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New strategies needed as Spain shifts to flexible offices
2 MIN READMarch 04, 2019
GRI Club España gathered on 27 February in Madrid for its second club meeting of the year, focused this time on offices, a growing and dynamic asset class. The Spanish market, or to be more precise, the office market in Madrid and Barcelona, was the topic under discussion, led by Nikolas Koulouras of AEW Europe and Philippe Camus of Shaftesbury Asset Management. Koulouras and Camus each shared their experience and vision, raising questions and creating an open debate about disruptors and the future of offices in Madrid and Barcelona. 

Flexible trend

Participants considered how offices, as an asset class, are becoming more flexible and with higher levels of service. Therefore, in order to create sustainable asset management strategies, it is increasingly important to pay careful attention to the needs of occupiers. Rental values were also addressed:  a lack of available floor space is having an impact on rents, driving prime rent in Madrid and Barcelona up towards record levels. It was generally agreed that yields are now established; even though one can never be totally certain, a “price shock” is not expected.  One concern raised from the investor’s point of view was whether fixed rents would bear up amid this new shift towards flexible offices. 

Barcelona’s [email protected] catches eye

New development and investment possibilities were of great interest. Core and prime assets are extremely difficult to find in either city, so new areas are being assessed: Madrid cannot really extend much more, but in Barcelona, the [email protected] district is drawing particular attention. Launched as an urban renewal project in 2000 by the Barcelona City Council, [email protected] has sought to transform the 500-acre industrial zone of Poblenau into a high-tech, knowledge-based, innovation district. Participants noted that the [email protected] district had accounted for a significant amount of office take-up in Barcelona over the last few years, particularly for medium-large offices. Furthermore, it was observed that although large firms are focused more on offices in the centre of Barcelona, [email protected] is increasingly becoming an option for them.

Offices in Spain will be discussed further at España GRI 2019 on 10-11 April 2019 in Madrid, whilst the future of flexible workspaces across Europe will be discussed at GRI Offices in London in November 2019.
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