1 Million m2 Of Logistics Space Was Leased In 2015

3 February 2016 – Mis Naves

This increase was driven primarily by Barcelona, according to the consultancy firms CBRE and Aguirre Newman based on their respective Market Reports.

Around 1 million m2 of logistics space was leased in Spain in 2015, showing further evidence of the improvement in the sector thanks to the recovery in consumption, according to data published by CBRE.

The report from the consultancy firm confirms that 378,000m2 of space was contracted in Madrid, in line with the figures seen in 2014, but that expectations for future growth are high, thanks to several projects that are underway and due to be completed this year, including those in Cabanillas del Campo and Getafe.

In Barcelona, according to the Logistics Market Monitor report published by Aguirre Newman, 549,894m2 of space was leased in 2015, which represents an increase of 76% compared with the previous year and a historical maximum. During the fourth quarter of the year, 51,959 m2 of space was leased in eight operations in Barcelona, and the largest six deals accounted for 75% of the total surface area leased.

Moreover, 40,000m2 of space was leased in the cities of Zaragoza and Valencia, respectively, according to CBRE’s report. Those two markets, together with Madrid, Barcelona and Andalucía accounted for the vast majority of logistics transactions in Spain last year.

According to Alberto Larrazábal, Director of Logistics and Industry at CBRE Spain, “the increase in ecommerce will be a key factor boosting the sector in 2016. The lack of large platforms, those measuring more than 25,000 m2, will drive new projects, whereby consolidating the growth of the sector in 2016”.

Original story: Mis Naves

Translation: Carmel Drake

Loss Of €195M Expected On Imperial Plaza Sale

26 January 2016 – El Confidencial

The Imperial Plaza shopping centre on the outskirts of Zaragoza has been put up for sale, in what may be Spain’s most disastrous real estate operation to date. The asking price has been set at €35 million, significantly lower than the €230 million that it cost to construct the property, which will mean a loss of €195 million. The failure of Imperial Plaza proves that, despite the economic recovery, the property hangover is still affecting the majority of the Spanish market. It is also proof that senseless urban planning can ruin any investment project.

The developer of this shopping centre is the company Procom Desarrollo Comercial de Zaragoza, which is now controlled by the Dutch bank SNS. According to the “Heraldo de Aragón”, Deloitte has been appointed to handle the sale of the asset. The exit plan involves converting the property into a giant “outlet” centre, but that will require additional investment (€23 million), which would mean even lower proceeds from the final sale.

To put the scale of this tragedy into context, it is worth remembering that Procom and Eroski bought the land from the Town Hall of Zaragoza in 2004 for €67 million. Now, 14 years later, the completed centre is being put on the market for half of that figure. In other words, a total disaster.

Imperial Plaza is a failure that comes at the end of a long string of other failures. First, there was the failure of Arco Sur, a new residential neighbourhood in Zaragoza, half of which was going to be VPO (social) housing. 21,000 homes were going to be constructed in total, but only 2,000 were actually built, according to real estate sources. And without Arco Sur, there was no need for a super shopping centre for its residents, such as the one proposed for Imperial Plaza.

The project was also wrecked by urban planning – Imperial Plaza was awarded more than 132,000 m2 of leasable surface area in 2005, when the Town Hall of Zaragoza freed up retail land, a year after it had sold the plots for Imperial Plaza. But that liberalisation of land also benefitted other projects and so Puerto Venecia was constructed. The authorisation of Europe’s largest shopping centre in Spain’s fifth largest city (by population) did not seem to ring any alarm bells with anyone, and especially not with the socialist mayor Juan Alberto Belloch, who governed the city for 12 years. But someone was going to have to pay the price: specifically, the owners of Imperial Plaza. Plaza was big, yes, but Puerto Venecia was built to measure 206,000 m2. (…).

Store closures

As soon as Puerto Venecia opened, the companies that had opened stores in Imperial Plaza with such great enthusiasm started to close their doors. Zara was one of the first to leave, but it was not the only one. The departure of Primark to Puerto Venecia was devastating. Sport Zone, Amichi, Women’s Secret, Massimo Dutti, Merkamueble, Nautalia, Sunglass Hut, Kaymo and Movistar all left too. The last firm to flee was FNAC, which, of course, left Imperial Plaza to move to Puerto Venecia. A shopping centre has never fizzled out so quickly. (…).

Collateral damage

The crisis at Imperial Plaza will have collateral damage beyond its sale at a loss. The Town Hall of Zaragoza is currently stalling Pikolin, one of the largest industrial companies in the autonomous region, regarding its project to create a large “outlet” centre in its former mattress factory, according to real estate sources. If Imperial Plaza wants to reinvent itself as a major discount centre, it will face serious problems, especially if it is up against an identical project in a city that has just 664,000 inhabitants.

Original story: El Confidencial (by Marcos Lamelas)

Translation: Carmel Drake

CPPIB Buys 50% Of Puerto Venecia From Intu For €225.4M

3 June 2015 – Expansión

The Canadian fund has paid €225.4 million to the British real estate company Intu Properties for half of Puerto Venecia, the largest shopping centre in Spain.

Intu Properties and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) have strengthened their partnership in Spain, through the creation of a joint venture to manage Puerto Venecia, the largest shopping centre in the country, located in Zaragoza, which has a constructed surface area of 200,000 m2.

According to a statement issued yesterday, CPPIB is going to pay €225.4 million to Intu for 50% of Puerto Venecia, although – “the operation is subject to certain conditions, including regulatory approval”.

The valuation of the shop and restaurant complex, located in Zaragoza, is the same as the one used by Intu in January when it purchased 100% of the property from the fund Orion Capital for €451 million. Then, the British real estate company announced that it was going to look for a partner, and several analysts identified CPPIB as a possible ally. PwC has advised the Canadian pension fund in its purchase.

Intu and CPPIB already share the ownership (50% each) of the Asturian shopping centre Parque Principado, which they acquired in 2013 for €162 million from CBRE and Sonae Sierra. Therefore, the Puerto Venecia operation “extends this alliance to include two of the ten largest shopping centres in Spain” said Intu Properties.

The British bank HSBC has financed the acquisitions of Puerto Venecia and Parque Principado with two mortgage loans amounting to €320 million in total.

Andrea Orlandi, CPPIB’s Director of RE Investments in Europe, sais that “the joint venture with Intu represents an opportunity to increase the fund’s presence in Spain’s commercial real estate market. Puerto Venecia complements our European portfolio”.

According to David Fischel, CEO at Intu, the revenues from this transaction will allow his company to develop other projects in Spain. The real estate firm has acquired a plot of land in Malaga for the construction of a shopping centre measuring 175,000 m2 and it is also evaluating options to develop other projects in Vigo, Valencia and Palma de Mallorca.

Intu intends to involve partners in these new projects as well, and may even create a holding company for its Spanish properties in the future, and list it on the stock exchange.

Intu’s share price fell by 2% during trading in London yesterday. Its market capitalisation amounts to GBP 4,380 million (€6,050 million).

Original story: Expansión (by Roberto Casado and Rocío Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Merlin Buys Imaginarium’s Logistics Centre For €10.7m

30 September 2014 – Europa Press

Merlin Properties has acquired the complex of warehouses that house the logistics centre of the toy company Imaginarium in Zaragoza, for €10.7 million, according to reports by the Socimi.

The complex comprises three buildings: two for logistics and storage plus one for use as offices. The toy company rents the buildings, which are located in the ‘Plaza’ logistics area of Zaragoza, one of the largest of its kind in Spain.

Similarly, the Socimi has purchased another warehouse located in Almussafes (Valencia) in the same area as Ford’s factory in Spain for €12.2 million.

This warehouse, which it acquired from a fund managed by CBRE Global Investors, occupies a surface area of 26,613 square metres and is leased in its entirety to Ford, Johnson Controls and Truck & Wheel.

Merlin Properties said in a statement that these two investments “consolidate” its entry into the industrial asset sector.

Moreover, following these purchases, the listed real estate company now has property investments amounting to €1,069 million, i.e. it has spent almost all of the €1,292 million it raised through its IPO.

Original story: Europa Press

Translation: Carmel Drake