“The investment in the Velký Špalíček shopping center is understood by the Diocese of Brno primarily as an investment in a unique property in the center of the second largest city in the Czech Republic,” said diocesan spokeswoman Martina Jandlová.
The amount of the transaction was not commented on by the parties. The price of 30 million euros was mentioned by the consulting company JLL in its overview of new real estate transactions.
The diocese invested in retail real estate as a purely commercial project. “It was made in order to invest funds from church compensation in such property, which would in the long run make it possible to finance the activities of the church or the diocese, which are not of a commercial nature,” she added.
Generali was represented in the transaction by the consulting company Cushman & Wakefield, on the bishopric side were consultants from IMAP Redbaenk. “This is an internal matter of the Generali Group, and we will therefore not comment on the transaction,” Marika Valditara Nicajasová, Head of Generali Communications for Central and Eastern Europe, responded to the questions.
The Velký špalíček center was established twenty years ago by the reconstruction and completion of a group of historic buildings. The investment at that time was around one billion crowns. A large part of the stores in the center fall into the retail categories, the operation of which has been severely limited in the last year.
Generali Real Estate has been buying more than selling in recent years. Last spring, the real estate part of the financial group acquired the Kotva department store in Prague for approximately 3.5 billion crowns. In the first half of last year, a fund managed by Generali also bought two residential buildings in the capital.
For the Bishopric of Brno, the acquisition of Velký špalíček is the first major real estate investment. Until now, money from restitution compensation has been partially invested in the Sustainability Fund of the Roman Catholic Church, whose sub-funds focused on shares, bonds and real estate are managed by ČSOB and Česká spořitelna.
According to JLL consultants, the volume of investments in commercial real estate fell by 52 percent year-on-year last year to 1.5 billion euros.
“Investors’ desire to buy in the Czech Republic is still very high and the volume of investments could be much higher if there were more real estate projects for sale. However, most existing owners prefer to wait smartly, do not offer projects for sale and are actively trying to maintain or increase their value, “said Andrew Peirson, JLL’s director for the Czech Republic.
Last year, investors spent around 407 million euros on retail real estate. The interest was mainly in shopping parks, which were not as much affected as shopping centers due to the composition of shops. Apart from Velký špalíček, only one of the shopping centers was sold for 70 million euros Central Kladno into the hands of the Portiva Group and Micronix.