IN THE PRESS
Gibraltar Is Proving A Rock Solid Investment
A shortage of homes for sale is pushing up prices in this British territory to the South of Spain
The troublesome issue of trade deals loomed large during President Trump’s recent visit to the UK. Yet as Brexit negotiations between Britain and Brussels limps forward, the future of Gibraltar hangs in the balance.
The modern, service-based economy of this little British overseas territory off southern Spain has benefited handsomely from the EU’s principles of free movement of people, capital and services, and it is the first jurisdiction in the world to introduce a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies.
The chief minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, is fiercely opposing any moves by the Spanish government to use Britain’s departure from the EU as a means to gain more control over the territory in a centuries-old dispute over its ownership, and has stated “we will be no victim of Brexit”.
Although Theresa May has bigger fish to fry right now, any worries that the three mile-long rocky peninsula might end up outside any EU-UK trade deal is not harming the lively buy-to-let market. A growing workforce — dominated by financial tech, e-gaming and block chain-based start-ups — is putting pressure on the supply of housing, which is pushing up property prices. For the past ten years prices have been rising between 2 and 5 per cent a year.
“There is a shortage of homes for sale and a chronic shortage of rental properties for the army of more than 12,000 workers who traipse across the border each day, many of whom would much rather live in Gibraltar if the right property at the right price was available,” says Mike Nicholls, the managing director of Chesterton Gibraltar, an estate agency. “Unemployment in La Linea, on the Spanish side, is at 35 per cent, but only 1 per cent here.”
Properties are also selling fast at Bentley Investments Group’s Eurocity, an £80 million scheme of 366 apartments in three blocks, in the central business district. All of the flats — mostly studio apartments — in the first block were sold off plan. The second block, which will become Gibraltar’s highest tower at 22 storeys when it is finished in three years, is on sale, with prices starting from £200,000 for a 30 sq m studio apartment with a terrace. There are two floors of shops, restaurants and offices, but also attractive communal areas with landscaped gardens, a swimming pool, gym and concierge service.
Sales in Bentley’s adjacent West One scheme were rapid — 96 apartments sold in four days — with local buy-to-let investors being followed by owner-occupiers, a trend it expects to see at Eurocity. “With minimum gross yields of 6 per cent and price growth of 3 to 4 per cent a year, buy-to-let here is more attractive than in the UK after the changes to tax relief there,” says Ian Dawson, a sales negotiator at Chesterton. “The retail space and serviced apartment aspect make it unique for Gibraltar and even occupiers of the cheapest units can step out into the same high-level environment as the owner of the penthouse.”
EuroCity Project Proves Highly Successful
Gibraltar’s EuroCity project proves highly popular
Sales have boomed at a ‘landmark mixed-use’ project in Gibraltar, with 200 apartments reserved within just 12 weeks.
The project, EuroCity, includes gardens, pools, retail spaces and a gym, while parking spaces have been built with electric cars in mind.
So far, the average price achieved on the reserved properties is just over £300,000, with more than half of buyers opting to purchase a parking space as well.
Every apartment features USB plugs as standard, a boiling water tap in the kitchen, underfloor heating and Bluetooth speakers in the master bathroom, plus a range of other features.
“We are delighted with these early sales results, a true endorsement of the quality of the EuroCity development and the quality of the entire team involved in this project,” Evgeny Cherepakhov, chairman of the developer, Bentley Investments, said.
“A lot of hard work has been spent and there’s a lot of hard work to go, but we are so pleased with the reaction so far from local residents to what we are creating in Gibraltar, whether as an occupant of an apartment or a visitor to the new retail centre.”
Mike Nicholls, managing director of Chestertons Gibraltar, said the sales figures were quite staggering when compared with any other property launch in Gibraltar in the last 10-15 years. “We are very proud of our involvement in the results so far,” he added. “The quality of design, facilities and specification have been the vote winners amongst our clients, together with the central location. However, we have not finished yet and we are taking new interested parties on the virtual reality tour of EuroCity, every day.”
Gibraltar, which is located on the southern tip of Spain, is only a two and a half hour flight from the UK, and can also be easily reached from Europe and beyond.
The British Overseas Territory, famous for the Rock of Gibraltar, is home to a rapidly growing economy which includes gaming, insurance, fintech and financial services. Demand for property, meanwhile, continues to outstrip supply, with approximately 13,000 Gibraltar employees living in Spain, many of which say they would choose to live in Gibraltar if suitable properties were available.
At present, though, there are only about 250 homes available on the open market to buy and about one tenth of that are available to rent.
EuroCity: 200 properties sold in 12 weeks
EuroCity: 200 properties sold in 12 weeks
Within just 12 weeks of the first apartment sale in EuroCity, the 200th apartment has just been reserved. This astonishing achievement is evidence of the design and quality of the project where construction is set to start in a matter of weeks, one year after it achieved full planning consent.
Over 90% of the apartments have been purchased by local residents, with owner occupiers snapping up all available two and three bedroom properties in the first two buildings. The average price achieved on the properties reserved to date is a little over £300,000. Just over half of the purchasers opted to purchase a parking space.
Purchasers have been impressed with the look and feel of the new mixed use development and can’t wait to move in. The lush gardens, pools, retail experience and gym are obvious attractions to EuroCity. However, the well thought through specification has also been a popular sales feature. Each parking space includes provision of electricity allowing for the fact that in a few years we will all be driving hybrid or electric only cars. No other car park in Gibraltar supplies this amenity to all of its spaces. Each apartment has a boiling water tap in the kitchen, USB plugs as standard, underfloor heating and Bluetooth speakers in the master bathroom plus other features.
Evgeny Cherepakhov, chairman of the developer, Bentley Developments stated “We are delighted with these early sales results, a true endorsement of the quality of the EuroCity development and the quality of the entire team involved in this project which, without a brick being laid, is already 2.5 years in the making. A lot of hard work has been spent and there’s a lot of hard work to go, but we are so pleased with the reaction so far from local residents to what we are creating in Gibraltar, whether as an occupant of an apartment or a visitor to the new retail centre.”
All available apartments in Carrara, the first of the trilogy of buildings sold out in 19 days. 50% of Murano, the second building and what will be Gibraltar’s tallest residential building sold out within 8 days of launch.
Mike Nicholls, managing director of master agency and development consultant Chestertons commented: “These sales figures are quite staggering when compared with any other property launch in Gibraltar in the last 10-15 years and we are very proud of our involvement in the results so far. The quality of design, facilities and specification have been the vote winners amongst our clients, together with the central location. However, we have not finished yet and we are taking new interested parties on the virtual reality tour of EuroCity, every day.”
Sales Soar At EuroCity
Sales Soar at EuroCity – Gibraltar’s Hottest Real Estate Project
Less than a month after officially launching, over 60% of apartments have been sold in EuroCity – Gibraltar’s landmark luxury real estate project.
Developed by Bentley Investments, EuroCity is an innovative 366 home mixed-used development that is set to raise the bar and change the face of the warm British Overseas Territory. Designed by the award-winning British Manser Practice of Architects, EuroCity is situated in Gibraltar’s central business district, punctuated by three sustainable towers, including the territory’s tallest at 22 storeys, with views towards Spain, Africa and the Rock.
Mike Nicholls, Managing Director of Chestertons Gibraltar, comments: “The Gibraltar property market has remained robust, with little sign of faltering in the face of Brexit uncertainty. The combination of mild Mediterranean climate, favourable tax system, almost non-existent crime rate and a rapidly expanding economy make it a rock solid proposition for the future, which will be further bolstered as landmark projects like EuroCity.”
EuroCity Launches Virtual Reality Tour
Watch EuroCity’s Virtual Reality Tour
Virtual Reality is usually associated with video games and entertainment, but now it’s transforming the way the property market works.
Bently Investments, developers of Eurocity, is using VR on the Rock for the first time to take potential buyers through the apartments and grounds, located in three towers in the Europort area.
EuroCity’s launch party in the sun proves a roaring success
Bentley Investments unveil their virtual reality marketing suite experience & announce Royal Wedding Competition winner
On Friday 18 May, there was cause for celebration in Gibraltar as Bentley Investments, one of the territory’s major real estate players, officially launched the marketing suite for its landmark EuroCity project, which is set to raise the bar for development in the British Overseas Territory. The project has surpassed all early sales expectations, with only a limited number of apartments now remaining.
Based on the ground level of the developer’s previous West One project, the new marketing office includes a virtual reality suite, giving prospective buyers a truly immersive view of what is to come at EuroCity – a first for Gibraltar. The celebration, which was well attended by esteemed dignitaries, buyers, stakeholders and the local community, took place in the marketing suite and also the newly completed West One terrace.
The celebration also formed an ideal pre-party for the Royal Wedding between Harry and Meghan, which took place the next day. Bentley Investments is honoured to have been selected as one of a limited number of exclusive sponsors for the upcoming Harry & Meghan – The Wedding Album. The album, which will include a dedicated profile on Bentley Investments, will be produced as a beautifully presented high quality coffee table book, written by prolific Royal commentator Robert Jobson and gifted to key organisations and figures throughout the Commonwealth and the UN.
In the run up to the celebrations, Bentley Investments also ran a three day radio competition, quizzing Gibraltarians on royal family trivial, with a winner picked each day. On the day of the celebration, the senior team at Bentley Investments were honoured to present a cheque worth £250 to first place winner Marie Martinez, who was delighted to have won. All winners will also receive a copy of the album when complete.
Evgeny Cherepakhov, Chairman of Bentley Investments, comments: “We have been overwhelmed with the response to EuroCity and want to thank everyone that has supported us so far, from our own staff through to the wider project teams and community in the territory. We are committed to delivering firsts for Gibraltar, from the virtual reality suite to the design, specification and amenities amongst the development itself.”
He adds: “We are also delighted to play our part in supporting the Royal Wedding, an occasion that was symbolic of progression and strong alliances for the future – something that mirrors our ambitions as a business.”
EuroCity Murano - 50% Sold in 8 Days
EuroCity Murano – 50% Sold in 8 Days
Within 8 days of public launch, 50% of the apartments in EuroCity’s second tower,Murano, have been reserved. This is an amazing vote of confidence in the quality of design and specification that EuroCity offers. Furthermore, it follows on from the sale of 105 apartments in just 19 days last month in Carrara, the first building.
Surpassing even the most optimistic of pre-launch sales forecasts, these figures will ensure construction should start ahead of schedule, in July 2018.
Prices started from £165,000 and local residents account for over 85% of the reservations made so far. A dedicated sales office is due to open shortly on the ground floor of the successful West One development which will showcase a virtual reality tour of the development once built.
Architecturally striking, ideally located, and offering outstanding residential, commercial and retail space to the designs of an internationally acclaimed team, EuroCity is a new benchmark of quality at the heart of Gibraltar’s central business district.
Three slender towers, including Gibraltar’s tallest at 22 storeys with stunning views towards Spain and Africa, create a sustainable, residential resort of 366 apartments around a split-level podium of lush landscaped gardens and pools, served by an international-class concierge facility, the first of its kind in Gibraltar.
Welcoming public space at ground level, the attractions of lively retail, cafés and restaurants, and the further benefit of extensive car parking, confirm EuroCity as a prime destination within the central business district, and a valuable new addition to Gibraltar.
Apartments in the third building Porcelana are forecast to be retained by the developer.
EuroCity feature in Abode2
Raising the property investment bar in Gibraltar
The British overseas territory of Gibraltar is evolving – and the future is looking bright.
Situated just 2.5 hours from the UK and easily accessible from Europe and beyond, Gibraltar enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate, favourable tax system, almost non-existent crime rate and a rapidly expanding economy which includes insurance, financial services and gaming.
Historically seen as a business and tourism hub, the Rock (as it is commonly known) is in the midst of an urban renaissance. New developments, exemplified by the landmark mixed-use EuroCity project, are set to enhance the landscape, not only delivering new homes but resort style amenities and swathes of commercial and retail space that will help to create an appealing destination for professionals, families and businesses alike.
Entered via grand entrance lobbies, the generously proportioned, high specification apartments will sit amongst landscaped raised piazzas designed by RHS Chelsea Flower Show winner Andy Sturgeon. There will also be a range of amenities including 24 hour concierge, car parking, a gym and three swimming pools including a 25m Olympic lap pool.
“With international standards of design, EuroCity blends luxury resort living with an already established global business centre to create a year-round destination,” says Evgeny Cherepakhov, Chairman of Bentley Investments, the developer of EuroCity. “The project combines first class sustainable architecture, lush landscaping, management and amenities – there is no development like this in Gibraltar. It offers the chance to buy into a quality product which others will aspire to.”
Bentley Investments announce exclusive sponsorship of Royal Wedding Album
Bentley Investments announce exclusive sponsorship of Royal Wedding Album
Bentley Investments, one of Gibraltar’s major real estate players, has been selected as one of a limited number of exclusive sponsors for the upcoming Harry & Meghan – The Wedding Album.
The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will take place on Saturday 19 May. Harry & Meghan – The Wedding Album will chart every step of their journey together: from the earliest days of their courtship to the big day itself. It will be produced as a beautifully presented high quality coffee table book, written by prolific Royal commentator Robert Jobson.
As an official sponsor, Bentley Investments will have a dedicated profile in the publication, showcasing the company’s history, work and goals for the future – which centres around chairman Evgeny Cherepakhov’s vision to bring international standards of service, quality of design and construction to all of the residential and commercial projects that it develops. The publication will have a shelf life that goes far beyond the big day itself, serving as an enduring keepsake of this important royal occasion.
Sales officially launch at eurocity
Sales officially launch at EuroCity – Gibraltar’s landmark mixed use project, following booming demand
Bentley Investments, one of Gibraltar’s major real estate players, is officially launching public sales at EuroCity, an innovative 366 home mixed-used project that is set to raise the bar and change the face of the resilient, pro-blockchain British Overseas Territory. The launch comes after a staggering 105 apartments were snapped up in just 19 days off-market, signalling confidence in the project, which is projected to deliver rental yields of up to 8%.
Designed by the award-winning British Manser Practice of Architects, led by Jonathan Manser, EuroCity is situated in Gibraltar’s central business district, punctuated by three sustainable towers – Carrara, Murano and Porcelana – including the territory’s tallest at 22 storeys, with views towards Spain, Africa and the Rock. Entered via stunning and distinctive entrance lobbies, the generously proportioned, high specification apartments will sit amongst landscaped raised piazzas designed by RHS Chelsea Flower Show winner Andy Sturgeon along with a range of amenities including 24 hour concierge, car parking, a gym and three swimming pools including a 25m Olympic lap pool. There will also be an on-site property management company, as well as a new concierge app that will allow residents to do everything from their fingertips.
At ground level, swathes of high quality retail and commercial space will help to deliver a pioneering destination for families, businesses and professionals alike. The rest of Gibraltar is mostly reachable on foot, with good schools, restaurants and a Morrisons supermarket nearby, while the recently upgraded international airport is just a five minute drive away.
Evgeny Cherepakhov, Chairman of Bentley Investments, whose previous West One project sold out in just four days, comments: “The initial off-market response to EuroCity has been overwhelming, a testament to our vision to bring international standards of design to Gibraltar, combining luxury resort living with an already established global business centre to create a year-round destination. EuroCity combines first class sustainable architecture, lush landscaping, management and amenities. There is no other development like this in Gibraltar – as evidenced by the appetite from both investors and owner occupiers.”
Mike Nicholls, Managing Director of Chestertons Gibraltar, comments: “The Gibraltar property market has remained robust, with little sign of faltering in the face of Brexit uncertainty. The combination of mild Mediterranean climate, favourable tax system, almost non-existent crime rate and a rapidly expanding economy make it a rock solid proposition for the future, which will be further bolstered as landmark projects like EuroCity come to fruition.”
Situated on the southern tip of Spain, Gibraltar is easily reached from the UK (2.5 hours), Europe and beyond. The Rock houses a rapidly expanding economy which includes gaming, insurance, fintech and financial service, while property demand continues to outstrip supply, with circa 13,000 Gibraltar employees living in Spain, many of which would choose to live in Gibraltar if suitable properties were available. Currently there are around only 250 homes available on the open market for purchase and about one tenth of that available to rent.*
Gibraltar’s Government is innovative and forward-thinking. In January, the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) became the first jurisdiction in the world** to introduce a regulatory framework for companies involved with DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology, commonly known as blockchain) – the backbone of cryptocurrencies including BitCoin and Ethereum. This open approach is expected to attract investors and businesses, particularly fintech companies, who understand the appeal of a decentralised – yet regulated – alternative currency. This is further bolstered through the emerging Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), which aims to be a world-leading institutional-grade token sale platform and cryptocurrency exchange, supported by its Government.
Sales are currently active at Murano, one of the three towers at EuroCity, with a mixture of studios to five bedroom apartments and penthouses, ranging from between £165,000 to well over £1m.
Bentley Investments sponsor Rolls Royce Pursuit of Excellence publication
Rock Solid Returns
“There’s a saying that to make money you have to be lucky, to preserve it you have to be smart, but to multiply it you must be wise,” says Evgeny Cherepakhov. These are the words that brought this British entrepreneur with Russian roots to Gibraltar 20 years ago. He was impressed by the potential he saw in this British Overseas Territory as a base for his business – and for the homes and offices he builds.
Apart from its subtropical Mediterranean climate, Gibraltar’s many advantages include its reputation as an investment centre, its UK jurisdiction and its business-friendly tax structure: there is no capital gains tax, wealth tax, inheritance tax or VAT, and income tax can be as low as 5 per cent on earnings over £1 million.
The last 15 years have witnessed gaming, insurance and IT companies make this sunny peninsula the base for their HQ, with Evgeny believing that this is only the first step. “Gibraltar’s economic climate, rich history and location provide it with numerous points of growth,” he says. “These include the tourism, banking and shipping industries, with Gibraltar being one of Europe’s top five bunkering ports. These are sectors that are rapidly developing and will continue to do so irrespective of its EU status. This economic growth is reflected in the property sector. According to research by Chesterton’s, Gibraltar property prices have been increasing by 5-7 per cent every year since 2010, and they are still only a fraction of its Mediterranean neighbour Monaco. The possibility for growth is impressive.”
Having founded Bentley Investments in 2000, Evgeny made the development of Gibraltar his main priority. The company’s portfolio includes Eurotowers, a luxury residential and commercial complex as well as a range of bespoke office units, car parks and storage facilities. The latest addition to this development was the award winning WestOne tower, which sold out in just three days after its launch in July 2015.
“It showed that there is a niche in the market,” says Evgeny. “As 12,000 people are commuting across the frontier with Spain every day, the demand for business accommodation is very high. It’s why we’re building apartments tailored for business people, seeking to bring London standards of real-estate service into the Mediterranean climate.”
The quest has led to the company’s pièce de résistance: EuroCity, a proposed development at the heart of Gibraltar’s central business district. Designed by a leading British architectural firm, the project consists of three towers that form an elegant lozenge design above a two-storey podium, which contains a luxurious arrangement of pools and gardens where residents can unwind. On the ground floor, a retail zone will provide shops, restaurants, beauty services and more. EuroCity will embrace the need for more energy- efficient and environmentally friendly construction, incorporating a variety of eco-features.
The EuroCity development is a response to the growing demand from a variety of areas: from individuals seeking to relocate, from growing businesses and their employees, from those wanting to make Gibraltar their vacation home – and from investors who seek rock-solid returns on their property investments.
House hunting in Gibraltar
The New York Times – House Hunting in Gibraltar
Gibraltar’s housing market is “robust,” thanks to a growing economy and very low unemployment, said Mike Nicholls, managing director at the real estate agency Chestertons Gibraltar. In recent years, the territory has become a hub for the online gambling industry and for financial technology services companies, which together account for nearly a quarter of the area’s jobs, according to a 2017 House of Commons briefing paper.
“Despite Brexit, our employment levels are going up every year,” Mr. Nicholls said, referring to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.
And Gibraltar, which is just 2.6 square miles, is currently undergoing a building boom, he said, as developers seek to meet pent-up housing demand created by the influx of foreign workers, many of whom favor the modern developments around the marinas of Ocean Village and Queensway Quay.
Recently, Mr. Nicholls said, his sales team sold 105 apartments in just three weeks in a planned high-rise yet to be publicly marketed. Part of a complex called EuroCity, the building will start construction this summer, with prices ranging from around 167,000 pounds, or just under $240,000, for a studio to more than 1 million pounds, or about $1.4 million, for a penthouse.
Evgeny Cherepakhov for City AM
Why Gibraltar is looking Rock solid
Lesser known than some of its more established European counterparts, the British overseas territory of Gibraltar has hit the headlines recently. A few weeks ago, the British Government guaranteed Gibraltar’s access to UK financial markets until 2020 – with a framework being developed to take it beyond that against the backdrop of Brexit. Earlier in January, Gibraltar’s Financial Services Commission (GFSC) made an innovative power play by opening the doors to cryptocurrencies. The message? The Rock is open for business.
Planning Permission Granted
Eurocity awarded full planning permission
Gibraltar’s Development and Planning Commission awarded Bentley Investments’ EuroCity full planning permission on 14 June 2017.
EuroCity will be a mixed-use development in Gibraltar featuring three residential towers above a publicly accessible landscaped podium containing retail, office and commercial space plus parking. It represents an investment in excess of £100 million.
Conceived with sustainable design at its heart, EuroCity will provide a vibrant new hub at the heart of Gibraltar’s central business district.
European Property Awards
European Property Awards Winner 2016
Bentley Investments’ WestOne development is the 2016 European Property Awards winner for Best High Rise Residential Development in Gibraltar.
WestOne was recognised as one of the most innovative, exceptional, and ambitious projects of 2016 – an absolutely enormous achievement for the development and Bentley Investments.
Evgeny Cherepakhov, chairman and owner of the development said:
“We put considerable effort into designing a development which Gibraltar needed and suited the local area. We were taken aback on launch by the sheer speed of sales which demonstrated just how successful our design team had been. The hard work does not stop with WestOne though. We are now working even harder on EuroCity, the adjacent development. Hopefully we can bring a further accolade to Gibraltar,” he said.
Now in their 25th year, the European Property Awards are considered the most prestigious, and widely recognised awards programme in the region. Every year entrants are judged by an independent panel of 70 industry experts, as well as members of the House of Lords.
Record time for WestOne ‘topping out’ ceremony
The WestOne residential apartment project, situated next to EuroTowers in Gibraltar, reached its full construction height in record time. This achievement was celebrated with the traditional ‘topping out’ ceremony.
Evgeny Cherepakhov, chairman of developer Bentley Investment, spoke to the assembled guests, including Chief Minister Fabian Picardo: “It gives me great pleasure to be here today to witness the results of a great many professionals’ hard work over the past 18 months. I am hugely grateful to all those who have made the WestOne project a reality. This would not have happened without the dedication of my team.”
Mr Cherepakhov said that the next challenge for the company was the ‘ambitious’ EuroCity project. “I want to make this fantastically designed scheme one of the best mixed use projects Gibraltar has seen, and of which I can be very proud.”
Eurocity: a visionary new development for Gibraltar
EuroCity received outline planning permission at Gibraltar’s Development and Planning Commission meeting on 28 June 2016.
The planned EuroCity residential and shopping complex designed by Jonathan Manser and his team from the award-winning Manser Practice of Architects will provide a quality mixed-use development at the heart of Gibraltar’s central business district. The overall architectural design celebrates communal spaces with curvaceous, free flowing, airy routes linking the leisure, office and residential areas and enabling community access within a public green garden zone.
Chair of the jury for the Channel 4 programme ‘Grand Designs: The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) House of the Year 2015’, renowned architect Jonathan Manser’s thirty years of experience in the design and management of large-scale commercial and residential projects enabled him to develop a creative and dynamic response to Bentley Investments’ brief, securing the bid for this unique and vibrant scheme.
London based Manser Practice was also responsible for the designs for both the Victory Place and Marriott Hotel projects in Gibraltar. This extensive local knowledge and experience further underscores confidence that the contemporary and eco-friendly development of EuroCity will benefit people working and living in the city.
“This is a huge step in the right direction,” said Gibraltar Chesterton’s Mike Nicholls.