There are only a few weeks left until the end of this year. What is the balance-sheet of Soravia Romania for 2015? What is the main achievement and accomplished mission this year Soravia Romania is proud of?
In 2015 Soravia Romania has finalized the transformation of Metropolis Center, its flagship development, into a long term leased stabilized office development. Changing the corpus B of the building complex from a hotel use to an office use has proved to be a significant success, as shown by the high quality tenants attracted to the space. Several of the existing tenants in the building have prolonged the running leases, another proof of the overall concept. In the same time, Soravia team in Romania has been active on the new projects front, with two new concrete developments in the pipeline.
Austrian real estate developer Soravia Group has opened its local subsidiary in Romania 16 years ago. How would you assess the Group’s experience here and all this time from the point of view of goals assumed and achieved?
Soravia has been one of the first developers to focus on Romania and believed in the potential of the local market from the very beginning. It can be said that at the end of 90’s very few visionaries imagined the future development of the economy and the country as a whole. Looking back, at the time the country’s membership in the EU or NATO was not yet secured and business practices were different than the ones of today. Soravia managed to identify suitable projects and create value in an environment that became progressively better, confirming the initial expectations of the company. Like any respectable developer, the goals were to create value for the community and for the company and we feel that we achieved these goals. We are proud of the buildings that we created and we look forward to more of the same.
How do you see the potential of the Romanian real estate market and what are the development plans for the future of Soravia Group here?
Soravia believes in the future of Romania as a very important regional market. The potential is palpable and we think that this will become increasingly visible to institutional investors, bringing the local market among the major players in European Real Estate.
Soravia intends to remain an important player by developing one of a kind projects that are an addition to not only the company portfolio but also for the city as a community.
Soravia Romania has successfully finalized various projects here, even in the years of economic crisis when the real estate market has registered a decline. What are the main learned lessons by your company, as an important developer, from the years of crisis on the real estate market?
All participants in the local real estate markets learned lessons in the crisis. We would be of the opinion that exploding land prices were at the root of a boom that was financed from external sources without connection to the fundaments of value. Ultimately users should decide pricing in the market, in connection to budgets, disposable incomes etc. Considering that the client is the ultimate goal of our efforts, we should listen to him and amend pricing in the market according to its willingness to pay.
The competition on the Romanian real estate market for office spaces, where Soravia Group is a main player, is quite representative. What makes the difference regarding Soravia’s strategy and philosophy to develop further modern and innovative projects that keep the company in the top of the most important developers on the market?
We think that the competitive advantage of Soravia comes from focusing on special, remarkable projects. We will never follow the crowd and invest in one region or another because of the fashion. We look carefully for special projects, we determine the client niche where we will perform and only after timely consideration commit to the project. Thus we strive to ensure the quality and unicity of the projects. We want to create unique buildings with character and this requires more than just following the crowd.
What are Soravia Romania’s plans for the future, based on the same set of values that define the Group’s activity not only on the local market, but also internationally, namely: vision, innovation, friendly attitude for the environment and social responsibility?
As mentioned, our intention is to bring to life buildings that play a definite role in the community and are salient parts of the urban environment for decades to come. This is the main way in which a developer contributes to society- by creating beautiful and useful buildings. For this one needs vision, a deep understand of the soul of the city and, more than anything, courage. Currently we are working on one retail project and one office project that have the potential to become landmark buildings and meet the specific criteria that are at the core of our vision of urban fabric.