Congratulations on your new role as CEO of Globalworth Group! What drives you as you step into this position after years with the company?

It’s been an incredible eight-year journey. Back in 2013, our listing on London’s AIM stock exchange raised EUR 55 million. Now, we’ve crossed the EUR 3 billion mark, making us the largest office investor in the CEE region. What energizes me is the team’s quality and our unwavering focus on customer service. These have been crucial factors in our growth.

You’ve focused on Poland and Romania. What influenced these choices and how do they differ?

Romania was a natural starting point. Our founder, Ioannis Papalekas, had a presence there since 2001, and in 2012-2013, we saw opportunities. Poland, being the largest and most sophisticated market in the CEE, was another clear choice. The infrastructure contrasts significantly, with Romania lagging, especially in areas like airports and motorways.

What challenges does Romania face in terms of branding?

Romania has grappled with negative perceptions and stereotypes, hindering its growth potential. Despite this, it’s evolving, particularly in tech and innovation. Initiatives in IT, hosting unicorns like UIPath, show promise, but the challenge lies in overcoming stereotypes and broadcasting the country’s true potential.

Globalworth Square showcases advanced technology. Why prioritize this?

Real estate has been slow in embracing technological advancements. The pandemic has hastened this. Our touchless access, community-building apps, and sustainability initiatives, like rooftop PV panels for energy production, reflect our commitment to technological advancement and sustainability.

How has the pandemic impacted your office segment compared to other assets like industrial spaces?

Offices faced challenges, requiring discussions with tenants for concessions and extensions. Our model facilitated negotiations, ensuring resilience. Despite the impact, I believe offices will thrive post-crisis. Logistics, on the other hand, saw demand from e-commerce, F&B, pharma, and automotive industries.

What are your priorities in the near future?

Short-term challenges continue into 2021. We’ll focus on promoting our portfolio, supporting tenants’ return to offices, and extending our logistics segment. With over half a billion EUR in cash, we aim to invest wisely, shaping the future of offices and expanding our portfolio.

What’s your outlook for the real estate markets in Poland and Romania?

These markets stand out as winners amid the crisis. Multinationals eye them not just to cut costs but for the right human capital. The growth in FDI will drive property segments, making them optimistic investment options. Being a long-term investor pays off in such promising markets.

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