AEB Sells Its HQ For €10M & Moves To Torrespacio

21 September 2016 – Expansión

The change in AEB’s headquarters represents the final milestone in the transformation and modernisation process that the banking association began a year ago.

The banking association AEB will move out of its traditional headquarters (two and a half floors in a property on the Madrilenian Calle Velázquez) to move, under a lease contract, to one of the floors in Torre Espacio. The skyscraper was constructed by the group OHL and was sold to the Philippine group Emperador at the end of last year. AEB will move at the end of this year or in January 2017.

The economic operation involves the sale of the property in which the headquarters of the banking association has been located since it was founded, for an amount that market sources estimate to be in the vicinity of €10 million. AEB occupies a surface area of 2,400 sqm in that building, therefore, the sales price will amount to around €4,200/sqm. The buyer is a mutual insurance company, whose name has not been revealed, and it will have to modernise the property before leasing it out given that, although it is in good condition, it does not meet the requirements of the new tenants.

In the new location, AEB will occupy most of the 30th floor of Torrespacio, one of the towers that comprises the most modern office complex in the north of Madrid. There, AEB will occupy a surface area of 1,000 sqm, which is significantly smaller that its current headquarters, because, amongst other reasons, the office there is going to be open-plan for all employees, with the exception of the Secretary General and the Chairman, José María Roldón. This move follows a wider trend (towards open-plan offices) in the sector, implemented by BBVA at its new headquarters and a format that Santander is also planning to adopt – it wants to extend the pilot scheme that it has been trialling in its compliance department until now across the whole of its Boadilla del Monte complex. The rest of the floor in Torrespacio, approximately one third of it, will be leased for other activities, completely unrelated to the sector. (…).

Original story: Expansión (by Salvador Arancibia)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Edificio España Hotel: Baraka Negotiates With Starwood, Hyatt & Meliá

20 September 2016 – Expansión

Edificio España will not contain any homes, but it will house a luxury hotel and shopping centre. The Murcian group Baraka, owned by the businessman Trinitario Casanova, is pushing ahead with its new project in Madrid.

In July, Baraka reached an agreement with the Chinese group Wanda to buy Edificio España. The company, controlled by the magnate Wang Jianlin, will sell the Madrilenian skyscraper for a similar price to which it bought it – around €270 million, compared with the €265 million that it paid – two years after acquiring it from Banco Santander, after it ran into problems with the Town Hall of Madrid regarding the renovation of the building.

The new owner, which plans to complete the purchase of the property on 15 October, has decided to eliminate the 300 homes that were included in the original plans and construct a 22-storey hotel, as well as a shopping area, which will occupy the first three floors of the 117m tall building, which has a surface area of 76,000 sqm, according to El Mundo.

In fact, Baraka is already negotiating with several international hotel chains, including Hyatt, Starwood and Meliá, for the rental contract of the future hotel space. The new operator will replace Wanda Hotels & Resorts, the chain that Jianlin was going to open in the middle of 2019, his first property in Spain in the iconic Madrilenian building.

The Town Hall

Whilst Baraka negotiates with the hotel operators to lease more than 67,000 sqm of space, it has also made contact with the Town Hall of Madrid, filing an urban planning consultation regarding the construction work that it may undertake at the property.

The new owner must maintain the façade of the building in tact, something that went against Wanda’s plans, which sought to dismantle the façade of Edificio España “brick by brick” and subsequently reconstruct it using more modern materials.

The inability to develop his plans led Wanda to instruct the property consultancy JLL to sell the building. In the end, the Chinese group opted for the bid submitted by Baraka, and the operation will be completed next month.

Other funds were interested in acquiring this property, which used to belong to Metrovacesa before Santander, including the US fund Hines, the housing manager Domo, the real estate fund of Axa and the Philippine group Emperador, the owner of another skyscraper in Madrid, Torrespacio, located in the Cuatro Torres complex.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Emperador Wants To Completely Fill Torrespacio

19 September 2016 – Expansión

Take advantage of the improvement that the Spanish real estate sector is enjoying to increase the value of its Spanish jewel. That is the objective that the Philippine group Emperador has set itself. The company, which specialises in the sale of alcoholic drinks, erupted onto the real estate market in November with its purchase of the Torre Espacio skyscraper, measuring 235m tall and with a surface area of 60,000 sqm, located in the Cuatro Torres complex in Madrid.

Emperador fought off other candidates that have more experience in the Spanish property market, by offering Grupo Villar Mir €558 million. Ten months later, the Philippine group has launched an ambitious marketing campaign, which includes a new name (Torrespacio versus the original Torre Espacio), with the aim of achieving a 100% occupancy rate in the tower (it is currently around 85% full).

“We want to boost the campaign launched in 2015 when we saw an upturn in office rental prices in Madrid”, explains Eduardo Corral, the CEO of Torre Espacio Gestión, the company (belonging to Grupo Villar Mir) that has been responsible for managing the skyscraper since it was constructed. Its role has not changed as a result of the change in ownership. “The Emperador Group has not asked us to do anything new and although it was not included in the sale and purchase contract, our long-term management contract remains in place”, said Corral.

Prices

The managers of Torrespacio are looking for new tenants to occupy the available space, measuring 8,800 sqm, at a time when office rental prices in Madrid are experiencing a slight increase; they amount to €27.50/sqm/month in the prime office area (CBD) of the city. “We are reviewing our rents, but we are in line with market prices”, says the CEO of Torre Espacio Gestión.

The prices are well below €45/sqm/month that the first tenants paid for the same skyscraper, which is 57-storeys high. “In 2009, we started to fill the building, and we achieved a 70% occupancy rate, but in 2008, we already had preliminary rental agreements, and, despite the crisis, we have achieved an 85% occupancy rate”.

Since it was opened, the main tenant of Torrespacio has been Grupo Villar Mir, something that has not been affected by the change of owner. “Villar Mir continues its commitment to lease the property and, so do the other tenants. The next lease contract is not due to expire for three years”.

Tenants

The future tenants will not only be neighbours of Villar Mir, but also of the British, Dutch, Canadian and Australian embassies, the tobacco company BAT, Red Bull, Ubi and the Emperador group itself, which has opened its Madrilenian offices on the 28th floor of the skyscraper. “They are just finishing their move”, confirms Corral. Before the arrival of Emperador, the most recent tenant to move into the tower was the Chinese group Qbao, who moved in at the beginning of the year.

Of the available space, there is just one floor left in the top third of the building (the 44th floor), four floors in the middle section (floors 31, 29, 27 and 23) and two half floors. “We have one of the best buildings in Madrid and Europe, and the companies that move in will enjoy services such as a gym, a hairdresser, facility services, three restaurants and a chapel”.

Original story: Expansión (by Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake