Your professional journey from a military career to real estate, transitioning from France back to Romania, gives a unique perspective. How do you perceive the local real estate market?

I’d describe myself as an optimist, especially about Romania’s real estate landscape. Returning after 13 years in France, I see abundant potential for development and growth here. Romania’s distinctive evolution—skipping certain developmental stages and embracing technology—presents significant opportunities for present and future generations.

Moreover, the country remains rich in untapped resources, including natural assets, geographic advantages, and a resilient workforce, despite emigration waves. Romania, unlike more mature economies like France, offers substantial space for growth and innovation. There’s a distinct prospect for transforming ideas into successful ventures.

Ceetrus shifted focus from retail to residential and office segments since 2016. What motivated this transition?

Our vision aligns with urban development. Embracing an urbanist perspective, we look beyond individual plots to integrate spaces into a broader city vision. Romania often has residential spaces lacking amenities like parking or easy access to schools, while upscale areas may lack essential infrastructure.

Our goal is to design neighborhoods that fit into the larger urban landscape, anticipating people’s needs 20-30 years ahead. This shift stems from acknowledging our increasingly sophisticated lifestyle while ensuring city-wide harmony in our developments.

In France, Ceetrus renovated the North Train Station in Paris. Are there similar city-changing projects planned for Bucharest?

I’m enthusiastic about participating in transformative projects for Bucharest’s landscape. Renovating the North Station could redefine that area and integrate it better into the city. Presently, it’s not particularly appealing, especially for tourists. Exploring public-private partnerships for the renovation of neglected state-owned buildings is a way forward. Collaborations between the state and private businesses could align interests and pursue common objectives.

2019 was a successful year for real estate in Romania, but the pandemic altered plans. What’s the immediate focus now?

Health remains a top priority amid the pandemic. We’re committed to maintaining equilibrium within our ecosystem, especially considering the retail sector, which might need a few years for recovery. An exciting initiative is Nhood, a real estate services platform launching in January 2021, aimed at transforming existing sites into vibrant living spaces, managing Ceetrus assets in Romania.

Is it a favorable time to invest in Romania’s real estate market?

Romania currently enjoys intrinsic, stable advantages, from its diverse population to political stability. The country maintained a good position over the past 15 years, even amid social challenges. Investor-friendly legislation, such as a 5% dividend tax rate, makes Romania an attractive investment destination. Safety, quality business prospects, and an enabling environment make it a promising time to invest here.

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