DIFA acquires first office building in Barcelona for DIFA-GRUND

Following the recent acquisition of the Trocadéro CityQuartier de-velopment in Paris, Hamburg-based DIFA Deutsche Immobilien Fonds AG has announced a further major European purchase at MIPIM. The specialist investment institution for open-ended real estate funds has acquired the Torre Diagonal Mar project in Bar-celona, investing a total of around 78 million euros. DIFA is taking over the office tower from US developer Hines.

When completed in September 2004, the building will offer some 23,000 square metres of office space in the newly created Diagonal Mar district. These two latest acquisitions â€" which include DIFA’s first foray into the Catalonian capital â€" take the DIFA portfolio outside Germany to a total of 35 properties and projects. DIFA has been involved in the Spanish market through two other office complexes since March 2000.

The Torre Diagonal Mar tower development is being constructed to the east of the city centre on a former industrial site separated from the sea by manufacturing facilities and railway tracks, which has been transformed by sustained investment activity into a mo-dern urban district. Hines purchased the site in 1996 with the aim of creating a new centre for Barcelona featuring 1,400 apartments, modern office space, hotels, a public car park and a shopping centre.

In cooperation with the City of Barcelona the site is now linked to the central business district by the newly reopened Av. Diagonal, while moving the railway tracks has opened up the area to the seafront. Adjacent to Diagonal Mar, the city authorities are working on the Universal Forum of Cultures 2004 project â€" encompassing an International Convention centre, the Forum Building, two ho-tels, facilities for water sports, a zoo and the enlargement of the beach area â€" which is scheduled for completion in 2004. The pu-blic sector is further contributing to the integration of the new di-strict by upgrading Sagrera station to allow the high-speed Madrid-Paris train to stop there.

DIFA’s 14-storey Torre Diagonal Mar is part of the wider Diagonal Mar project. By 2004 there will be three office skyscrapers in total, offering some 57,000 square metres of office space and fabulous views of the sea. One of the special features of DIFA’s building, which will include more than 300 underground parking spaces, will be the opportunity to lease smaller areas of space and the flexibi-lity to adopt open-plan and/or separate office layouts.

“The office market in Barcelona has been characterised by a mar-ked fall-off in development activity since the end of the 1990s, re-sulting in a shortage of high-quality, modern office space,” says DIFA board member Dr. Reinhard Kutscher. “With a strong part-ner such as Hines we can maximise the high development poten-tial of the Diagonal Mar project for DIFA-GRUND investors.”

Edouard Fernandez, Director of Hines in Barcelona, stated that “the selling of Torre Diagonal Mar to DIFA is good news for both Hines and Barcelona. DIFA has chosen our company and our longstanding experience to deal with at the occasion of their first purchase in Barcelona. The city will also benefit from DIFA’s great potential and experience with their arrival to Barcelona”.

Source: DIFA

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