Investors & Tenants Alike Demand Sustainable Buildings

21 February 2019 – Expansión

Sustainability has become an essential requirement in the search for offices. Beyond the social demand for spaces that are more respectful of the environment, sustainable buildings actually allow their owners to obtain higher rents, increase the valuation of their assets and make them more liquid.

“With the emergence of technology, changes in working habits and organisational efficiency, sustainability and well-being have become essential aspects for tenants and important factors for investment decisions”, explains Tomás Higuero, CEO of Aire Limpio, a group specialising in offering products and services for internal environmental quality, which works for hospitals and offices, above all.

Higuero says that the internal air quality of buildings is a fundamental factor that contributes to the health and well-being of workers. In this sense, the main REITS (a corporate structure similar to the Socimis in Spain) in US offices prioritise that their assets are certified or are in the process of being certified, and that they are healthy and efficient buildings from an energy perspective. This trend is also present in Spain and is being adopted by many of the large Socimis and real estate groups, such as Colonial, Merlin and GMP (…).

Original story: Expansión (by R.A.)

Translation: Carmel Drake

GMP Signs Spain’s First “Green” Loan with BBVA: €68M for Castellana 77

9 December 2018 – Eje Prime

The Spanish real estate sector has obtained its first green loan. Specifically, the Socimi GMP, controlled by the Montoro family, has signed a loan of that type with BBVA to finance the project to renovate Castellana 77, an office building in the Azca area. In total, the real estate company has received €68 million.

Specifically, the Socimi acquired the building from BBVA in 2015. GMP has recently completed work to renovate the property. The company’s commitment to obtain the loan has been established around the fact that the money will be used to promote sustainability, according to Expansión.

GMP, which has the Singapore sovereign fund (GIC) amongst its reference shareholders, has been working for a while to create a portfolio of sustainable buildings. 80% of its assets have the Leed stamp and, last June, one of the jewels in its crown, the former Torre BBVA, obtained the Well Oro certificate, becoming the first property in Spain to merit that distinction.

During the first half of 2018, the Socimi saw its profits soar by 81% to exceed €110 million. The company recorded revenues of €49.5 million between January and June, down by 0.8% compared to the same period in 2017.

Currently, GMP has a portfolio of sixteen assets, which sum a total of twenty-seven buildings and a gross leasable area (GLA) of 360,000 m2. All of them are located in Madrid, along with the 65,105 m2 of buildable space that the group owns, concentrated in the urban developments of Valdebebas and Las Tablas. The company’s portfolio of projects also includes a residential tourist development in Alicante, which is called Las Colinas Golf&Country Club.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Capgemini Moves its Spanish HQ to the Oxxeo Building in Madrid

9 July 2018 – Efe Empresas

The building where Capgemini is going to move more than 800 of its employees has been constructed by the real estate group GMP and designed by the architect Rafael de la Hoz, according to explanations provided by the company in a statement.

The company, which provides consultancy, technology and digital transformation services, is going to be the first tenant to occupy the building which spans a surface area of 9,365 m2.

Through these new offices, the firm is seeking to encourage collaboration between its employees in an “open, multi-disciplinary and occupational well-being work environment”. This idea will be developed both through the furniture, as well as through the common area services, digital resources and the design itself.

At the same time, the new headquarters will have a co-innovation centre in such a way that clients and partners will be able to connect with universities, emerging companies and business schools to evaluate new business models and assist with digitalisation processes.

The CEO of Capgemini in Spain, Francisco Bermúdez, explained that the change of headquarters seeks to “respond to the company’s innovation strategy at the global level”, which is why “we are backing new organisational structures that prioritise models of collaboration and experimentation.

The CEO confirmed that the Oxxeo building “will provide us with the facilities and resources that we need, and will embody the company’s identity in terms of vanguard and innovation”. Most importantly, it will offer “a renovated and well-equipped workspace with more resources for the well-being of our professionals”.

Sustainable headquarters

The building chosen by the corporation stands out due to its sustainability, given that it is the first office building in Las Tablas to be awarded the Leed Platinum pre-certificate, the highest possible distinction granted by the US Green Building Council (USGBC).

It is also one of the most pioneering buildings in Europe, the first of its kind in Madrid and the second in Spain, to be included in the WELL Building Standard certification process, the leading global certification for buildings that focuses solely on human health and well-being.

Original story: Efe Empresas

Translation: Carmel Drake

GMP Invests €24M to Construct New Office Building in Madrid

19 February 2018 – Eje Prime

GMP is marking a turning point in the office sector. The group, owned by the Montoro family and the sovereign fund of Singapore, has invested €24 million in the construction of what-is-going-to-be one of the most prime offices in Madrid. One of the many features of this property, which is going to have a surface area of 14,300 m2, is the sports area that it will have on its roof, which will include two padel courts, an athletics space and an area for doing outdoor exercises.

This innovation in services reinforces the new energy with which office buildings are being planned – the segment is currently booming in the Spanish real estate sector. The land was already owned by GMP, which has started to market the property, which will open in June this year. The rental price for the asset, located in Madrid’s financial district, will amount to around €18/m2/month.

The building, called Oxxeo, will have sustainability certifications and is expected to generate great interest amongst large companies, which are the typical tenants of offices in the area. Designed by the architect Rafael de la Hoz, the property has five stories, with 2,945 m2 per floor, and a 2-storey underground parking lot with capacity for 450 vehicles, according to El Economista.

In addition, the GMP building is committed to renewable energy with the placement of photovoltaic panels to generate electricity; and it will be the first office building in Spain to have its own dynamic lighting system adapted to the circadian cycle (biological clock), which will allow the colour of the light to change independently during the course of the day.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sonae Sierra & CBRE GI Put the ‘Max Center de Barakaldo’ Shopping Complex Up For Sale

10 February 2018 – El Correo

Bizkaia is preparing for a major commercial and real estate revolution. Sonae Sierra, the multinational owner of the Max Center shopping complex in Barakaldo has put the property up for sale, 15 years after acquiring it from ING Real Estate. The property was opened in 1994 and was extended in 2002 with the addition of the adjoining Max Ocio building. The latest transaction forms part of a national macro-operation, given that the portfolio up for sale also includes two other large complexes: the Gran Casa de Zaragoza and the Valle Real de Santander.

The company, together with its partner CBRE Global Investors, with whom it jointly shares the ownership of the three large shopping centres, calculates that it will receive proceeds of around €500 million from the sale, according to sources in the sector. Spokespeople for Sonae avoided providing further details about the operation to this newspaper on Thursday. They announced that they only discuss “closed” operations and that the installations in Kareaga, which have an approximate surface area of 60,000 m2 “are still operating in a normal way”.

Nevertheless, the negotiations have been underway for several months. Although they are satisfied with the progress of the business, which is enjoying growing sales and which seems to have left behind the worst years of the crisis, the current owners are looking to generate revenues from the sale of these assets to invest in other projects in different parts of Spain. Sonae Sierra, which is controlled by Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster and the richest man in the United Kingdom, has a presence in seven countries with 46 buildings worth almost €7 billion. It is currently working alongside the British operator McArthurGlen on the imminent opening of a luxury outlet in the Plaza Mayor de Málaga complex, which will involve a disbursement of €140 million.

The company is looking to take advantage of the current times in the Spanish real estate market, which are being characterised by a great deal of interest from funds and overseas companies. Last year, investment in the retail sector rose in a spectacular fashion – by 31% – to reach €3.9 billion. If this latest sale goes ahead, the owners of the Max Center, which is home to 133 stores, as well as a sizeable restaurant and leisure area, would complete their second divestment process in Bizkaia in two years.

At the beginning of 2016, they sold the Zubiarte de Bilbao complex to Activum SG Iberia Fund for €150 million (…).

Modernisation of its roof

Now, all eyes are focused on the Max Center, which has just invested €3.5 million on the modernisation of its roof. Nevertheless, the improvements are not going to stop there, given that the complex is soon going to be subjected to a complete renovation. The changes undertaken in recent months to renew the roof of the building, which houses a parking lot, included the resurfacing of the surface area and its signage, as well as improvements to the lighting and security in the parking area.

In addition to the successive renovation projects, the Max Center has also improved its sustainable profile with several actions aimed at reducing water consumption, improving energy efficiency and increasing recycling rates. Together with these interventions, management has been working on an intense campaign to increase the commercial offering and renew the trust of its customers who are being offered increasingly more choice by nearby competitors, such as Megapark and Ballonti (Portugalete). Some of the new brands that have chosen the Max Center and are about to open stores there include Pablosky, Indie&Soul, San Carlos, Trendie, Loop&Coffe and Burger King. Meanwhile, other stores, which are already established, such as the footwear shop Foot Locker, have undergone major renovations.

Original story: El Correo (by Luis Gómez)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Mercadona Invests €80M in its Corporate HQ

26 January 2018 – Expansión

The largest supermarket chain in Spain, Mercadona, is looking forward to having new headquarters by 2021. The company chaired by Juan Roig has started work on the construction of an office complex that will house its central headquarters in Albalat dels Sorells, just over 10 km from the centre of Valencia.

The construction work of this authentic corporate city will involve an investment of €80 million to build three new properties with a surface area of 25,000 m2, as well as a large underground parking lot.

That amount does not include the price of the land, given that the plots in question have belonged to Mercadona for more than a decade when it first planned the development of this area for its future needs. In fact, the new offices will be located next to its data processing centre and a training and services centre that the company inaugurated in 2014 as a first phase, with an investment of €45 million.

The future corporate city will concentrate the activity and services that the Valencian company currently houses in its historic headquarters, an ancient building next to one of its supermarkets in the heart of the town of Tabernes Blanques and on the Fuente del Jarro de Paterna industrial estate. At the new site, the company will have the capacity to house around 1,000 workers; the construction work is scheduled to finish in 2021.

According to Mercadona, the new intelligent buildings have been designed in line with environmental criteria relating to energy efficiency, sustainability and responsible use of water. The supermarket chain expects around 150 suppliers to participate in the construction work and that around 600 people will work on the development over the next few years.

Original story: Expansión (by A.C.A)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Madrid Accounts For 70% Of All New Housing Permits

10 October 2016 – Inmodiario

The Community of Madrid has been boasting to property developers that it represents the real driver of the growth currently being seen in the real estate sector in Spain.

In this way, at the opening of the National Real Estate Conference, the Director of Transport, Housing and Infrastructure, Pedro Rollán, commented on the statistics and highlighted that licences for new residential construction projects in the region increased by 66% during the first five months of 2016, well above the national average increase of 27%.

During his presentation at the conference, organised by the Association of Property Developers and Construction Companies in Spain (APCE), under the title “From recovery to innovation”, Rollán commented that real estate is a strategic sector, whose contribution to GDP is essential for economic growth.

And, to this end, he stated that the sector’s reactivation is necessary to consolidate and strengthen the (overall) recovery. He emphasised the importance of the need to continue working and adapting the (RE) sector to new times, and of innovating to achieve the most accessible, comfortable and least contaminated spaces.

In this sense, the regional Government is managing aid, which will serve to encourage the renovation of homes and the regeneration and refurbishment of urban spaces, thanks to the agreement signed with the Ministry of Development under the framework of the State Housing Plan.

Thus, this year, €14.4 million will be allocated to subsidies for building renovations and €29.8 million will be spent on aid for urban regeneration and renovation.

In the same way, the regional Government is working to create a Single Integrated Assessment Report Register for buildings in the Community of Madrid, which will contain all of the assessment reports relating to more than 40,000 buildings per year.

This register will enable the data obtained to be used to identify weaknesses and deficiencies in the building stock and will help to improve their quality and sustainability, as well as to obtain extensive information to allow policies to be directed appropriately in terms of architecture and housing. All types of buildings may be registered, regardless of their purpose (use) along with the mandatory registration of all buildings that are more than 30 years old.

Moreover, assessments of the degree of conservation of buildings (ITE) are going to be unified into a single document to ensure the safety of all of the buildings in the region; their basic conditions in terms of universal access, to encourage reasonable modifications in this regard; and energy efficiency certifications (CEE) to help achieve the commitment made in terms of energy savings and building sustainability.

Original story: Inmodiario

Translation: Carmel Drake

Gómez-Pintado: House Building Up By 15% In 2016

6 October 2016 – Expansión

Yesterday, the Chairman of the property developers association APCE, Juan Antonio Gómez-Pintado, opened the association’s National Conference with moderate optimism. “We have not recovered completely”, he said, but he highlighted that his forecasts point to “a 15% increase in house construction” in 2016, “with signs of continued increases in 2017 and 2018”.

Gómez-Pintado highlighted that the major problem in the sector is the large latent demand for housing from young people who find themselves dissatisfied. For this reason, he asked the public administrations “to address” this debate. We need “stability regardless of whoever is in Government”, he said. He also urged property developers to “reduce production costs by focusing on innovation”.

“We face a significant challenge, to facilitate access to housing for young people (…). If not, the current improvement will be a new mirage”, added the Chairman of the association of property developers.

The Secretary of State for Finance, Miguel Ferre, did not take the hint and refused to discuss the possibility of any incentive plans for the sector. In his opinion, the fact that VAT has not been increased for property renovations and that a very favourable fiscal framework has been created for the Socimis are “measures that already carry weight” in the residential sector.

Ferre highlighted that the Socimis – listed real estate investment vehicles – already hold more than €9,300 million in assets and have a stock market value of more than €5,000 million. “It is one of the things that this minister is most proud of”, he said, referring to Cristóbal Montoro, who he stood in for at the conference. There are currently 30 Socimis in Spain, and 25 of them are listed on the Alternative Investment Market (MAB).

On the other hand, Ferre emphasised that, thanks to the fact that work to repair and renovate homes still carries a reduced VAT levy, of 10%, means that “the turnover of repair and renovation companies has increased by 13%”. The European Commission has mobilised €4,200 million of investment for potential low-carbon economy projects and “those funds should be redirected to building sustainability”, he added. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Mutua Madrileña Buys Office Building In Madrid For €30.8M

27 July 2016 – Expansión

The insurance company Mutua Madrileña has acquired the former headquarters of Fórum Filatélico from Credit Suisse’s real estate fund for €30.8 million. The operation has been performed entirely using its own funds.

The property in question is an office building in the heart of Madrid’s financial district. Located at number 51 on Calle José Abascal, next to Paseo de la Castellana, the building has a surface area of 3,600 sqm spread over seven floors, and 62 parking spaces.

According to the company, the operation forms part of its strategy to dynamically manage its assets, which also includes the possibility of making acquisitions as and when attractive opportunities arise. On the buy side, Mutua Madrileña has been advised by the law firm Pérez-Llorca and, on the sell side, Credit Suisse has worked with CBRE as real estate advisor and Eversheds Nicea as legal advisor.

The real estate market

The building will be rented out in its entirety and, in order to increase its value, the company will undertake renovation work, to equip it with the latest technology in terms of efficiency and sustainability.

Mutua Inmobiliaria , which includes the company’s property investment area, considers that the office rental market in Madrid is in full recovery.

The insurance company has not acquired any new properties for almost 10 years. The last purchases it made for its real estate portfolio were the so-called Pirámide and the Torre de Cristal, also on Paseo de la Castellana. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Inma Benedito)

Translation: Carmel Drake