Thursday, 14 June 2012

Barcelona: the last two days and departure

Wednesday 30 May started with a presentation from Nick Wride and Eduard Perez, from Jones Lang LaSalle, about the vacant office building at Pg de la Zona Franca 46-50, La Marina.

On top of the vacant office development in La Marina - photo by Geoff Keogh

The students then divided into two groups: the first group went on a tour of Plaza Europa and the second group to the Arenas de Barcelona.

Plaza Europa is a square located in the District VII of L'Hospitalet de Llobregat. It's part of L'Hospitalet's recent urban development, and one of its biggest squares with a distinguishable skyline made up of high-rises which include social housing such as 'Tower 5'. The area is  expected to become an economic centre, close to the airport and with good transport connections to the city centre. The development is not yet complete but already features most of its planned buildings and infrastructure. For an idea of how the finished development will look, watch this video:

The towers of Plaza Europa - photo by Geoff Keogh

The Arenas de Barcelona was built in the late 19th century as one of the bullrings of Barcelona. The last bullfight took place in 1977 and the building stood empty until 1999 when its conversion into a shopping and entertainment centre began. Designed by Richard Rogers, the transformation involved raising the entire building to accommodate a new ground floor and basement area, and the construction of a roof terrace and restaurant area. Once complete, the Arenas reopened in March 2011. Take a look at the Arenas website for some more images of the development. Find out more about the story behind the transformation on the Inhabitat blog.

The Arenas de Barcelona - photo by David Shiers

The students met again in Zona Franca for a presentation from Maria Buhigas of Barcelona Regional. The presentation focused on the economic and territorial dynamics of the Barcelona Metropolitan area (photos by Geoff Keogh).

Maria Buhigas presented...

...and the students listened. 

The last day of the trip, Thursday 31 May and the students settled down for a day of presentations. The first was given by Lindy Garber of Aguirre Newman and focused on corporate real estate in Barcelona using Unilever as a case study. Unilever wanted to bring three subsidiary companies and all Unilever interests together in a single HQ building in Barcelona. This was a major change management programme (ONE Unilever), as well as a corporate real estate challenge that Aguirre Newman advised on (building selection, layout, fit out, design and so on). They moved in 2005 into two floors of the L'illa building on Av Diagonal, where complex fit out was required to accommodate industrial and demonstration kitchens as well as conventional office space. They have recently moved out of L'illa to take an entire HQ building on the peripheral Viladecans Business Park, citing cost savings in a period of economic crisis as the key reason for moving away from central Barcelona.

Lindy Garber - photo by Geoff Keogh

The second presentation of the day was about commercial property investment in Barcelona and was given by Reno Cardiff from Cushman & Wakefield. As I was looking for the link to the Cushman & Wakefield website, I noticed that they have a blog: Global Real Estate. Worth a look.

Reno Cardiff from Cushman & Wakefield - photo by Geoff Keogh

The final presentation of the day took place in the IESE Business School and was given by Patricio Palomar of CBRE. The 17.30 finish allowed everyone just enough time to get ready for the final group meal at a restaurant down by the harbour.

Ready to go out - photo by Gina Dalton

Most of the students stayed on in Spain for the weekend (some found their way to Majorca and the rest stayed in Barcelona). And then back to Oxford to complete the final team report for their hypothetical investment client in the UK on prospects for office or retail investment in Barcelona.

The end of the trip at Barcelona airport - photo by David Shiers

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