn at end of 2017

The Catalana Occidente Group owned real estate assets worth more than €1.17 billion at the end of 2017, mainly offices, which account for 95% of its estate. In this way, in the last two years, its investment strategy in the real estate sector has focused on the purchase of corporate buildings located in prime areas of Madrid and Barcelona. In its latest purchase, the company has been advised by the real estate consultancy firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Currently, the group is not investing in the residential market or in the development of land, although it is active with projects to renovate and reposition its portfolio.

Original story: El Economista (by Alba Brualla)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Who are the Key Players in the Spanish Real Estate Market?

4 May 2018 – El Mundo

House sales are on the rise, as are house prices and rentals. Mortgages are also continuing their upward trend. Moreover, the resurgence of real estate activity is now a reality that can be seen in the increase in the number of new construction and real estate companies.

A recent report published by Gedesco, a firm specialising in financing for companies, says that one in four of the businesses created in Spain during the first quarter of 2018 belonged to the construction or property development sectors.

That represented a volume of almost 6,000 companies, 1.75% more than during the same quarter in 2017. With respect to the last three months of last year, the increase amounts to 21.9%.

Some good news to help us try to forget the fact that 142,576 construction companies disappeared between 2008 and January 2017 – both building firms and property developers -, according to the latest data from Spain’s National Institute of Statistics (INE).

In eight years, the sector went from having almost 360,000 companies to having just 216,987, a reduction of 39%. If we take the look at real estate companies, there were 106,375 in 2008, whereas there were just 67,812 by 2017, almost half.

The data compiled by INE reveals another interesting fact: the construction companies that had more than 5,000 employees in 2008 have disappeared. Although there were actually only three (including building firms and property developers), by 2017, there were just nine companies with 500 or more workers.

Names such as Martinsa Fadesa – created by the businessman Fernando Martín-, Astroc (chaired by Enrique Bañuelos) and Nozar went into the history books of the Spanish real estate sector, after failing to survive the impact of the recession.

Good health

Now, the outlook for the sector is looking healthy, in line with the increase in construction activity, which last year recorded a 28.9% increase in new build permits, to 80,786. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Development, corresponding to the first two months of this year, new home permits rose by 17.4% to 8,035 in February. Estimates in the sector indicate an output of 150,000 homes p.a. for the next few years.

For Elisa Valero, Marketing Director at Gedesco, “the construction sector is back in business”. Nevertheless, the director adds that “the creation of businesses has never gone away, if we look back a few years, the property developers were still there, but the volume of business creation was much lower”.

Whereas 5,000 companies are now being created, in 2011 – at the height of the crisis – just 2,000 were being constituted (…).

Success stories

Another report published in recent weeks by the College of Registrars in Spain also shows that real estate activity in the country is gaining momentum. In 2017, the weight of construction companies and property developers over the total number of businesses constituted rose to 20%, and the rate of growth in relation to 2016 was 14%.

But, looking beyond the figures and back to specific cases (…) we see, for example, that two of the largest property developers of the current cycle were created less than three years ago. The firms in question: Neinor Homes and Aedas, which were created in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

The origins of Vía Célere, another of the important property developers these days, dates back to 2007, at the height of the crisis. The firm emerged after Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado sold the company that he had chaired, Agofer, and created Vía Célere.

In all three cases, the presence of funds in the shareholding of the companies has stimulated their rates of investment to purchase land on which to build new homes.

Second chances

On the list of property developers that have been created recently, highlights include Kronos Homes, Stoneweg and Q21 Real Estate.

There is another noteworthy name on the current panorama, which, although it cannot be considered a new company, is a clear example of the resurgence of a business after the crisis. The company in question is Metrovacesa. Following a facelift by its creditor banks, it returned to the stock market at the beginning of this year, after abandoning it in 2013.

The firm, controlled by BBVA and Santander, stands out since it is the largest landowner in Spain, amongst the listed property developers, with 6.1 million m2 of land spread over the whole country, with the capacity to build 37,500 homes.

Business transformations such as the one involving Metrovacesa were commonplace during the crisis and resulted in the appearance of new players on the real estate stage.

Another illustrative example has been the birth of the so-called servicers. These companies have emerged in recent years from the former real estate subsidiaries of the banks.

Altamira (whose origins are found in Banco Santander), Servihabitat (La Caixa), and Solvia (Banco Sabadell), amongst others, are fulfilling the mission entrusted to them: to take on the bank’s property, enabling them to complete their clean-ups and to divest the assets by taking advantage of the current boom in activity.

The servicers, whose main activity is located in the Community of Madrid, are also responsible for selling the properties of another one of the stars created in recent years: Sareb, commonly known as the bad bank.

In 2018, that company celebrates its 5th birthday, and during its short life, it has taken over the properties of the entities that have been intervened as a result of the bank restructuring (…).

In recent months, Sareb has also started to market its first new build developments constructed on own land that it holds in its portfolio. In addition, last week, it launched a campaign to sell 3,314 homes along the coast, 95% of which will be lived in for the first time by their new owners.

The Socimis

If there is one group of players that stands out above all of the other newly created real estate companies it is the Socimis.

The real estate investment companies started to trade on the Spanish stock exchange in 2012 as a result of a regulatory change introduced by the Government that gave them free reign to do so.

The Socimis Entrecampos and Promorent were the first to make their debuts. Six years on, there are 51 such companies and, according to some estimates, that number may reach 100 in the future. Merlin, Axiare, Hispania, Lar España, Testa and Colonial – the largest by volume – have all been created in the last four years and are now competing with property developers, such as Neinor and Aedas, on the real estate stage and on the stock market.

In April, one of the newest faces, Sareb’s Socimi Témpore, made its debut. In its first month on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB), it has seen its share price appreciate by 3.85%. When it made its stock market debut, the company’s valuation amounted to €152 million (…).

Original story: El Mundo (by María José Gómez-Serranillos)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Stoneweg to Sell more than 300 Homes to a single Investor for €200M

13 April 2018 – Expansión

The Swiss fund Stoneweg is finalising the sale of a batch of three large residential developments located in Cataluña and Madrid, which have sparked interest from several international funds and a handful of property developers. The three developments, which contain more than 300 homes, are worth around €200 million.

They are the three largest developments of the almost thirty residential projects that Stoneweg is promoting in Spain through its subsidiary Stoneweg Living. Two of them are located in Cataluña and one in Madrid and, although in theory, they were designed to be sold, on an individual basis, to end users, the significant interest that the Spanish residential sector has sparked amongst investors has led to a change of plan.

In this way, Stoneweg has combined its three largest developments and is going to sell them as a single lot, with the idea that the buyer will incorporate them into its real estate portfolio and put them on the rental market. Although several overseas investors have expressed their interest in the package, the most advanced negotiations are the ones being held with a German institutional fund, according to sources speaking to Expansión.

Stoneweg was created in 2015 by the former team of the real estate division of the private bank Edmond de Rothschild and by the founding partners of CBRE in Switzerland. It is chaired by the former President of the Executive Committee of Edmond de Rothschild, Claude Messulam, and two Spaniards sit on the management board: Jaume Sabater, as the CEO and Joaquín Castellví, as the Director of Investments and Acquisitions. Since 2015, it has invested more than €500 million in the promotion of offices and residential buildings in Spain. Recently, it moved its headquarters from Barcelona to Madrid and expanded its offices in the Spanish capital to make space for its growing workforce.

The sale of this package of more than 300 homes is another example of the interest that the residential rental market is sparking in Spain. This business, which has just a few strong operators, is gaining strength in the capital. The professional rental home market in Spain is very fragmented. Testa owns a portfolio of 10,700 homes and is preparing its stock market debut. Another player is the manager Azora, which is also preparing its debut on the stock market, and Fidere – Blackstone’s Socimi – which made its stock market debut in 2015 with 2,688 social housing properties purchased during the crisis.

Original story: Expansión (by Marisa Anglés and Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake