Just days after it was revealed that Europolis had been sold to CA Immo, the daily Slovak paper SME is reporting the developer has submitted documents needed to clear the way for its megaproject, Harbour City, in Bratislava. With the tallest of the 8 buildings planned on the site at 150 meters, you’d never guess there was a recession on. Especially given the Europolis’ goal of beginning construction of the €50m scheme by next March. In all, the scheme will offer 105,000 sqm office space. An additional 9,000 sqm of retail space will also be built, as will (yet) another hotel.
Tesco continues to take advantage of the confidence investors have in its cash flow. Along with selling off warehouses it occupies to institutionals, it’s now set to raise €1.1bn (GBP 950m) by creating a mortgage bond backed up by the income of 41 of its stores in the UK. Experts point out this isn’t your standard CMBS structure, because the assets behind the 30-year bond are all owned by a single company. The FT notes this is the fourth time the retailer has tapped the capital markets in this way in the past 18 months.
Readers of this blog surely remember when, just before the crisis hit, the property talk in Warsaw was all about how many, and how tall, new office, hotel, and residential towers were going to be. Two years later, not one of them got off the drawing board, really, and the focus has shifted to timing new construction right in order to catch new demand as the market returns. A pair of developers now seem to be betting the high rise days are back.
Yesterday, Echo Investment entered into a preliminary agreement to purchase a centrally located Warsaw plot at the junction of Jana Pawła II and Grzybowska streets, where the Mercure hotel currently stands. The transaction volume was €31m. Echo is going to build a 155-meter tall office tower with 45,000 sqm GLA office space on the plot, currently owned by Accor.
The other high-rise story involves the return of state-owned property management company Dipservice of its pre-crisis plans (on which we reported here). The company wants to go ahead with plans to tear down its current seat in obsolete building on Świętokrzyska Street, directly opposite the Rondo 1 office tower, in order to build a 30,000 sqm office complex consisting of two buildings of 16 and 37 storeys, plus a hotel and conference center. ”
“We cannot offer high standards here, and therefore we’re losing out on the rents we could possibly charge in a modern building in such a location,” Dispervice told CIJ when we first spoke to them about their plans in 2007.
CA Immo has just bumped up its CEE property holdings by agreeing to buy the Europolis portfolio for €272m. From 19%, the group’s CEE holdings have now jumped to 40%, on par with its holdings of German assets. Half of the agreed price is to be paid in January, when the deal is expected to close officially. The rest will be due five years from then. Europolis reported assets of €1.5bn at the end of 2009, with property writedowns of €177m.
Oesterreichische Volksbanken decided to sell its problem-ridden real estate unit after failing to find a strategic partner for the entire group.
Construction got underway yesterday at CTP Invest’s Spielberk project in Brno, meaning the delayed third phase, an office and hotel tower should be completed in the first quarter of 2012. Traditional tenants like Lufthansa were on hand, along with a newcomer to the Brno scheme, AVG. At the event, which market the project’s 5th anniversary, the guest list included Dutch ambassador Jan C. Henneman, pictured (left) with CTP director Remon Vos. The two were about to be lifted by crane to a height of 85 meters.
CTP is going ahead with construction on the last phase of the project despite substantial office vacancy in the Czech Republic’s second city. The calculation is apparently that the project, and the location, are strong enough to continue produce take-up.
Got an empty store in your building? Landlords in New York city are getting a bit of cash flow, and a lot of free marketing, by offering their vacant space short-term. Fascinating article in the New York Times about the Pop Up store phenomenon.
The concept of a “now you see it, now you don’t” store is commonly tied to a holiday theme: the New York beauty store Ricky’s opens more than a dozen Halloween costume shops in September and October. And last winter Toys “R” Us opened 33 Holiday Express locations in the tristate area.
But in the last few years pop-ups have flourished in New York regardless of the holiday calendar. For building owners they are a way to fill vacant space and for sellers they offer a place to gauge the reception to their brand or introduce new products, without a long-term rental commitment.
The Orco reaction to yesterday’s legal setback is out. An excerpt:
“While we were hoping for a final decision confirming the building permit today, we are reassured because the NSA has confirmed the legality of so many essential elements of Zlota 44’s building permit. The case records will now be delivered to the Governor of the Mazowieckie Voivodeship, who will re-examine the decision of the President of the City of Warsaw about the building permit.” – commented Krzysztof Godleś, Orco Development Manager for Poland.