Merlin Teams Up with Telefónica to Digitalise the Management of its c.150 Office Buildings

21 April 2019 – Expansión

Merlin has joined forces with Telefónica to digitalise and centralise the management and maintenance of its c. 150 offices, which are primarily located in Madrid and Barcelona, and which span a combined surface area of 1.3 million m2.

The aim of the initiative is to optimise the efficiency of the buildings’ operations and, above all to save costs, especially on the energy side. It forms part of the Socimi’s wider commitment to the digitalisation of its property portfolio.

A new digital headquarters will be set up to centrally manage the operations and maintenance of the Socimi’s offices, from where it will be possible to turn off the lights, change the temperature and take into account any breakdowns in any of the properties.

Merlin’s office portfolio includes several iconic assets, such as Torre Glòries in Barcelona, one of the four skyscrapers in Madrid, several assets on Paseo de la Castellana and properties on Calle Balmes and La Diagonal in the Catalan capital.

Original story: Expansión 

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Merlin to Add 13,000 m2 of Coworking Space in Madrid & Barcelona by 2020

28 February 2019 – Idealista

Merlin Properties is expanding in the coworking sector, where it operates under the Loom brand. The Socimi led by Ismael Clemente currently has three shared offices in Madrid, spanning 3,500 m2 in total, and it is planning to open its next space, spanning 1,200 m2 on Calle Eucalipto, 25, also in the Spanish capital, in June.

The listed company also intends to open 1,600 m2 of coworking space in Torre Glóries, the office block that it owns in Barcelona, where its tenants will work alongside several high-profile operators, such as Facebook, Dynatrace and Oracle.

In September, Merlin is going to open 2,000 m2 of coworking space in the Salamanca neighbourhood of Madrid and before the end of the year, it will add 1,500 m2 of shared office space in WTC Alameda in Barcelona.

In 2020, the Socimi is also planning to open 1,100 m2 of shared work space in Torre Chamartín in Madrid and another 2,000 m2 in the 22@ district of Barcelona.

Merlin owns 31% of Loom House, which is managed by the siblings, Paula and José Almansa.

Original story: Idealista (by Custodio Pareja)

Summary translation by: Carmel Drake

Warren Buffett Wants to Buy Torre Agbar for €150M

6 February 2019 – Expansión

The multi-millionaire investor Warren Buffet wants to buy the iconic Torre Agbar in Barcelona for around €150 million through his investment vehicle, Berkshire Hathaway, which the US magnate uses to deploy his asset purchase policy around the world. The information was revealed by Efe and confirmed by Berkshire Hathaway itself, which has announced several real estate investments in Spain in recent days, but without specifying any details.

The plan has been decided “directly” by Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world, in collaboration with Alessandro Proto, the senior executive at Proto Group, the company associated with Buffett in Barcelona.

The purchase proposal for one of the real estate icons of the Catalan capital, which currently belongs to the Socimi Merlin, and which was renamed Torre Glòries a few months ago, will be formalised before a notary within the next few days.

A few days ago, Berkshire Hathaway reported that it is going to invest €35 million in Spain to open 150 real estate agencies during the course of this year with Proto Group (…).

Berkshire Hathaway, which has more than 1,300 offices in 47 states around the USA and which employs 43,000 agents in the real estate sector, started its international expansion two years ago, primarily in Latin America and Europe, focusing on medium, medium-high and high-level residential properties (…).

Torre Glòries comprises offices and has an occupancy rate of 75%, with several technological tenants, including Facebook and Oracle. The tower spans 37,614 m2.

Original story: Expansión

Translation: Carmel Drake

HP Leases Entire Building in Madrid’s 22@ from UK & European Investments

9 October 2018

The asset, located at 66 Calle de Tangér, is owned by UK & European Investments and has five floors and 7,200 square meters.

The US-based tech giant is moving to Madrid’s 22@. Barcelona’s technology district, a benchmark in today’s office market, will now play host to Hewlett & Packard (HP), which has just leased an entire office building at Calle Tangér from UK & European Investments, the real estate developer announced.

The property, located at 66 Calle de Tangér, a centrally located street in the district, has five floors and 7,200 square meters of surface area, 800 square meters or which are on the roof, with stunning views of Barcelona.

The American technology will set up shop next door to other giants of the tech sector, including Amazon and WeWork in the Luxa office complex, which is owned by Catalana Occidente. Other large international firms, mostly related to technology, have also recently moved to the area: Facebook moved into Merlin’s iconic Torre Glòries, while Schibsted and King will share a space in a new building that Colonial is building in 22@.

UK & European Investments acquired HP’s new home in Barcelona in July 2016. The asset underwent a complete rehabilitation, converting an industrial building into an office building, the first in Barcelona to have a Leed Platinum certificate. The London architectural office of Buckley Gray Yeoman (BGY) and Spain’s Deerns participated in the project.

UK & European Investments, headquartered in London and headed by its CEO, Barney Kelham, specialises in the development of prime industrial-style office spaces. In Spain, where the firm has an office, the company’s rehabilitation of the 66 Calle de Tangér building is one of several projects that the group has underway in the country, with a gross total development value of more than 130 million euros. Among them, two residential projects in Madrid and Marbella stand out.

TLG, a private investment firm that operates in eleven countries, with a significant presence in the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Germany and Spain, owns the company. The firm is active in fashion distribution, fund management, hotels and venture capital.

Original Story: EjePrime

Translation: Richard Turner

Hines Acquires Mediapro’s HQ in 22@ District for €90M

19 July 2018 – Eje Prime

Hines has scored a goal in Barcelona’s 22@ district. The US fund has completed the purchase of the Imagina building (owner and tenant of the asset) for €90 million. The property is located at number 177 Avenida Diagonal in the Catalan capital.

The complex, which spans more than 50,000 m2 spread over two properties, is owned by the company Mediacomplex, in which Imagina, the parent company of Mediapro, holds a stake, and the Town Hall of Barcelona.

Imagina holds a 66.7% stake in this office complex, which is located very close to Torre Glòries, owned by Merlin Properties, and the two Luxa buildings, owned by Catalana Occidente and leased to Amazon and WeWork.

Hines is strengthening its presence in Barcelona with this purchase. Last year, the US fund purchased the Popular’s headquarters on Paseo de Gracia for €90 million, which it is going to convert into a mixed-use building containing 5,000 m2 of office space and 3,000 m2 of premises for commercial use.

Similarly, this operation reinforces the interest from investors in the 22@ district. In recent months, the technological district in Barcelona has welcomed the arrival of tenants of the calibre of King, the creator of Candy Crush, and Glovo, which is going to move its offices to the Catalan capital to a facility measuring 1,200 m2.

Nevertheless, the star building is Torre Glóries. The iconic building is going back on the market this year after a comprehensive renovation and has already welcomed technology giants such as Facebook and Oracle, which has confirmed its entry into the property this very week. Hines is one of the largest funds in the world with more than USD 100 billion in assets.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Merlin Leases 3 Floors in Torre Glòries to Oracle

16 July 2018 – Eje Prime

Torre Glòries is welcoming a new technological giant to its facilities. Merlin Properties is going to be Oracle’s landlord after it leased three floors in its building, located in the 22@ district, to the US firm. The multinational will join Facebook in the property after it signed up to lease ten floors from the Socimi back in May.

Oracle has leased 3,500 m2 of office space in the property, known in the city as Torre Agbar (after the former owner of the building) to locate some of its Netsuite team there, the cloud services company that it acquired in 2016, according to Expansión.

Merlin’s flagship property in Barcelona, standing 142 metres tall and with a gross leasable area of 37,614 m2, has been reformed in its entirety in recent years with an investment of €15 million. After being ruled out by the EMA (European Medicines Agency), the Socimi decided to convert its building into a multi-tenant space for the office sector.

The property contains 34 floors of offices, of which Merlin has now let thirteen at a variable price of around €25/m2/month. A new major operator is entering the 22@ district, Barcelona’s techie centre and currently the most sought-after neighbourhood in the Catalan capital. During the first quarter of the year, the office market grew by 4% in Barcelona with the leasing of 76,000 m2 of space.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Merlin Expects Torre Glòries to be Fully Occupied by 2019

7 June 2019 – Expansión

Following the stoppage during the final quarter of last year, which was attributed to political instability, the first few months of 2018 have reactivated the real estate sector and the footfall in the shopping centres of Barcelona; and one of the clearest examples of this change in trend is Torre Glòries, one of Merlin’s main assets in the Catalan capital. The firm’s CEO, Ismael Clemente, explained during an information session at the International Logistics Fair (‘Salón Internacional de la Logística’ or SIL) in Barcelona that the office complex will be fully occupied by 2019.

The first tenant is going to be the Austrian firm CCC, which will work for Facebook and which has leased eight floors, with the option of leasing five more. That firm will start to move into Torre Glòries on 1 July. “After finding out that the EMA would not move to Barcelona, we thought that it might be hard to fully let the building three years after the refurbishment work finished (in June), but now we see that in six months we are going to have 80% of the property occupied and that by 2019, it will be full”, said the Director. Merlin is negotiating with two other companies from the technology sector, which will allow the listed Socimi to hang up the “No vacancy” sign if the most optimistic forecasts are fulfilled.

Investment

At SIL, Merlin unveiled its plans to expand its logistics offering over the next two or three years (…).

Original story: Expansión (by A. Zanón)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Facebook in Torre Glòries: CCC Will Provide Anti Fake News Services to the US Giant

7 May 2018 – Eje Prime

The US giant Facebook has chosen Barcelona. According to sources in the sector, the California-based company has engaged Competence Call Center, which announced its moved to Torre Glòries two weeks ago, to fight against fake content on its platform. In this space, CCC is going to employ more than 500 people who will work directly for the technology giant in the building owned by Merlin.

CCC is going to occupy 10 floors in the building located in the 22@ district. Facebook has already opened another content control centre in Europe together with CCC in Germany, a model that it is now going to replicate in Barcelona, according to Cinco Dias.

Measuring 142 m tall and with a gross leasable area of 37,614 m2, the building in Barcelona has received investment amounting to €15 million from Merlin. After the departure of the EMA, the Socimi decided to convert the property into a multi-tenant space aimed at the office sector.

The building was designed by the architects Jean Nouvel and Fermín Vázquez and inaugurated in 2005. It has 34 above ground floors and an auditorium with capacity for more than 350 people. In addition, the building has another four floors for parking with 300 spaces. In total, the property spans a surface area of 51,485 m2.

The real estate group acquired the building in January 2017 for €142 million. With this operation, the Socimi avoided the tourist moratorium imposed by the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, which prevented Emin Capital from opening a luxury hotel in the famous tower.

Emin Capital reached an agreement with Agbar at the end of 2013 to acquire the building for €150 million. That commitment materialised at the beginning of 2016 when the group made its first payment of €35 million.

The 22@ district is the main area of growth in the office market in Barcelona, having consolidated its position as a magnet for international innovative companies such as Cisco, Ebay, Yahoo, Deutsche Telekom, Sage, SAP, Capgemini and Indra, amongst others.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Merlin Leases 8 Floors in Torre Glòries to Competence Call Center

26 April 2018 – Eje Prime

Merlin has found a new tenant for one of the most iconic assets in its portfolio after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) decided to vacate the property. The Socimi, led by Ismael Clemente, has signed the lease for 9,000 m2 of space spread over eight floors to Competence Call Center. Merlin has been advised by Savills Aguirre Newman and CBRE.

Standing 142 m tall and comprising a gross leasable area of 37,614 m2, the building in Barcelona has received investment of €15 million from Merlin. After the decision by the EMA, the Socimi decided to convert the property into a multi-tenant space dedicated to the office sector.

The building was designed by the architects Jean Nouvel and Fermín Vázquez and was inaugurated in 2005. It contains 34 storeys and an auditorium with a capacity of more than 350 people. In addition, the property has four floors of parking with 300 spaces. In total, the property spans 51,485 m2.

The real estate group acquired the building in January 2017 for €142 million. Through that operation, the Socimi avoided the tourism moratorium imposed by the mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau, which had prevented Emin Capital from opening a luxury hotel in the famous tower.

Emin Capital reached an agreement with Agbar at the end of 2013 to acquire the building for €150 million. That commitment materialised at the beginning of 2016 when the group made its first payment of €35 million.

The 22@ district is the main area of growth for the office market in Barcelona, having consolidated its position as a magnet for international innovation companies such as Cisco, Ebay, Yahoo, Deutsche Telekom, Sage, SAP, Capgemini and Indra, amongst others.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

CBRE: 76,000 m2 of Office Space was Leased in Barcelona in Q1

10 April 2018 – El Periódico

During the first three months of the year, 76,000 m2 of office space was leased in Barcelona. That volume, which represents an increase of 4% with respect to previous quarters, is the highest seen in the last nine months, which means that, despite the political tensions, activity in the city’s office market is performing well. According to a report from CBRE, “companies are moving for very specific reasons and the appeal of Barcelona means that activity remains high. Currently, several large companies are evaluating new locations for their offices, which means that the forecast in the short and medium term for leasing remains good”, said Lindy Garber, Head of the Office Area at the real estate consultancy firm.

The most notable operations recorded during the first quarter include the rental of 6,500 m2 of office space by the Property Registrars in the BCN Fira District complex on Paseo de la Zona Franca; the move by the company Norwegian Air to Nike’s former offices on the Mas Blau industrial estate, where it is going to occupy 5,400 m2; as well as Pepsico Iberia’s move to its new offices spanning 4,900 m2 in the WTC Almeda Park complex. Like in most large cities, Barcelona is seeing an increase in demand from companies offering co-working space.

The volume of surface area available in the market continues to be low for another quarter. In the last year, the availability rate has decreased from 12.5% to 10.3%, and there is a shortage of large, high-quality spaces. Although several projects have been handed over in recent quarters, they have not been added to the new supply, since they were pre-leased before they even came onto the market. This practice is gaining ground due to the lack of available product in the market. On the other hand, the entry onto the market of Torre Glòries added around 27,000 m2 of available space in one of the most sought-after areas of the city, the 22@ district. Prime rents, which have risen by 35% since 2014, are continuing their upward trajectory, and now amount to €24/m2/month. Although that figure is still well below the peak of €28/m2/month reached in 2008, the rising trend is expected to continue in the medium term.

Investment market

During the first three months of the year, the office market recorded an investment volume of €121 million thanks, above all, to the purchase of Axiare by Colonial. This represents an increase with respect to the previous quarter when the investment volume amounted to €66.5 million. Nevertheless, despite the improvement in the investment figure with respect to the previous quarter thanks to the aforementioned operation, the political uncertainty is undoubtedly having an impact on the investment market.

Xavier Güell, Director of this area in Barcelona for CBRE, said that “during the last quarter of last year, investors suspended operations that they had underway because of that uncertainty; many returned to their purchase processes at the beginning of this year, but they remain cautious. Given that these processes require a certain amount of consolidation time, the operations will not be reflected in investment volumes until the second or third quarters”. Prime yields remain stable at around 4.25%.

Original story: El Periódico (by Max Jiménez Botías)

Translation: Carmel Drake