The real estate arm of BNP Paribas has acquired the headquarters of the Agbar group located in Barcelona for more than €60 million. The building forms part of the office complex known as Distrito 38 and until now was owned by the US bank Goldman Sachs, which purchased it as part of a batch of assets in 2015 for €355 million.

It was one of the last operations to be closed in 2018 in Barcelona but it has not been published until now. The building used to be managed by Patrimony, the real estate firm founded by Jordi Tremoleda, and the previous owner was advised by Savills Aguirre Newman during the sale.

The property was designed by the Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and has a surface area of more than 16,200 m2. It was first occupied by Agbar in 2015, when that firm moved from Torre Agbar, the iconic building designed by Jean Nouvel, to this office complex located on Paseo de la Zona Franca in Barcelona, in search of a more functional building. In theory, the water management company said that it was going to be a temporary home whilst a new corporate headquarters was constructed, but for the time being, there is no information that a new transfer is being planned.

Agbar left Jean Nouvel’s tower after having agreed its sale with the fund manager Emin Capital, but that operation was not executed in the end and the Socimi Merlin Properties ended up acquiring the building at the beginning of 2017 for €142 million.

Despite being a recently constructed building, Agbar’s current headquarters has already changed owner several times. The office complex was designed by the real estate company Habitat, when that property developer was still owned by the Figueras family. The office development was then acquired by Caja Madrid and, in 2015, by which point it was in the hands of Bankia, it was sold to Goldman Sachs. Sources close to the US investment giant said yesterday that in just three years the bank has achieved a very profitable operation.

According to provisional data, as we wait for the final operations closed in 2018 to be published, Barcelona recorded a good year in terms of real estate investment, albeit below 2017. The consultancy firm CBRE estimates that the outlay on buildings could have amounted to €1.973 billion, compared with €2.177 billion the previous year. A large part of these operations (46%) correspond to the office sector, which accounted for investment of €906 million, compared with €757 million in 2017. According to the same report, 68% of the purchasers that invested in Barcelona were foreigners. And of the domestic investors, half were Socimis.