China’s Wealthiest Man Eyes Madrid Skyscraper

China´s Wealthiest Man Buys Madrid Skyscraper

China´s Wealthiest Man Buys Madrid Skyscraper

Spain‘s real estate sector could receive a shot in the arm if reports are confirmed that Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin is hoping to aquire the Madrid tower block Edificio Espana.

According to local media, China’s richest man could soon snap up the emblematic 117 metres high skyscraper from the country’s biggest bank Santander. He is reported to be considering paying 260 million euros for the prime piece of property, an around 33 per cent discount to the price shelled out for the building by Santander in 2005, at the height of Spain’s property boom.

Originally housing a luxury hotel, shopping centre, offices and apartments, Edificio Espana was a hub of business and social activity from its inauguration in 1953. But when rehabilitation was halted in 2007, the uninhabited building became another reminder of Spain’s economic crisis, casting a gloomy shadow over Plaza Espana, one of Madrid’s largest and most popular squares.

Wang Jianlin’s potential thumbs up for Spain would be expected to fuel a recovery in activity in Madrid’s city centre, as well as encourage more investment.

 

SPAIN PROPERTY: TIME TO INVEST

Until mid-last year, Spain’s real estate market was still in the doldrums after a decade-long bubble burst in 2008. There were few deals broked as buyers and sellers failed to agree on price. But now the gap is closing and investment funds, particularly from the US, have been snapping up a slew of properties at knock-down prices.

In 2013, renewed interest and demand fuelled an 88 per cent year-on-year rise in transaction volumes in Spain, according to a real estate sector report. And with Spain now also offering residence permits for non-EU citizens to buy properties, it’s a win-win situation for investors.

 

CHINA BETS ON SPAIN RECOVERY

Spain is an attractive market for the Chinese with their deep pockets and insatiable demand for Western products and services. It is also a springboard to other countries like North Africa and Latin America for the world’s second-largest economy.

The HNA Group, parent company of the China’s fourth largest airline Hianan Airlines, has already got a foothold in Spain with its 24 per cent stake in hotel chain NH Hoteles. It is now eyeing the regional airport of Ciudad Real to boost its portfolio.

The boom in Spain’s tourism industry, coupled with its vast infrastructure network, is undoubtedly a huge attraction for Wang Jianlin’s Wanda Group which owns hotels and cinemas throughout China. The Chinese magnate is also looking to bet on the Spanish economy’s recovery, after it finally exited a two-year recession in the third quarter of 2013.

With its 25 floors, the Edificio Espana now has the potential to regain its former glory as a busy commercial and social hotspot.

For information on property investment opportunities in Spain, contact corporate law firm Argali Abogados.

UPDATE: As of 5 June 2014, the Dalian Wanda Group, which is chaired by Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, bought Edificio Espana from Santander for 265 million euros.

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