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Merger for biggest Spanish REIT nears closing; Tritax agrees to £116M purchase

* The merger of MERLIN Properties SOCIMI SA and Metrovacesa SA's commercial property business is tipped to be nearing its conclusion, Property Investor Europe reported, citing local media. The notarial act to wrap up the merger is expected to be signed between Oct. 20 and Oct. 23, the report said.

The combination is expected to create the largest Spanish REIT.

* Tritax Big Box REIT Plc agreed to buy two logistics facilities in the U.K. for £115.5 million. The properties at Birch Coppice, Birmingham, and at Warth Park in Raunds, Northamptonshire, are respectively leased to Euro Car Parts Ltd. and Whirlpool UK Appliances Ltd.

The acquisitions, which are conditional on the completion of the company's £150 million capital increase, are expected to take place on or around Oct. 20.

France

* Icade is moving to a new headquarters in summer 2017, the company said in a statement. The 9,500-square-meter Open building in Issy-les-Moulineaux, Paris, is undergoing a refurbishment that should be completed in October. CEO Olivier Wigniolle said the relocation is part of the company's expansion efforts.

The company also disclosed that it signed two new lease deals for 26,400 square meters of office space at the Défense 4/5/6 complex and the Millénaire 1 building within the Millénaire business park in France.

UK and Ireland

* Green Property hired CBRE to sell the office building at 8 St James's Square in London for at least £200 million. The London Evening Standard reported that the recently refurbished property offers 60,000 square feet of space and counts Société Générale and art dealer Helly Nahmad Gallery as some of its tenants.

* Roughly £600 million of offices were recently placed on the market in the City of London, according to a CoStar U.K. report. Some of the properties are Samsung Asset Management's 30 Crown Place that is for sale for approximately £220 million, while a BNP Paribas Real Estate client is hoping to rake in about £40 million from the sale of the 23 Austin Friars building.

* Prologis Inc. pre-leased a 151,000-square-foot shed at Prologis Park Marston Gate in Bedford, U.K., to furniture retailer Dwell. Property Week noted that the distribution center is expected to open in early 2017.

* Berkeley Homes, Grainger Plc and Countryside Properties are in the running to develop four mixed-use sites in the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead in the South East of England in a joint venture with the borough's council. Shanly Homes and Pinnacle Group round up the short list, Property Week reported.

The four sites covering 15.5 acres of land have the potential to yield 1,000 homes, the report said.

* Colliers International acquired Bollingbrook Ltd., a British commercial building consultant, quantity surveyor and project manager. The acquisition details were not disclosed.

* The Irish government unveiled its "transformational" housing plan for 2017, which will increase the budget for the sector by 50% year over year and introduced a 5% tax rebate to first-home buyers, among other initiatives. Ireland's Minister of Finance was reported by The (U.K.) Times as saying that the scheme will encourage builders to increase affordable-housing supply.

The (Irish) Independent, meanwhile, compiled a list of comments from some industry players about the rebate scheme. Fianna Fáil housing spokesman Barry Cowen said that the help-to-buy scheme was a "lazy" move that did not address the "real problem" in the housing sector.

* The 14 retail parks in Dublin identified by BNP Paribas Real Estate have less than 4% available space, The Irish Times reported, citing the estate agent. The research added that the retail parks market in the Irish capital is seeing nearly fully occupied levels for the first time in over a decade, thanks to a renewed demand for big ticket household and DIY items and a rebound in consumer spending.

Spain

Direct hotel investments in the country during the first half amounted to €996 million, an 18% year-over-year increase, PIE reported, citing BNP Paribas Real Estate. The recorded jump and the expected upward trajectory in the sector through 2017 are mainly attributed to an increase in tourism, the report said.

Middle East and Africa

According to STR, there are 159,127 hotel rooms under contract in the Middle East in September, a 14.8% increase year over year. In Africa, meanwhile, the number of hotel rooms under contract in the comparable period was up 8.3% with 56,858 rooms.

Now featured on S&P Global Market Intelligence

Data Dispatch Asia-Pacific: Asia-Pacific real estate companies raise nearly US$70B YTD through September: SNL-covered Asia-Pacific real estate companies raised US$7.73 billion in capital in September — US$1.30 billion more than was raised in the same month a year earlier.

Data Dispatch: REIT capital-raising activity up 11.3% YOY through September-end: During the two-week period between Sept. 16 and Sept. 30, REITs raised approximately $3.51 billion.

The Daily Dose Europe, Real Estate edition, is updated as of 6:30 a.m. London time. Some links require a subscription. Articles and links are correct as of publication time.