Colonial Seeks to Grow Utopicus, its Flexible-Office Subsidiary

28 October 2019 – Utopicus, Colonial’s flexible-office space subsidiary, plans to have fifteen such offices, with a total of 40,800 square meters of surface area, by early 2020. The company started operations in 2010, and currently operates ten offices in Barcelona and Madrid, with a current total of 21,230 square meters of offices.

Original Story: Eje Prime

Adaptation/Translation: Richard D. K. Turner

Utopicus to Open 6 New Coworking Centres by 2020

14 March 2019 – Expansión

Utopicus is planning to add six new centres to its portfolio in Madrid and Barcelona over the next year taking the total number of centres to 13, which will together span a surface area of 36,000 m2.

On Monday, the coworking company controlled by Colonial will open its large, long-awaited office on Gran Vía 4, where it will occupy the entire building (spanning 5,000 m2 in total).

The average cost of the firm’s workspaces ranges between €300 and €400 per month. The company expects to welcome 6,000 coworkers in 2020.

New office openings

In addition to Gran Vía, over the coming months, Utopicus plans to open centres in Parc Glories and Gal la Placidia, in Barcelona and on Paseo de la Castellana 163, Jose Abascal 56 and Paseo de la Habana, in Madrid.

According to Rafa De Ramón, CEO of Utopicus, coworking is a phenomenon on the rise. Currently, coworking spaces span 150,400 m2 in Barcelona and Madrid, which accounts for between 0.5% and 1% of the total office market. That figure is expected to grow by between 5% and 10% over the next few years.

Original story: Expansión (by Rebeca Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Utopicus Opens its 4th Co-working Centre in Madrid

24 October 2018 – Expansión

Utopicus, the co-working platform owned by Colonial, has opened its fourth centre in Madrid, in the heart of the Azca financial district. The new office building, which has a surface area of 2,000 m2 spread over three floors, is located at number 62 Calle Orense.

This building is the fourth office that Utopicus has inaugurated in Madrid, after the opening of Duque de Rivas, Colegiata and Doctor Esquerdo, and the fifth in Spain, after the opening of its Plaza Cataluña space in Barcelona, located on Ronda Sant Pere, 16

The company has plans to operate 10 centres in Spain over the coming months with new openings in the pipeline in Madrid on Príncipe de Vergara and in Barcelona on Clementina, Gal·la Placidia, Gran Vía and Ciutat de Granada.

Original story: Expansión (by R. Arroyo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Co-Working Spaces in Madrid & Barcelona Rise by 71% YoY to September

23 October 2018 – Eje Prime

Co-working spaces are on a roll in Spain. This global phenomenon in the office market is also reflected in ratios that keep on growing. In Madrid and Barcelona alone, 55,900 m2 of this type of flexible office space was leased between January and September, which represented an increase of 71% with respect to the same period last year.

According to the Flexible spaces in Spain study, compiled by the consultancy firm Cushman&Wakefield, during the first nine months of the year, 26,800 m2 of co-working office space was leased in Madrid and 29,100 m2 in Barcelona.

This growth is the result of the commitment to co-working spaces by large corporations. According to explanations provided in the report, “at the beginning of the 2000s, small spaces predominated, occupied by self-employed people and freelancers; nowadays, those spaces still exist, but the potential of the co-working phenomenon has led to companies such as Banco Santander (Openbank), Accenture and Everis, amongst others, also using flexible spaces for some of their activities”.

The boom in flexible and shared office space intensified in 2014, the first year of the recovery. Besides large corporate groups, which rely on this office model for optimising their real estate resources and the productivity of their employees, international co-working giants have arrived in Spain in recent years to create supply to meet the growing demand.

WeWork and Spaces (owned by Regus), global specialists in this segment, already have expansion plans for the domestic market. The same is happening with the main Socimis, such as Merlin and Colonial, which, in addition to promoting brands that manage co-working spaces, are also adapting several of their properties to convert them into flexible offices.

Madrid and Barcelona are the focus of this market. WeWork already has 35,000 m2 of office space leased in the two capitals. It is managing one fifth, 7,000 m2, from 22@, the technological hub of Barcelona, one of the epicentres of co-working in Spain. Spaces is planning to grow in the same district, where it already has 6,000 m2 of space across several buildings.

In terms of the large Spanish real estate companies, Merlin and Colonial are, to date, the firms that have backed this new trend most convincingly Both have entered the sector by purchasing or teaming up with specialist companies this market. Colonial acquired the brand Utopicus at the end of 2017, as revealed by Eje Prime, and now has a commitment to open ten new co-working centres from 2019, which will span a total of 15,000 m2 between Madrid and Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Merlin has launched the brand Twisttt, through Loom House, a Spanish shared office manager in which the Socimi owns more than 30%. Other domestic players such as Inmobiliaria del Sur have already made investments in this sector. In October last year, the Andalucian real estate firm launched iSspaces, a co-working centre in Sevilla measuring 1,800 m2 (…).

The identity of the next players to enter the stage is a mystery, but the fact that co-working has a long journey ahead in the office market in Spain and around the world is very much a reality.

Original story: Eje Prime (by J. Izquierdo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Colonial Inaugurates its First Utopicus Co-Working Centre in Barcelona

28 May 2018 – Eje Prime

Colonial is preparing to launch its co-working business in Barcelona. On 31 May, the Socimi is going to inaugurate its first Utopicus shared work centre, which will open its doors at number 16 Ronda de Sant Pere, in Plaza Cataluña, as revealed by Eje Prime.

This space will have a surface area of 1,400 m2 spread over six floors. Colonial, which has carried out the renovation of the building, owned by Maximus Ventures, will offer a variety of services including a cafeteria, fixed offices, coworking spaces, a terrace and an urban vegetable patch. Moreover, the group is getting ready to open more new Utopicus centres.

The firm’s second space in Barcelona is going to be located at number 9 Calle Bretón de los Herreros, in the heart of the Gracia neighbourhood. The space, which will open its doors in June, will measure approximately 1,700 m2 spread over four floors.

The third coworking centre that Colonial is going to open will be larger, since it will be located in a building that, in part, is owned by the Socimi, which purchased it from BBVA for €14 million. That co-working space will span 4,200 m2 and will be located in the former headquarters of Albertis.

Colonial acquired a majority stake in the Madrid-based Utopicus with a view to developing a new line of business. Utopicus already operates three centres in Madrid, located on Calles Duque de Rivas, Colegiata and Doctor Esquerdo. With this investment, the Socimi will help the company, which has a total supply of 3,500 m2, to boost its business with the opening of new spaces in Madrid and across the rest of Spain.

Original story: Eje prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Twisttt: Merlin Launches New Co-Working Brand Together with Loom House

20 April 2018 – Eje Prime

Merlin doesn’t want to get left behind in the race between the real estate companies in the co-working sector and so has taken the lead. The Socimi led by Ismael Clemente is going to launch a new co-working brand, under the name Twistt, together with Loom House, the company specialising in shared work centres, in which the Socimi acquired a stake of more than 30% last May. As sources at Merlin have explained to EjePrime, the first space under this new co-working brand is going to be opened in a building that the Socimi owns in Calle Princesa, Madrid.

The Socimi is going to open its first Twisttt space at number 5 Calle Princesa, in a building that it already owns. “Under this new brand, Merlin is going to contribute the assets and Loom House is going to be responsible for managing the co-working space”, explain the sources. There will be 1,100 m2 of shared office space, which can house up to 150 users. Twisttt’s first space is expected to be fully operational by June.

Although the sources at Merlin are not yet able to define the route map that the two groups will adopt with Twisttt, the plans involve opening at least one more co-working centre before the end of the year. “Unlike Loom House, which is an ecosystem focused on innovation, Twisttt is a much more practical ecosystem”, explain sources at the group. Twisttt will belong to the same company as Loom House, Innovación Colaborativa, and so will not be a new company.

This new project comes almost a year after Merlin purchased a 31% stake in Loom House. Paula Almansa and Jose Almansa are the founders of Loom House, a concept that seeks to differentiate itself from a “simple co-working because we wanted to go one step further”, explained its co-founder. “It is a space destined to innovation, to sharing ideas, that allows you to reflect” – explains Almansa-; if all you want us a workspace with wifi and a coffee shop, there are other options ahead of Loom House”.

Loom House is the spin-off of Impact Hub, the first co-working that was created in Spain by ten entrepreneurs (including the Almansa siblings). “After seeing that the co-working concept was starting to be accepted in Spain, we got down to work with Loom House, opening our first space in the ‘Real Fábrica de Tapices’ in 2016”, say sources at the group (…).

Now, the company is preparing to go one step further with the launch of its second Loom House space. This new centre, which will span 1,500 m2 and which will be able to house more than 190 users, is going to be located at number 9 Calle Huertas, in the Las Letras neighbourhood, in the former Chamber of Commerce building. Work to remodel the asset has already begun and is expected to be completed by in June.

The co-working war 

The entry of Merlin into the co-working sector is not an isolated or anecdotal event. Ismael Clemente’s Socimi is following in the footsteps of Colonial, which acquired a majority stake in the Madrilenian based firm Utopicus (specialising in coworking) last October, to develop a new branch of its business, as Eje Prime revealed.

Currently, Utopicus has three centres in Madrid, located on Calles Duque de Rivas, Colegiata and Doctor Esquerdo (…).

Now, with the objective of generating a profit from its investment, Colonial is going to open three more Utopicus centres, on this occasion in Barcelona (…).

Original story: Eje Prime (by Custodio Pareja)

Translation: Carmel Drake