International news


ParkLake joint venture shopping centre completes debt-finance agreement

Sonae Sierra
Sonae Sierra
ParkLake, a 50:50 Sonae Sierra and Caelum Development joint venture project, has announced the signing of a debt-finance agreement for the shopping centre. The joint venture concluded an agreement for the amount of €83 mln on a seven year term, with a lenders’ syndicate consisting of OTP Bank PLC, OTP Bank Romania S.A. and Hypo NOE Gruppe Bank AG. OTP Bank PLC will act as an agent and OTP Bank Romania S.A. as a security agent. Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen counselled the joint venture through the process, working with CMS Cameron McKenna SCA for the lenders’ legal team.

The debt-finance agreement marks the completion of the financing package needed for the successful development of the project, establishing a landmark transaction for the Romanian market.

Fernando Guedes de Oliveira, CEO Sonae Sierra, stated: “The signing of this financing contract represents an important milestone for the ParkLake project as whole. It is also a clear sign that the banking market is slowly opening again for development finance, and this is crucial for a Company like Sonae Sierra. Our strategy is focused on shopping-centre and mixed-use development, and project-finance is a key component of our financing model. We are confident that we will be able to count on the banking sector to support us in our increased ambition to deliver top quality retail destinations.”

Caelum Development CEO, David Sharkey, commented: "ParkLake has proven to be a successful project investment from the start, with its unique design, fast advancing and distinct quality tenant-mix, and now the conclusion of the financing contract. It is with no surprise that we make another step forward in the project development with construction work well advanced and on schedule for 2016 opening.”

Located in Bucharest District 3, ParkLake represents a €180 mln investment, with plans to open its doors in 2016. The shopping centre will comprise 70,000 m² GLA with around 200 shops and 2,600 spaces of underground car parking. Construction is currently on schedule, with structural works well under way and moving into the mechanical & engineering phase. The District 3 area is one of the most densely populated areas of Bucharest. Close to Titan Lake and Alexandru Ioan Cuza Park, ParkLake will serve a catchment area of 1.5 million inhabitants. The location is well-connected to the public transportation network and lies within walking distance for residents in the neighbourhood.

The shopping centre has managed to lease over 85% GLA in the year prior to opening. The tenancy will comprise a mixed portfolio of occupants, including fashion, accessories, technology, home & furniture, leisure, services, restaurants and a 14-screen multiplex cinema. Hypermarket operator Carrefour will serve as an anchor tenant, occupying 12,000 m².

Europeans purchasing power on the rise

International news
Purchasing power in Europe climbed by around 4% this year. According to a GfK study, a total of approx. €9.13 tln is available to European consumers in 2015 for spending and saving. This corresponds to an average per-capita purchasing power of €13,636 for the 42 countries under review.

The purchasing power varies significantly by region and country. Eastern and southern European countries consumers’ disposable incomes have grown despite the economic crises but are still far behind the western and northern European countries. According to Eurostat’s statistical findings on comparative price levels of consumer goods and services, Switzerland and the northern European countries tend to consistently have the highest prices of consumer goods.

Consumers in Europe’s top 10 countries have at least 1.5 times the average European purchasing power, while Liechtenstein has 4.5 times the European average.

The GfK purchasing power is a measure of per-capita disposable income after the deduction of taxes and charitable contributions and including any received state benefits. The study draws on statistics on income and tax levels, government benefits and forecasts by economic institutes. It does not take into inflation.

Vastned acquires two high street shops in Le Marais, Paris

Located at Rue des Rosiers 3ter Vastned has acquired two high street shops for €16.2 mln in total.

Le Marais, also known as the Jewish quarter, is located in the third and fourth arrondissements in Paris and is increasing popular among leading retailers. Known for its charming alleys and narrow streets, the historical quarter is home to international retailers like Ted Baker, Uniqlo, COS, new brands like J Crew and Rituals as well as luxury brands such as Moncler, Gucci, and Givenchy.

Rue des Rosiers 3ter lies at the centre of Le Marais, comprising two high street shops. The largest, at 300 m² is divided over the ground floor and basement and is let to leading international retailer Adidas. The other unit is 100 m² and is let to Suite.341 which is a concept of the French SMCP group, where three high-end fashion brands are sold; Sandro, Maje, and Claudie Pierlot.

This acquisition has increased Vastneds portfolio of premium city high street shops in Paris to €136 mln.

Taco de Groot, CEO of Vastned, commented: "Le Marais is developing into a sophisticated shopping destination. The quarter's popularity among tourists from all over the world as well as among local ‘Parisiens’ is increasingly attracting strong international retailers. Acquisitions like these of two neighbouring high street shops in Le Marais, an historical quarter with a growing demand of leading retailers, suits our strategy to grow our clusters in selected European premium cities and contribute to our goal of generating more stable and predictable results."

JLL reports eight year investment high in Belgian property market

Commercial property investments in the Belgian capital have soared in 2015, with investment volume year-to-date jumping by 59% y-o-y to €3.3 bln, already exceeding full year 2014 level.

According to JLL, these exceptional results were largely boosted by two significant shopping centre deals. Such was the impact of these deals retail has overtaken office with 50% of the investment volume, vs. 20% in the 2005 to 2014 period. Offices follow with 32% and industrial with 7%, retirement homes ranking fourth with 6%.

The third quarter of 2015 was an outstanding quarter for retail with a total investment volume of €1.2 bln, over 10 times above the same quarter last year. The volume year-to-date is €1.67 bln, more than five times above the volume invested in the first three quarters of 2014. A number of exceptional transactions were registered this quarter, involving shopping centres and portfolio deals.

The largest retail investment transaction this year in Belgium was finalised mid-July: the acquisition by AEW and China Investment Corporation, a Chinese sovereign wealth fund of the Celsius Portfolio from CBRE Global Investors, with 10 retail properties in France and in Belgium including the Waasland Shopping Centre and 50% of the Wijnegem Shopping Centre. Of the €1.3 bln paid for the Celsius Portfolio approx. €825 mln is allotted to the two Belgian assets, representing a yield of 4.1%.

Three other large investment transactions were closed this quarter: the Constellation portfolio was sold to CBRE Global Investors by developer MG Real Estate for €79.6 mln; developer Equilis sold a retail warehousing portfolio to Belgian private investor Société de l’Argayon for €75 mln and Basilix Shopping Centre in Brussel was sold to French institutional investor Primonial for €64 mln.


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