Cushman & Wakefield celebrates this week 25 years of activity in Portugal.
On July 1st, 1991, a UK property firm, Healey & Baker (who years later would merge with Cushman & Wakefield), acquired the commercial real estate department of George Knight Lda, who was already present in Portugal since 1987 and was managed by George Knight and Eric van Leuven.
Eric van Leuven became managing partner of Healey & Baker Portugal, with a team of 5 employees, essentially dedicated to the disposal and acquisition of office and warehouse space. The range of services has widened and the company now has over 80 employees who specialize in 8 areas of property activity.
Eric van Leuven, Managing Partner, said: "Currently the motto of Cushman & Wakefield is" to help customers transform the way the world works, purchases and lives." I think that Cushman & Wakefield had some influence on the enormous changes in the real estate market over the last quarter century. We helped design, market, evaluate and manage many of the most iconic real estate developments in the country - shopping centres north to south, offices and logistics parks around Lisbon, buildings and retail units in the main streets of Lisbon and Porto".
The first major consulting transaction, even in July 1991, was the acquisition of the Avenue da Republica 26 building, for 2.8 billion escudos (14 million euros), by BCP.
Since then, Cushman & Wakefield's investment department has been involved in some of the most important transactions of the Portuguese market, including the sale of 13 buildings at Quinta da Fonte to TMW and MEAG, the acquisition of an office building in Parque das Nacoes on behalf of Rockspring and a subsequent sale to Merlin; the sale of a logistics platform in Azambuja to Sonae Retail Properties, and more recently the sale of the Campus de Justiça, Torre Ocidente (Torres Colombo), shopping centres Algarve Shopping and Estação Viana and Tower A of Torres de Lisboa, among many others.
Also in agency - offices, retail, industrial and land - the firm established itself from an early stage as a reference in Portugal, and was responsible for the marketing of many iconic projects in our country.
Thus, in the office sector, Cushman & Wakefield has been involved is projects such as Quinta da Fonte Business Park, Lagoas Park, Monumental, Atrium Saldanha, Tivoli Forum, Torre Oriente and Ocidente (Torres Colombo), Café Lisboa, Art's and Adamastor buildings, , among many others.
A team of tenant representation was responsible for identifying new headquarters for several multinationals theirincluding Ford, Pfizer, Philips, BBDO, Sky, 3M, Alcatel and TNT.
The retail department of the firm also had a leadership path on the national scene having been involved with Sonae Sierra in the leasing of many of its shopping centers, including Centro Vasco da Gama, NorteShopping and LeiriaShopping as well as the first retail park which opened in Portugal, Sintra Retail Park, and the largest outlet centre of Europe, Freeport in Alcochete.
In the high street sector, Cushman & Wakefield have also acted on behalf of Virgin Megastore in the lease of the Eden building, and the Hard Rock Cafe in the Condes building, both in Restauradores. Cushman & Wakefield has been responsible in the past few years for the expansion of several national and international retailers in Portugal such as of Aldo, Claires, Footlocker, Game, Primark, Virgin Active, among others. Cushman & Wakefield has also held a very important role in the placement of the top luxury brands in Lisbon and Porto, highlighting Cartier, Michael Kors, Porsche Design, Boutique dos Relógios Plus, Ermenegildo Zegna, Hugo Boss, Diesel and Hoss Intropia.
As for the industrial and land team, which started its activity as early as 1991, major transactions such as the sale of Colgate-Palmolive's facilities, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson and TVI in 1996, where the TV station still has its studios, are noted. The industrial team was also responsible for the sale of industrial facilities Lear to AF Investments, as well as the sale of Marconi Park in Carnaxide. In 2015, this team was also responsible for placing the first trampolines park Bounce in Portugal.
The non-transactional departments, including valuation & advisory, research & consulting, asset services and project management, activity started later but today they have references in their respective areas of activity.
The valuation & advisory team of Cushman & Wakefield assesses real estate portfolios for companies such as the Sonae, CBRE Global Investors, Rockspring and many national and international financial institutions. Over the years, it has established itself as the market leader, having been involved in the valuation of the most important portfolios for national and international organizations, including AXA, Cerberus, Curzon Advisors, Fidelidade, JP Morgan, among others. In 2015, this department was responsible for the valuation of assets with a total value of around EUR 20 billion.
The property management department, which was established in 1999, is now responsible for the management of 36 office buildings, shopping centers and 4 logistic units, at total of about 330,000 sq.m of area and an annual volume of revenues of 41 million euros. We highlight some of the assets managed by Cushman & Wakefield such as Forum Barreiro, Forum Castelo Branco, and even the entire portfolio of Imopólis, 9 office buildings in Quinta da Fonte and a large part of the office buildings in Parque das Nações.
Regarding the project management department, which was launched in 2003, it has diversified its area of expertise developing architectural design and project management for offices and retail units and also in the area of coordination and supervision of works, particularly in residential projects such as Distilaria do Alcohol (Gaia), educational equipment such as the American School, public facilities such as the Sea Life Centre.
Finally, the Cushman & Wakefield research & consultancy department has delivered, over the years, numerous feasibility studies in all sectors, such as the market study to define the retail component developed at Expo 98 after the exposition and feasibility studies financial and commercial for the majority of the shopping centres in Portugal. This team is also recognised in the market for the production of several reference documents in the Portuguese real estate market, such as the periodic issues of Marketbeat spring and autumn already in its 26th edition.
As for the future outlook, Eric van Leuven says: "Cushman & Wakefield is having its best year ever, thanks not only to the investment activity but also due to the offices and retail occupancy. Although there are many geopolitical uncertainties and threats to economic growth, we are confident we have the best international framework and best prepared local teams to continue to lead the consulting real estate in Portugal. "