Archive May, 2012

(I) MIPIM 2011 Cannes & Asia “the world’s property market”

23 May, 2012 No Comments

This fair is among the most important real estate forums in the world for anyone to present projects and attract foreign investors. The fair it’s a showcase of cities and regions to acquire popularity among international companies.

MIPIM 2011, in Cannes on March 8-11 of 2011, had 18,600 visits, of which 5,000 were investors from all over the world, and 6,400 were companies. Even though the majority of the show stands was represented by European countries, especially France (hosting the fair) and the UK (guest country), a total of 90 countries participated in the event, here is a short list: Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain (Barcelona, ​​Catalonia), Italy, Germany , Nordic countries, as well as delegations from Russia, Baltics, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, Uruguay, China, Japan, Singapore, Arab Emirates, Qatar and Egypt.

This fair gathered a vast amount of useful information that could help you determine where to invest and help you identify investment opportunities. It helped the investor understand the real estate market in a comprehensive manner, along with its trends for the short to the medium term. This, in part, was possible thanks to all of the international experts that conducted more than 40 presentations about to the housing market as well as “Investment Labs” or networking sessions that performed an in-depth analysis of the hot investment markets of the moment, such as Turkey, Brazil, Egypt and South Africa . Each workshop had an approximate duration of about 45 minutes, led by 3 experts and concluded with a debate or discussion from 5 key personalities.

A different format was the closed-door investor power meeting, that offered the opportunity to 30 investors (buyers or sellers) to find, through their network of contacts, potential business partners.

Another interesting kind of workshop was held as a competition game. Taking the British market as a referent, since it is one of the most dynamic real estate markets in Europe, all English promoters exhibited and presented their projects to a jury of potential investors, as if they were participating in a ‘competition’.
Urban debates were also offered in front of the different delegations of all the cities around the world, with topics such as the different measures adopted from the rapid population growth, carrying out with  an analysis of issues related to sustainability and quality of life.

The fair has gathered the most influential executives from the real estate sector of this time; Property Advisors, Investors, Bankers, Commercial Investment Advisors, Architects, Designers, International Real Estate Attorneys, Construction companies, Development Corporations, as well as local and regional authorities. Thus, a place to meet and exchange the supply and demand of all the real estate segments (commercial, industrial, infrastructure and development, engineering, residential, offices… and the largest projects worldwide).

It might be interesting to analyze in upcoming posts some of the highlights of the exhibition.
** Given that the number of Asian investors seeking new investment opportunities far from their borders had been increasing considerably, MIPIMASIA fair ( was held in Hong Kong on November 15-17, 2011. * *

RAFAA Architects Solar City Tower (water + sun) – 2016 Olympic Games in RIO

22 May, 2012 1 Comment

The so-called Solar City Tower, could rise on an island near Rio, with the idea of being a referent on the ​​global commitment with the environment. The tower would produce its own energy, and the surplus used to supply the surrounding areas.

RAFAA architects present this proposal with the idea that Rio becomes the starting point of a green movement for the development of sustainable urban structures.

The project consists of a solar plant that:

– would produce solar energy during the DAY. This is possible given the tall structure (105 meters) equipped with a huge network of solar panels. The energy produced would be used for the urban area, and the remaining to power the engines that collect and propel the sea water to the top of the tower.

– at NIGHT, the stored water would fall as a cascade, producing hydroelectric power that can be used to illuminate the building at night.

RAFAA, a Swiss Studio of architecture and design founded by Rafael Schmidt in 2007, makes an analysis of contemporary architecture that combines creativity, research and design, along with new technologies. If the project gets approved, it will be presented for the 2016 Olympics.

The tower has an auditorium, viewpoints, leisure space with 360 degrees panoramic views, a platform for bungee jumping that is 90 meters high, and while walking around the “Sky Walk” glass,  visitors could feel the waterfall under their feet.

Another project with “water walls” is the vertical zoo of Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires, presented by the Swedish architect studio VisionDivision. We are talking about a building whose facades are covered with water curtains.

The main handicap of complex projects such as these, is the high installation costs involved in its development.


20 May, 2012 No Comments

The owner of a condo hotel shares the benefits from renting the property with the company managing the hotel.

An example of a well known condo hotel is the PLAZA Hotel in New York.

In Spain, half of the offer of condo hotels is located in the region of Andalusia, particularly in the province of Malaga.

In order for this model to be successful, it must be profitable for all three parties:

  • the promoter
  • the hotel operator
  • owner / investor

The advantages would be:

* The PROMOTER derives part of its costs to the OWNER by selling him the suites, and therefore the amount of external financing decreases. The PROMOTER is still the owner of the common areas (meeting rooms, spa, local ..) from which he will also get a return. This business model allows the promoter to develop the hotel in areas where land is very expensive, where otherwise the project wouldn’t be viable. It will be easier for the PROMOTER to achieve an agreement with a hotel operator since the risk is spread over 3 different figures.

* The HOTEL OPERATOR will be able to manage 5***** hotels in areas where land is expensive, most of the time in “prime” tourist locations of big cities or exceptional locations for vacation on the coast or in the mountains. This allows OPERATORS to attract once again  high class tourism that in recent years has chosen other ways of spending their vacation rather than in hotels. The OPERATOR will set the terms and conditions (time and season) in which the owner will be able to enjoy his unit, making the most out of the peak season. The PROMOTER will also decide the design and decoration of the rooms and units.

* The OWNER / INVESTOR will have an interesting return from the property over the medium or long term based on the proceeds from renting it.  The property can also increase in value, since a “prime” location is often requested by investors (it is sold as any other real estate property with the advantage that some hotel customers may be interested in purchasing one of the units).

The OWNER will be able to use the complex facilities at a discount. In comparison to regular second residences, the OWNER will also have a second home in an attractive area that will always be in its best condition, exempt of problems and issues. The owners can take advantage of the hotel’s name recognition, advertising, management experience, that will get them a higher rent than they would otherwise get by renting a regular second house.

Rent generates benefits that outweigh its costs, and it is reasonable to assume that the investor will get an increase in the property’s value (as long as the purchasing decision was well made). It also allows the OWNER to enter the hotel business, with a small investment.

The potential disadvantages, especially for the OWNER:

1. The OWNER buying the unit takes a risk since he ignores the terms and conditions that will be set by the PROMOTER, nor has prior information of the future incomes that this investment will generate, and therefore cannot calculate his ROI over the medium or long term.
2. The OWNER might not know when and how long he will be able to use it.
3. The OWNER will not be allowed to decorate the room or customize it in any way.
4. The OWNER should try to know in advance who the OPERATOR will be, because if it’s not a high-end chain, the investment will most likely be unprofitable and may not be as appealing to do. Among the chains with more experience I would include: Hyatt, Intercontinental, Abba Hotels, Crowne Plaza, Sol Melia, Kempinski hotels, Vasari, Ritz-Carlton, Marriot, Hilton, Le Meridien ….
The market suggests that the safest investment are held in downtown areas of certain capitals, since it involves a minor risk to the future sale of the property and a safer appreciation of it.