Benson Elliot sells landmark Cornerstone office development in Barcelona for €80 million

Benson Elliot, the UK-based private equity real estate fund manager, has agreed the sale of its landmark Cornerstone office development in Poblenou, Barcelona to a fund managed and a European mandate advised by UBS Global Asset Management’s Global Real Estate (GRE) business, for €80 million.

Benson Elliot agreed to forward purchase the 20,700 sqm office development from Banco Sabadell subsidiary Solvia in March 2011, in a joint venture with Bream Real Estate. At the time, few were willing to make such a considerable – let alone speculative – commitment to Spain’s real estate sector.

One of Barcelona’s most design-efficient buildings, Cornerstone was opened in November 2013 and awarded the city’s first ever LEED Gold Certificate for an office development. Cornerstone’s design distinction has been a key driver of the building’s successful leasing efforts, with Cornerstone now 77% let little more than a year post-delivery. Tenants include ADP, a global leader in outsourced services and human resources management, and German manufacturer Henkel.

Trish Barrigan, Benson Elliot Senior Partner, said:
“When we committed to purchase Cornerstone in 2011, Benson Elliot was one of a small handful of international real estate companies who would even consider Spain as an investment target. We believed in the sustainability of Barcelona as a magnet for international business, and saw a dearth of competitive supply in the pipeline. Cornerstone is now one of Barcelona’s leading office developments, and the strong institutional interest we saw emerge during the sale process has validated our decision to move early into the Spanish market.”

Poblenou is Barcelona’s largest and most dynamic office sub-market, home to quality occupiers such as Ogilvy & Mather, Hyatt and Cuatrecasas. In September 2014, Benson Elliot demonstrated the firm’s ongoing commitment to Poblenou – and conviction in Spain’s economic recovery – with the acquisition of a 23,400 sqm land plot in the Las Glorias area (c. 1 km from Cornerstone). This site is earmarked for another trophy office development.

Manuel Hidalgo, GRE’s Head of Transactions Spain, said:
“Cornerstone is a grade A urban office park of outstanding quality. It really ticks all the most important boxes for modern occupiers such as efficiency, sustainability, quality, excellent access to public transport and with plenty of restaurants and shops embedded in the very lively district of Poblenou. This investment demonstrates our commitment to Barcelona, which ranks among the top business locations within Europe. It also strengthens our position in this market, where GRE’s funds have been present for many years and which already own six office buildings.”

Benson Elliot was advised by Cushman & Wakefield and Ashurst, while the buy-side legal advice was provided by Dentons.

ENDS

For further information:

Benson Elliot
Trish Barrigan, Senior Partner
Matilda Lane
+44 (0) 20 7808 8900
Matilda.lane@bensonelliot.com

FTI Consulting
Dido Laurimore / Claire Turvey
+44 (0) 20 3727 1000
Dido.laurimore@fticonsulting.com
Claire.turvey@fticonsulting.com

 

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