Thor Equities Finds a Tenant for its Jewel on Gran Vía

20 February 2019 – Eje Prime

Thor Equities has found a replacement for Sfera in the heart of Madrid. The US fund, which last year acquired number 30 Gran Vía for €75 million, has leased one of the commercial premises in the property to the sports fashion retailer Décimas.

The company has taken over the space measuring 600 m2 from Sfera, the fashion chain owned by El Corte Inglés. That retail company had occupied the premises since 2005 but decided to vacate it last year because it was too small for its new commercial format (…).

For Décimas, this new store represents a new step onto a prime thoroughfare. The chain concentrates the bulk of its store network in shopping centres, although it also has a flagship store on Calle Fuencarral (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Silvia Riera)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Thor Equities Leases Puerta del Sol, 11 to Malagan Perfume Chain Primor

12 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Thor Equities is going to become the landlord of Primor in Madrid. The New York-based fund has leased number 11 Puerta del Sol to the Malaga-based perfume and cosmetics chain. The property, which is owned by Thor Equities and the real estate manager Invesco Real Estate, will house Primor’s flagship store in the Spanish capital.

The asset is located on one of the busiest commercial streets in Madrid. The store, which will open its doors at the beginning of 2019, will occupy the more than 1,400 m2 that make up the property, distributed over three floors. The lease contract has been signed for a duration of fifteen years, with a rent of around €360/m2/month, according to reports from El Economista.

The fund and Invesco Real Estate acquired the store from El Corte Inglés at the end of 2015 for €65 million. The property is one of four assets that comprise Thor Equities’s real estate portfolio in Madrid. The company made its last purchase in April when it acquired number 30 Gran Vía for €75 million. Moreover, Thor is also the owner of number 5 Puerta del Sol, for which it paid €5 million in March 2017.

The fund has undertaken this transaction together with Invesco Real Estate, one of the world’s largest real estate investment managers. The firm has been investing in Spain in different segments, such as the residential and logistics sectors, for several years. Specifically, its last major operation in the country involved its purchase of three logistics centres in Madrid and Barcelona for €173 million.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Sfera Leaves Gran Vía & Frees Up 1,000 m2 of Prime Retail Space

23 August 2018 – Eje Prime

Sfera is freeing up 1,000 m2 of space in the centre of Madrid. In September, the fashion chain owned by El Corte Inglés is going to abandon the store it currently occupies on Gran Vía, with a useful commercial surface area of 600 m2. The company has decided not to renew the rent that tied it to the recent purchaser of the building, the US fund Thor Equities.

Located at number 30 on the Spanish capital’s main commercial thoroughfare, surrounded by competitor brands (Inditex, H&M, Tendam and Primark, amongst others), the store is no longer of interest to Sfera, which has justified its departure on the basis of the small size of the store for the exhibition model that it is developing, according to Cinco Días. The chain has occupied this three-story establishment (comprising the first, ground and basement floors) since 2005.

Sfera is immersed in a process to renovate and reorganise its business plan for its commercial activity in the centre of Madrid. The company recently remodelled its store at number 4 Calle Preciados, which has a surface area of 2,500 m2 spread over five storeys.

The objective of the chain is to strengthen the presence of its store on Preciados so that it will become the firm’s flagship store in the centre of Madrid. Similarly, Sfera is going to start work soon on the renovation of its store at number 56 Calle Fuencarral. The company’s portfolio of retail assets in the centre of the Spanish capital is completed by a second establishment at number 118 Calle Fuencarral and the concession stands it has in the El Corte Inglés stores in the area.

In total, Sfera renovated 26 of its stores in Spain in 2017. With a presence in 15 countries besides Spain, where it opened its newest store just a few months ago in Fuengirola (Málaga), the chain is investing considerably in the international real estate market. The clearest example is Mexico, where the firm has 45 stores, all operated as franchises.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Investors Unleash a Buying Frenzy on Madrid & Barcelona’s High Streets

28 August 2018 – Cinco Días

E-commerce is having an unexpected effect in that it is boosting the main high streets of Madrid and Barcelona. A number of operators are opening flagship stores to compete with online sales, whilst at the same time, there is a great deal of interest from investors wanting to acquire these types of properties since they represent assets with high returns.

During the first six months of the year, the main high streets of Madrid and Barcelona sparked a buying frenzy amongst real estate investors. They spent €700 million on the purchase of stores during H1 – that figure was 44% higher than they spent during the whole of 2017, according to the High Street report published by the consultancy firm Savills Aguirre Newman.

In an environment of low returns on other investment alternatives, given the context of low interest rates and enormous liquidity in the market, significant capital flows are being channelled towards property. Within the sector, the high street segment (stores on the most commercial streets) of Madrid and Barcelona are attracting investors.

The yield or return in the best commercial neighbourhoods of Madrid and Barcelona amounts to 3.25%, and in secondary areas, that figure rises to between 4.5% and 4.75% (the better the area, the higher the cost of operations and so the lower the returns). In large towns, the yield on prime stores reaches 4%.

Institutional investors (large real estate and pension funds) have been the most active players, accounting for 76% of all operations, according to Savills Aguirre Newman, with the remaining 24% involving insurance companies, private firms, family offices and Socimis (…).

“Institutional investors continue to focus on the best commercial thoroughfares of the large cities, where the purchase tickets typically exceed €20 million”, says the study. Meanwhile, private investors are more active in opportunities in the cities in which they reside, where they are local experts.

Madrid has accounted for a large number of the operations seen in recent months, with the acquisition by the fund Hines of Preciados 13 (..) and Redevco’s purchase of the Mercado de San Miguel. Meanwhile, AEW bought the Mercado de Fuencarral; Generali acquired Preciados 9; Thor Equities snapped up Gran Vía 30, and M&G Real Estate purchased 68 on the same street. Nevertheless, a lot of the investment this year has been due to one transaction involving a portfolio of Inditex stores, which were acquired by the German fund Deka for €400 million.

For investors, another attractive feature of the Spanish market is the improvement in the rents that tenants are paying, which have clearly risen in recent years since the crisis. Prices on Calle Preciados, for example, have risen from €270/sqm/month two years ago to €277/sqm/month in 2018. Gran Vía has also seen a €10/sqm/month increase to €240/sqm/month, according to data from the consultancy firm.

In Barcelona, prices on the most expensive street in Spain, Portal de L’Angel, have grown by 5.5% during the same period to €285/sqm/month. Nevertheless, prices on Paseo de Gracia are rising the fastest, by 15%, to reach €260/sqm/month (…).

One of the major changes that is being seen is the concentration and opening of large flagship stores in the centre of the two cities through which the operators are seeking to counter the strength of online shopping, by offering what they call a shopping experience (…).

In this vein, as Cinco Días revealed last week, the Chinese technology firm Huawei is going to open a flagship store on Gran Vía 48 in Madrid, in the former C&A store. On the other hand, the Sfera brand, owned by El Corte Inglés, is leaving Gran Vía 30, given that it has recently reorganised its business in the centre of the city to focus on its larger and recently renovated megastore on Calle Preciados.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Thor Completes Purchase of Gran Vía 30 for €75M

20 June 2018 – Property Week

Thor Equities has completed the acquisition of a mixed-use building on Madrid’s Gran Via from Angelo Gordon for €75m (£64.8m), Property Week can reveal.

The 4,480 m2 building on the 100-year old main street in the centre of Madrid, contains 1,172 m2 of retail space alongside nine floors of residential accommodation and a multi-disciplinary event space on the thirteenth floor. The retail space in Gran Via 30 is predominantly let to the Spanish fashion chain Sfera.

Original story: Property Week (by Richard Hook)

Edited by: Carmel Drake

Thor Equities Buys Gran Vía, 30 in Madrid for €75M

18 April 2018 – Mis Oficinas

The US firm Thor has purchased the building located at number 30 Gran Vía, in the heart of Madrid, for €75 million. The property, which was constructed between 1919 and 1924 to house the Teatro Fontalba, was converted into offices, over time, for Telefónica.

The US firm already owns four other properties in Madrid. It purchased the first one in August 2015, specifically, number 9 Puerta del Sol. That same year, in December, it successfully acquired number 11 on the same square. In February 2017, it also purchased number 5 for around €50 million. Its most recent purchase was number 16 Calle Fuencarral.

The strategy of the US firm is to look for properties in the best areas of Madrid and to convert them into flagship stores for major brands.

Original story: Mis Oficinas

Translation: Carmel Drake

Thor Equities Sells c/Fuencarral 16 to Union Investment

31 January 2018 – Eje Prime

The fund Thor Equities is closing its positions in Spain. The group has sold number 16 Calle Fuencarral to the institutional fund Union Investment. Just before the operation, Thor Equities signed a rental contract to lease the store to the Swedish giant H&M, the second largest fashion retailer in the world, which will open a branch of its Cos chain there.

The establishment has a surface area of 1,320 m2, according to explanations provided in a statement issued by Union Investment and Thor Equities. The five-storey property was constructed in 1900 and was completely renovated in 2017. The fund changed the use of the property in order to convert it into a mega-store, whereby following the trend in the market in the centre of Madrid, as well as the example set by other real estate investors.

The operation, whose amount has not been disclosed, represents the first purchase by Union Investment in the market for high-street stores in Spain, although assets in the retail sector already account for 30% of the portfolio that the fund manages in Europe.

Nevertheless, the group already owned assets in the Spanish market. What’s more, the fund has already started to cash in some of its properties in the country with the sale of the former headquarters of Marsans. The Pórtico Building, located in Campo de las Naciones in Madrid, is up for sale for €130 million, a higher amount than the €115 million that the German investment group paid in 2009 to the now extinct travel company.

Headquartered in Frankfurt, the German company currently has several high profile tenants leasing that property, including: Pepsico, Pullmantur, Nautalia and Beam España, amongst others. With a gross leasable area of 27,000 m2, the Pórtico Building was designed by the architecture studios SOM and Rafael de La-Hoz.

Union Investment’s decision to put this asset on the market comes at a time when there is a distinct shortage of space in the office segment, after the leasing of offices grew by 31% in Madrid in 2017, to 543,000 m2, according to the consultancy Cushman&Wakefield.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

JD Sports to Open Spanish Flagship Store in Thor Equities’ Puerta del Sol Property

27 November 2017 – Eje Prime

JD Sports is going to open its Spanish flagship store between Puerta del Sol and Calle Preciados. The British sports equipment retailer has reached an agreement with the US fund Thor Equities to lease the building at number 11 on the Madrilenian square, which has a surface area of 1,129 m2. Two years ago, Thor acquired the property from El Corte Inglés for €65 million.

The formal agreement is expected to be signed within the next few weeks so that JD Sports can move into the new store as soon as possible, according to El Confidencial. This operation represents an accolade for Puerta del Sol,  the kilometre zero of Spain’s streets, which has aspirations to become the retail hub of the domestic market. In recent times, the square has undergone some radical changes with the arrival of powerful retail franchises; they are investing in an area that is becoming more expensive by the day.

The British group will occupy its new space under a long-term lease contract, after beating off several important rivals in the negotiation phases, including the multinational sports equipment firm Nike.

Until 2015, the building housed the bookshop of El Corte Inglés. Spread over three floors, it is one of the most sought-after buildings in Puerta del Sol due to its location.

With this operation, Thor will see its asset value rise ahead of a future sale, such as the deal it is already negotiating for number 9 in the same square, where it hopes to build a large shopping centre. In recent years, the commercial value of the centre of Madrid has risen, as shown by the arrival of Primark in Gran Vía and the conversion of the former El Corte Inglés toyshop on Calle Preciados into a Pull&Bear store.

Rents for premises in the area have increased since 2015, now amounting to €300/m2/month in the central core, making it one of the most expensive places to lease a store in Madrid.

Moreover, Thor Equities is the owner of number 5 Puerta del Sol, for which it paid almost €50 million in February, as EjePrime revealed. The New York-based fund owns a portfolio of assets worth more than €9,000 million, spanning more than 20 million m2, in the United States (it owns several assets on New York’s Fifth Avenue), as well as in Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe, in France and the United Kingdom.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

French Fund Heraclès Arrives In Spain & Acquires La Vega Shopping Centre

26 July 2017 – Eje Prime

A new fund is entering the Spanish market to achieve its objectives. Heraclès Investissement is joining the likes of Cogress, Blackstone, Shaftesbury and Thor Equities and is launching a subsidiary in the Spanish market, according to sources at the company. The acquisition of assets in Spain will help with the group’s international expansion plans, which include constructing a portfolio of assets worth €1,000 million by the end of next year.

Heraclès Investissement has opened its office at number 63 on Calle Velázquez, from where it will plot its adventures in the Spanish market. To this end, the fund has hired David Acea Lorenzo, former executive of companies such as Isolux and Tele2 Comunitel, as the Director General of the group in the country, which began its operations in the market in June.

The group, which focuses its activity on the development, investment and management of real estate assets, has created a corporate web in Spain to articulate its acquisitions. Heraclès Investissement has constituted Heracles Desarrollo, for the purpose of carrying out real estate developments, Heracles Gestión to administer real estate properties and Heracles Real Estate, through which it will articulate its purchases in the country.

In addition to these companies to manage and acquire its assets, Heraclès Investissement has also constituted a subsidiary with its first acquisition. The company has acquired the La Vega shopping centre, located in Madrid, which has a retail surface area of 9,000 m2 and an Alcampo supermarket measuring 18,000 m2. The group did not want to make public the price of that operation.

According to the group’s most recent results, Heraclès Investissement closed last year with an asset portfolio worth €353 million and its aim for this year is to almost double the value of its stock of assets to €700 million. Nevertheless, its more ambitious objective is to expand its portfolio to include assets worth €1,000 million by the end of next year.

The group owns commercial assets, offices and residential properties. Until now, Heraclès Investissement, which was founded in 2003, has invested €57 million in the acquisition of around fifteen commercial properties, which have a combined surface area of 15,569 m2 and which generate annual rental income of €5.2 million.

Heraclès Investissement’s block of residential properties comprises seven assets, most of which are located in France, and for which the group paid €60 million. Meanwhile, the group owns seven offices, according to the latest available data, and offices represent the segment in which the group has invested the most to date (€72 million) (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by C. Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Thor Equities Buys Store In Puerta del Sol For €43M

13 March 2017 – Expansión

Madrid’s high streets and specifically, those with the greatest numbers of tourist visitors, are starring in some of the largest investment operations in the retail sector.

The latest example is the purchase completed by the US fund Thor Equities. The firm, which specialises in the management and development of all kinds of real estate assets, has completed the purchase of a 520m2 store at number 5, Puerta del Sol, in Madrid. It has paid €43 million for the property, which is leased to the tenant Futbolmanía.

The fund Thor arrived in Spain in September 2015, when it acquired another store in La Puerta del Sol, worth €9.5 million, which used to be owned by Kutxabank.

Several months later, it spent around €65 million on a building owned by El Corte Inglés. The property, which used to house a bookstore, has a surface area of 1,344 m2 spread over three floors. A search is currently underway for a tenant for that property, following the departure of El Corte Inglés, which remained as a tenant for a year following the sale.

The US fund has also acquired the building at number 16 on Calle Fuencarral. In these operations, Thor has been advised by the real estate consultancy Knight Frank.

“We still firmly believe in the Madrilenian market – and in particular, in the area of high footfall around La Puerta del Sol – due to the continuous growth of the Spanish economy and the increase in consumer confidence, as well as the persistent increase in the number of overseas visitors to the city, all of which are leading to increases in retail sales”, said Jared Hart, CEO at Thor Equities.

Internationally, Thor Equities owns high-profile properties in London, including 1 Dover Street, 145 Oxford Street, 105-109 Oxford Street and Bond Street House on 14 Clifford Street, as well as the Burlington Arcade, as well as buildings on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake