Blackstone Prepares a Series of Portfolio Sales Following its 6-Year Spending Spree

27 March 2019 – El Confidencial

The US fund Blackstone, which has been so busy on the buy side in recent years, is getting ready to put the for sale sign up, over some of its assets at least. It is preparing the sale of several portfolios, including the Socimi Corona, the homes of Fidere and also some of the former assets of Popular that it acquired from Santander.

Several sources have confirmed that the US fund is currently designing portfolios for sale in order to rotate some of the €20 billion in property that it now owns in Spain. Most of the portfolios are expected to be small, between €50 million and €300 million, although the fund is reportedly also working on some larger deals that could reach €600 million. The plan is to put the portfolios on the market before the summer.

Blackstone’s target market includes pension funds and insurance companies, which operate with lower costs of capital and which, therefore, can afford to pay more. It already trialled that strategy with the sale of Hispania’s offices to Zurich, to great success. But Blackstone will also target other funds looking to grow or complement their existing investments.

Despite this vendor activity, the US giant is still committed to buying assets in Spain. It simply wants to rotate its most mature assets, given that it started making investments in the country in 2013.

Original story: El Confidencial (by R. Ugalde and J. Zuloaga)

Translation: Carmel Drake

OneCoWork Invests €5.5M to Open 3,700m2 Coworking in Barcelona

18 March 2019 – Eje Prime

OneCoWork is going to invest €5.5 million to open its third shared office space in Barcelona in 2020. The company, founded in 2016 and led by Benjamin Nachoom, will open its new centre on the corner of Via Laietana and Avenida de la Catedral, in a building owned by the insurance company Zurich.

The office will span 3,750 m2 and will be opened on a gradual basis, with 1,800 m2 due to be inaugurated in April 2019, 600 m2 during H2 2019 and the remainder in 2020.

The group plans to have 40 coworking offices across Europe by 2022, including one in Madrid and another in Valencia, Bilbao or Málaga.

Original story: Eje Prime (by Marta Casado Pla)

Translation/Summary: Carmel Drake

Blackstone Sells an Office Portfolio to Zurich for €163.5M

31 January 2019 – Eje Prime

Blackstone is starting to divest the office portfolio that it acquired as a result of its purchase of Hispania. The US fund has sold the so-called Ilunion portfolio to the insurance company Zurich, according to explanations provided by the latter in a statement. The operation has amounted to €163.5 million.

The insurance company has completed the operation through its real estate subsidiary Rex Spain Zdhl. The portfolio includes five office buildings in Madrid leased to ONCE.

Before Blackstone’s takeover, Hispania was planning to divest its entire office portfolio for more than €500 million. The Socimi had made an agreement for the sale with Tristan Capital Partners, but the entry of the US fund into its share capital suspended that sale.

Original story: Eje Prime 

Translation: Carmel Drake

Arcano Sells 2 Buildings in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat to a Family Office for €40M

17 January 2019 – Eje Prime

Arcano is divesting two of its assets. The real estate fund Asoref has sold two buildings in Plaza de Europa, in the Barcelona municipality of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat to a family office for €40 million, according to Expansión.

In the case of the first asset, located at numbers 22 and 24 Plaza de Europa, it is an office building spanning 7,3000 m2, which was acquired by Arcano two years ago and which has been completely renovated and repositioned. The offices, distributed over four above-ground floors, have an occupancy rate of 100%. The tenants of the property include companies such as Aide, Zurich and Vanity Fair.

In the case of the second building, located at number 10 Plaza de Europa, it is a project that is still under construction. The building work is expected to be finished this year at which point the building will have a gross leasable area (GLA) of 5,000 m2.

The two buildings were acquired with Arcano’s first real estate investment fund, which was launched in the summer of 2015 and which had €100 million of capital. Currently, the company is in the process of raising capital for its second fund, Arcano Value Added II. The investment vehicle will amount to between €150 million and €200 million, and €70 million has already been committed.

Original story: Eje Prime

Translation: Carmel Drake

Blackstone Negotiates Sale of the Ilunion Portfolio with Zurich for c. €100M

13 November 2018 – Cinco Días

The real estate giant Blackstone is pushing ahead with several divestments from its recently acquired Socimi Hispania. The US fund is negotiating with the insurance company Zurich regarding the sale of a portfolio of office buildings, which are occupied by Ilunion as a tenant, according to confirmation from sources in the real estate sector. The price of the operation will exceed €100 million.

Blackstone acquired Hispania through a takeover launched in the spring, which valued the Socimi at almost €2 billion. The US fund completed the operation because it was primarily interested in the company’s hotel assets, given that it owned 13,100 rooms across 46 hotels, the largest owner in the country in that segment. The US giant wants to create a hotel platform in Spain and, in fact, has already ceded the management of those establishments to its company HI Partners, the manager of other hotels purchased from Sabadell.

In total, Hispania’s portfolio has a gross asset value (GAV) of €2.811 billion. The most residual part, Hispania’s housing, is already being managed by another company owned by the fund, Fidere. And for the office component, the strategy is to divest the assets.

When Blackstone acquired Hispania, it broke off an agreement that the Socimi had with the British fund Tristan Capital Partners to divest the entire office portfolio for more than €500 million. That was the second time that the sale had been thwarted, previously Swiss Life was the buyer, in that case at the end of the summer in 2017, when the uncertainty surrounding the Catalan sovereignty process meant that the conditions of the insurance company were more demanding.

By contrast, the strategy now is to put this portfolio up for sale in a piecemeal fashion. The most advanced process relates to four properties in Madrid, which are all occupied by Ilunion, the holding company of the ONCE, as the tenant.

The largest property is the Torre 30 Building, appraised at €50 million at the end of 2017. Located next to the M-30 by the junction with the A-2, it was constructed in 1968, renovated in 2006 and has a surface area of 11,417 m2.

The sale also includes the Mizar Building, a property next to Torre 30, where in addition to Ilunion, Eysa and Paramount also have their headquarters, according to Hispania’s public documents, and which is worth €27.4 million. They are joined by the Pechuán building in Plaza Sagrado Corazón de Jesús next to Príncipe de Vergara, worth €19 million. Finally, the portfolio contains a property on Calle Comandante Azcárraga in the Pio XII area, worth €10.1 million.

Those four buildings had a combined appraisal value of €106.5 million as at 31 December 2017. Their current value is unknown but it is expected to be higher given that in May, Hispania revalued its assets upwards by 5.7% on average.

The rest of the office portfolio is not officially up for sale, but given that they are not strategic assets for Blackstone, the expectation is that it will receive offers for them, as a group or in different sub-portfolios.

Original story: Cinco Días (by Alfonso Simón Ruiz)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Zurich Buys an Office Building in Plaza Cataluña from Sum Capital Spain

25 October 2018 – Eje Prime

The Zurich Group has assured itself of a space in the heart of Barcelona. The Swiss group has purchased an office building in Plaza Cataluña from Sum Capital Spain, the property developer behind OneCowork, a chain of co-working offices that will remain as the tenant of the property, according to explanations provided to Eje Prime by sources close to the operation, whose consideration has not been revealed.

The asset, located at number 9 Calle Estruc, between Plaza Cataluña and Portal de l’Àngel, has a surface area of 1,648 m2. The property is distributed over five storeys with a terrace (and an average surface area of 250 m2 per floor). It will be completely occupied by the coworking chain created by Uri Nachoom, the sole administrator of Sum Capital Spain.

Nachoom is a familiar face in the Catalan capital’s real estate sector as the former co-owner of the Salamanca Group holding company, the firm that relaunched the Marina Port Vell marina and which guided the growth of OneCowork, a company that is going to invest €150 million in the opening of forty centres all over Europe by 2023.

Now, the Israeli businessman has decided to sell this property under the sale&leaseback method, taking advantage of the interest in the Spanish office market from large funds and insurance firms. The operation has been signed through REX Spain, one of the Zurich Group’s subsidiary companies, and has been advised by the real estate consultancy JLL (…).

It’s not all about the 22@ district in Barcelona 

The office market in Barcelona is not all about the 22@ district. Although the city’s technological hub accounts for most of the current investments, Zurich’s purchase of the OneCowork building highlights the interest that the city centre is continuing to generate. Other large players such as Hines, Emesa and Pontegadea have benefitted in recent months from the interest of some companies and startups to work in the heart of Barcelona.

At the beginning of October, WeWork leased two spaces in the centre of the Catalan capital (…).

Also, since May, the real estate company owned by Amancio Ortega, Pontegadea, has been the landlord of Lidl in its building in Plaza Cataluña, where the Zara flagship store is also located. In total, the German supermarket chain leases 3,155 m2, distributed over four storeys.

Original story: Eje Prime (by J. Izquierdo & B. Seijo)

Translation: Carmel Drake

Zurich Acquires An Office Building In Madrid From Metroinvest

21 January 2016 – Inmodiario

The Zurich Group has purchased an office building from Metroinvest on Calle Albarracín, 33 in Madrid, in the Julián Camarillo business district. The property, which was built in 2005, has a total surface area of 23,100 m2 and is occupied by the Town Hall of Madrid, from where it operates its municipal IT, police and mobility departments.

Cushman & Wakefield, the global real estate service leader, has advised the Spanish group on the sale of the property. The building has three floors (above ground), which are fully flexible and dividable, plus a ground floor and extensive underground parking with 279 spaces.

The Julián Camarillo business district, which was originally an industrial area, is well connected by metro and bus, and is close to several very busy thoroughfares and so has become one of the most sought after business districts in Madrid. For this reason, companies such as BBVA, Indra and Sant Lucía have all decided to relocate there.

Following this sale, Cushman & Wakefield, which have led the investment market in the last year, have now advised transactions amounting to more than €3,300 million in the last 2 years. (…).

Original story: Inmodiario

Translation: Carmel Drake

Catalonia Sells 13 Buildings to Zurich For €201 Mn

14/07/2014 – Expansion

The local government of Catalonia, also called Generalitat, has become the main tenat of insurance companies. A year ago, the authority transferred another lot of 13 properties to Axa for €172 million. Yesterday, it sold 13 office buildings to Zurich for €201 million. Originally, Generalitat had expected to receive at least €216 million for the units, but the amount proposed by Zurich is still bigger than the €172 million-only-offer submitted at the second auction (the first was unattended).

Rent

Zurich, advised by JLL and the Roca Junyent lawyers office, shall lease the offices to the Catalonian government for between 5 to 20 years, depending on each property. The lot includes such headquarters as the one of the Home Office, local divisions of Justice, Culture, Social and Family Welfare and other administrative branches.

The authority will pay annually a €12.9 million rent for all the units of the total area of 94.037 square meters. The amount obtained will allow redemption of the €13.7 million in mortgages on them.

In the nearest future, Generalitat plans more real estate sales, for example it will auction the building of Barcelona Bourse.

 

Original article: Expansión (by M. Menchén)

Translation: AURA REE

Zurich Offers €172 Mn For 13 Buildings of the Catalonian Authority

4/07/2014 – Expansion

The local government of Catalonia (Generalitat) received the one and only offer for the 13 subsidized building lot put up for sale by the authority. Unfortunately, the amount proposed by insurance group Zurich – €172 million – is by 20% modester than expected.

The first bidding, asking €215 million for the office package, was unattended. At the second try, only Zurich arrived with its offer.

Total size of the properties areas adds up to 94.000 square meters. Leasing to Generalitat for the stated 5 – 20 years, Zurich may gain a 7.5% return.

Moreover, the investor may terminate the agreement within a year by sending a notice 18 months ahead. The new clause turns out to be very attractive for buildings in the center of Barcelona and offering possibility of being converted into hotels. This sort of asset is currenly extremely wanted by investors eyeing the city.

In 2013, real estate investment in Barcelona crossed €1.2 billion, by three times more than a year earlier. The sector predicts that in 2014 the volume may largely exceed the amount, given the transactions like this one and the purchase of the Torre Telefónica tower for €107 million by Axa last week.

 

Original article: Expansión (by M. A.)

Translation: AURA REE