Sven Schoel, CEO of the promoter AQ Acentor
The developer AQ Acentor has six housing developments underway in Barcelona with an investment of 800 million euros, according to its CEO, Sven Schoel. The developer, owned by the German fund Aquila, has a third of its activity in Spain, with more than 2,000 homes and a total surface area of 350,000 sqm.
AQ Acentor began this week the works of its largest Catalan development, AQ Urban Fira, a project in La Marina del Prat Vermell, in Barcelona, with 680 homes, 180 of them officially protected. The project also includes a 15,000 sqm office tower. The promotion will involve a total investment of 270 million euros.
The company has now started the first phase, of 140 homes, which it plans to deliver in 2023. "We have about half of the phase sold," said Schoel, who acknowledged that this is one of the requirements that banks now demand to finance promoters. “We, who are part of a large group that provide us with liquidity, have it easier, but the situation will force smaller local developers to seek other financing alternatives or to group together”, he acknowledged.
AQ Acentor is looking for new opportunities to buy land to build new homes in Catalonia, or also logistics warehouses
Schoel acknowledged that the firm paralyzed the search for new projects in 2020, waiting for the impact of the covid to materialize.
“For a few months we had fewer visits and fewer sales, but then they have reactivated strongly,” he says, so that the firm has increased pre-sales by 68% in the first quarter of this year compared to the same one in 2020.
In addition to the Free Zone project, AQ Acentor has developments in Sant Adrià del Besòs (230 homes, of which 40 are protected), Viladecans (900 homes, 390 of which are VPO), l'Hospitalet de Llobregat (130 dwellings, 30 of them social) and Santa Perpètua de la Mogoda (80 social dwellings).
Schoel highlights that AQ Acentor has invested 1,600 million euros in Spain in the purchase of residential land, and has 6,000 homes underway. The firm is in Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga and Valencia. "Nobody knows how the economy will go but we are clear that these are cities in which there is a lot of demand for affordable housing," he said. In his opinion, moreover, after being locked up at home for a year, families value more having a good home.
Despite everything, he acknowledged that it is a time of great uncertainty, with added risk factors such as rising construction costs and changes in rental legislation. The firm is promoting 600 rental homes in Barcelona, Viladecans and Santa Perpètua.