(MADRID) - Hines, the international real estate firm, has celebrated 25 years since its arrival in Spain in 1996, after landing in Barcelona with its pioneering Diagonal Mar urban regeneration project. During the event, Vanessa Gelado, Senior Managing Director of Hines Spain, and Lars Huber, CEO of Hines Europe, reviewed the firm's milestones in Spain over the past 25 years and set out the strategy and objectives for the future.
"In 1996, Gerald D. Hines, our founder, envisioned an opportunity, a dream. Soon after, that dream became a reality: from Hines, we laid the first stone of what would become Diagonal Mar, a project that forever marked the future of Barcelona and marked the perfect landing for Hines in Spain," declared Vanessa Gelado during the inauguration of the 25th Anniversary of Hines Spain.
"During these 25 years, we have grown to position ourselves as one of the main players in the sector at a national level, with a portfolio valued at more than 900 million euros, which we expect to grow by a further 200 million euros by the end of the year, with a total of 13 assets, distributed between Madrid and Barcelona," said Vanessa. The director of Hines España outlined the real estate firm's objectives for the coming years: "Our aim is to continue on this path and to continue to expand our presence in Spain. We are at a key moment of development, with a firm commitment to the Spanish market, a consolidated team, and in constant search of opportunities to expand our activity, with the aim of achieving solid results, and always following a strategy marked by sustainability and following ESG criteria. This is Hines' 25th year in Spain, but we are already working on the next 25."
Lars Huber, CEO of Hines Europe, outlined the company's objectives and forecasts for the coming years on the European continent: "After the financial crisis in 2008, we had to devote all our efforts to recover the capital invested. Before, we were buying and selling assets, rehabilitating them and then marketing them after adding value. We were forced to change our strategy. It was a difficult challenge, but we managed to reinvent our business. Since 2009 we have learned a lot, we have built a robust business model and since had a string of very prolific years.
Today, we continue to be very successful in Spain and in Europe. Our success has come from the diversification of our fund investments. We are a company with a long history and experience in retail and offices, but after the crisis we have successfully expanded into new sectors for us, such as living and logistics. As a result, we have built a more robust portfolio of assets. 2020 was a record year for investment in Europe, with more than 9 billion euros invested, our local teams on the ground allowed us to continue to source and execute deals, despite covid challenges. This has allowed us to expand in Europe at great speed. We were previously present in 5 countries, now we have assets in 12 countries, and we have Hines offices in 17 European cities. In Europe we are the only company with this offer. We are currently focusing on increasing our presence in the cities where we are operating."
After the interventions by Vanessa Gelado and Lars Huber, two panel discussions were held to discuss the main trends that are shaping the evolution of the real estate sector. During the panel "Transforming cities: Urbanism in the 21st century" moderated by Luke Treasure, Director, National Head of Construction and Project Management at Hines Spain; and which featured architects of renowned prestige such as Enric Batlle, Chairman and Founding Partner of Batlle i Roig; Nigel Dancey, Senior Executive Partner & Head of Studio at Foster + Partners; and Rafael de La-Hoz, Director of the Rafael de La-Hoz Architecture Studio. Throughout the panel, experts presented their views on the changes and trends that are transforming urban planning in large cities in Europe.
In the second panel discussion "ESG goes mainstream," moderated by Vanessa Gelado, the speakers Lars Huber, CEO of Hines Europe; Andrés Pan de Soraluce, CEO of Acciona Inmobiliaria Real Estate; Esther Escapa, Director of Investments and Developments of Iberia AXA Real State Investment Managers; and Pablo Pérez-Montero, Director of Head of Sustainable Finance at CaixaBank - CIB - IB, addressed the ESG real estate situation in Spain, and proposed various structural strategies to move towards sustainable cities, highlighting the economic challenges derived from the ESG strategy and its impact on the value of real estate.
Lars Huber, CEO of Hines Europe, added that "Sustainability is one of the most pressing issues in the real estate sector. Hines has made sustainability key to our approach to our projects in Spain and, over the past 10 years, Hines has worked to achieve LEED certification for projects around the world. Our goal is to be the global leader in this area."
Hines is a privately owned global real estate investment firm founded in 1957 with a presence in 255 cities in 27 countries. Hines oversees investment assets under management totaling approximately $83.6 billion¹. In addition, Hines provides third-party property-level services to more than 367 properties totaling 138.3 million square feet. Historically, Hines has developed, redeveloped or acquired approximately 1,486 properties, totaling over 492 million square feet. The firm currently has more than 171 developments underway around the world. With extensive experience in investments across the risk spectrum and all property types, and a foundational commitment to ESG, Hines is one of the largest and most-respected real estate organizations in the world. Visit www.hines.com for more information. ¹Includes both the global Hines organization as well as RIA AUM as of June 30, 2021.