Property News

FIA Imobiliar BT Property enters the retail market

FIA Imobiliar BT Property enters the retail market 1600 1200 ROMANIA PROPERTY CLUB

15.05.2024

BT Property Alternative Investment Fund has acquired Funshop Park Turda (Cluj) from the Polish group Scallier. The transaction marks the fund’s entry into the retail market, where it aims to expand.

Funshop Park Turda, a retail park, has over 9,000 sqm of leasable area and BREEAM certified buildings, according to international standards.

FIA Imobiliar BT Property, managed by BT Asset Management SAI SA, a company of Banca Transilvania Financial Group, is aimed at professional investors and is established for an indefinite period.

The fund was launched in 2022 and currently has assets of EUR 32 million.

Its portfolio comprises premium real estate in Romania with a leasable area of over 40,000 sqm. It is the first alternative investment fund specialising in real estate investments authorised in Romania by the Financial Supervisory Authority.

Brasov accelerates industrial & logistics development

Brasov accelerates industrial & logistics development 2560 1884 ROMANIA PROPERTY CLUB

16.04.2024

Brasov has been an interesting center of attention during 2023, with multiple new builds and announced projects. Both institutional investors and owner-occupiers made significant commitments towards the region.

Brasov is part of the Central region on Romania’s map of modern industrial & logistics premises. Out of the total 7.02 million sqm of national stock, the center region covers 680,000 sqm, half of it being in Brasov.

Owner-occupiers such as Olympus, Ursus, Bauer, and Foerch undertook significant investments towards adding processing, storing, and office capacity.

Olympus announced a 40 million EUR expansion into state-of-the-art cold storage, warehouses, and offices.

Ursus committed to investing over 50 million EUR for the next three years, featuring a new bottling line, warehouses, offices, and an extension of the production facility.

The top three institutional investors – VGP, WDP and CTP -have started a solid development pipeline, with a total combined build capacity of over 360,000 sqm.

VGP signed multiple new tenants, including a record of 47,000 sq m with Intercars, working on the automotive strengths of the region, and an 8,500 sq m lease with DB Schenker.

CTP announced a significant new investment in the city ecosystem, by signing a multi-stage growth lease with Diehl Controls, one of the major home appliance and HVAC production companies.

One of the pioneers of the industrial market in Brasov, ICCO, has 45,000 sq m under development, whereas NEPI Rockcastle has 23,000 sq m available to let in the wider county (Rasnov).

Urban logistics operator, Modulis, is preparing Phase II for go-to-market – 33 small warehouses to cover more than 20,000 sqm.

The authorities are quite involved in pitching to new investors, thus offering large industrial platforms suitable for development. While the former CET platform is still under review and clearing, in Prejmer the local governing body opted for a Public – public-private partnership with Spanish operators Graells & Llonch.

The site, originally an impressive 82 ha plot, has attracted residents, mainly SMEs and local producers, on more than 50 ha. Through residency, companies are offered incentives such as no property tax and/or deductions.

The prime asking rent for modern Class A facilities surged from a base of 3.6 – 3.85 EUR/sqm to 4.25 – 4.5 EUR/sqm, aligned with Bucharest prime rents.

Investments towards increasing the output are not only in facilities but education as well.

In partnership with the City Hall and the dual education center, Schaeffer invested 0.5 million EUR in 2023 in scholarships and meal vouchers to train personnel.

In 2024, the plans are to increase the budget to 0.7 million EUR and contribute to the material base of the class (specialized equipment).

Along with Schaeffer, 15 other companies are partners with the dual education center, among which Draxelmeier, Vitesco, Schneider, and Preh.

This is an outstanding example of aligning the corporate and the public systems to generate a win-win situation and contribute to the economic development of a region.

To unlock further value, investors are waiting for the streamlining of the new international network and for road infrastructure projects to materialize.

Novel retail & leisure concepts enter Brasov market

Novel retail & leisure concepts enter Brasov market 2560 1707 ROMANIA PROPERTY CLUB

15.04.2024

The Brasov retail market development has been steady, with a few notable new moves. A new retail park, built by Element Development, was added last year to the existing 170,000 sqm of modern stock, which is mainly anchored by the established schemes – AFI Brasov and Coresi Shopping Center (105,000 sq m combined GLA).

The largest retail area was developed on the former Tractorul platform, where Coresi shopping resort was inaugurated in 2015, spreading over 24 hectares.

The owner announced development plans, with a new retail hub comprising a 4,200 sqm Decathlon store, a 2,050 sqm Bebe Tei, 850 sqm Farmacia Tei and two large furniture stores Momaz and XXXLutz on 28,000 sqm and Mobexpert on 9,600 sqm.

Decathlon, Bebe Tei and Farmacia Tei are scheduled to open in 2024, while Momaz, XXXLutz and Mobexpert in 2025.

Flanco made the first step in implementing its new greenfield development strategy by acquiring a 5,000 sq m land plot in Brasov, to build a 1,500 sq m single-brand shop and supplement its presence in the region.

Remote work, which allows talent from anywhere to connect to a virtual delivery office also contributed to the slower take-up throughout the country. In Brasov, remote workers are served by co-working, such as The Business Factory located in Coresi. Raiffeisen Bank also offers a few co-working offices through its Hub1317 program.

Alexandrion Group announced plans to invest in a concept of shops and hotels, which is aimed at Romanians with incomes of 1,000-1,500 euros, who want to consume fine drinks, such as single malt, brandy, or rum, in the city, at affordable prices and to have entertainment, such as watching a football match or live music. Brasov is on their development plans.

Another notable addition is a large transaction represented by the signing of the fourth La Cocos store, a domestic discount supermarket. An anchor level of 10,000 sqm was signed at BRINTEX Discount Shopping Centers, located in the Bartolomeu area, a retail scheme that recently underwent an extensive refurbishment process.

A key development is the purchase made by Speedwell – the former Tino factory. The 17,600 sq m surface is currently under master planning, with the expectation of building a residential – retail mixed-use, coming to market in the medium to long term.

In terms of pipeline, Rara Group is considering a retail park in Ghimbav spanning over 15,000 sq m of land. While other retail parks were previously announced, the developers decided to cancel the projects for the time being.

The city still relies on the services and brands present in the two existing shopping centers.  AFI Mall spans over 45,000 sq m and was opened in 2020. It is located in a prime central area with long-term value for both residents and tourists.

The center hosts more than 350 shops and a good mix of international and local brands. Coresi Shopping Resort, a 60,000 sq m development, is part of a wide urban regeneration scheme and serves mixed-use residents and the wider Brasov population.

Low development pace for Brasov office market

Low development pace for Brasov office market 1618 1080 ROMANIA PROPERTY CLUB

15.04.2024

The Brasov office market size and pace is dictated by the pipeline of university students (c.a. 20,000 per year), ranking 5th after Bucharest, Cluj, Iasi, and Timisoara. The modern stock was maintained at 155,000 sq m, with no new developments in 2023.

However, AFI obtained the building permit to continue building Phase II (10,000 sq m) for the office park adjacent to the AFI Brasov Mall, with an expected delivery date in 2026.

The headline rent slightly increased to 13.5 EUR/sq m, even though the pace of take-up was as slow as in 2022. Fewer than 5,000 sq m were transacted in 2023, mainly by IT & C companies. The take-up trend aligns with other regional leaders, where new absorption was less than 10,000 sq m / per city through 2023.

While the average wage in Brasov is 1,400 EUR/month, below Cluj, Timisoara, and Iasi, work from home and hybrid policies led to a supply of subleases, whereas new entrants preferred to focus on the opportunities offered by the talent pool in Romania’s main city.

Remote work, which allows talent from anywhere to connect to a virtual delivery office also contributed to the slower take-up throughout the country. In Brasov, remote workers are served by co-working, such as The Business Factory located in Coresi. Raiffeisen Bank also offers a few co-working offices through its Hub1317 program.

Strong multinational tenants in IT&C, BPO / SSCs, and retail are being served by the existing three business parks in the city, AFI Offices, Coresi Business Park, and Brasov Business Park. The latter might resume construction of its next phase during the medium term, subject to demand.

The outcome of the public debate on the zoning and services required by the 36ha urban regeneration of the former Rulmentul factory might dictate a new development pole on the long term.

Brasov residential market enters new development phase

Brasov residential market enters new development phase 4835 3237 ROMANIA PROPERTY CLUB

12.04.2024

An analysis with the support of imobiliare.ro

Brasov residential market has become the largest regional residential market, and the second one at national level, following Bucharest & Ilfov. This is no surprise given the strategic location in the center of the country, attracting residents from surrounding areas, and the touristic potential of the area.

The most developed areas are Bartolomeu, Tractorul and Noua-Darste. The inauguration of the international airport last year has opened the potential of the area and Bartolomeu district is expanding to the border with Ghimbav. With the support of our partner imobiliare.ro we have drafted an analysis for the new residential market in Brasov based on the data from January and February 2024.

Comparing 2024 with 2023, the biggest increase is for two rooms (16%), followed by three rooms (9%). The demand for four-room apartments has dropped by 4%, while the demand for studios has seen the biggest decrease, by 11%.

In the first two months of 2024, the biggest increase of new units’ offer is for four rooms apartments (33%) followed by two rooms (14%). The three rooms offer has raised by 6%, while the offer for studios had dropped by 4%, compared to the previous year.

The prices have maintained a steady increase, with 12% in 2024 vs 2023. Medium price for new units is 2,053 Euro/net sqm + VAT.

Brasov land market overview

Brasov land market overview 7240 7240 ROMANIA PROPERTY CLUB

12.04.2024

An analysis by Florin Ciche, Remax Central

The city of Brasov continues to develop real estate in all segments and the future perspective looks very good.

From the point of view of residential developments, new areas of interest have opened up today. If until now the strongest development was in the Tractorul district, today there is new interest in other areas.

One of them is the western part of the city. The opening of the Brasov Ghimbav International Airport has opened the potential of the area and the Bartolomeu district is expanding outwards to the border with Ghimbav.

A second area is the southern part of the city, the entrance from Bucharest, namely the Noua district and the Calea Bucuresti commercial area up to the border with the Astra district. The reconversion of the former Roman platform, as well as the vacant land in the immediate vicinity have come to the attention of developers and in the near future will appear new mixed projects, residential and partially retail and office.

Industrially, the main direction of development of Brasov is towards the West, obviously due to the development of infrastructure, the future motorway to Sibiu, and the airport, next to which the North area, the exit to Targu Mures is becoming more and more sought after for industrial/logistic developments.

Retail land follows the other developments, so the West, North and South areas of the city still offer land where retail parks can still be developed.

Prices differ according to existing regulations.  

A record number of 1,300 hotel rooms are under development in Brasov

A record number of 1,300 hotel rooms are under development in Brasov 2560 1707 ROMANIA PROPERTY CLUB

11.04.2024

The impact of last year’s international airport inauguration in Brasov is visible: a record number of 1,300 hotel rooms, internationally affiliated, are under development with delivery dates between 2024 and 2028.

Currently, the hotel market in Brasov County has 128 units, out of which 56 are in Brasov and Poiana Brasov. Only 5.2% of total number of rooms are 5-stars, while 44.5% of total number of rooms are 4-stars and 44.01% of total number of rooms are 3-stars.

Source: Ministry of Tourism, Total number of hotels in Brasov County

Source: INS, Est Hospitality

The information for Brasov, gathered by RPC from Est Hospitality, a tourism consultancy company, shows that:

  • In 2023, tourist arrivals and overnights are still below the levels of 2019.
  • As compared to 2022, the market increased with 10% at arrivals and overnights.
  • The trend is very positive, and it is expected to continue in the coming years due to increased traffic at Ghimbav Brasov International airport, the pipeline of new branded hotels, the number of festivals, increased number of MICE events (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions).

Mircea Draghici, Managing Partner, Est Hospitality: “The number of hotel rooms internationally affiliated will increase with 22.1% in the next three years. The number of hotel rooms on 5-star category will increase with 128% over the next three years.”

Strategic location and tourism potential allure real estate investors

Strategic location and tourism potential allure real estate investors 1618 1080 ROMANIA PROPERTY CLUB

11.04.2024

With a population that slightly exceeds 550,000 inhabitants, Brasov offers one of the most livable urban centers in Romania. In addition to its natural beauty, well-preserved historic district, and numerous resorts within a short driving distance, Brasov enjoys a supportive public administration that actively works toward its citizens’ welfare.

The City Hall focuses its attention on a series of initiatives meant to boost the city’s livability and development, working with its pre-existing advantages. In terms of leisure and green areas, investments in two new parks, running and bicycle tracks, a multisport facility, a new UEFA standards stadium, and 43 sports courts spread across the city are considered an investment in the health system. While already the second most popular destination after Bucharest for foreign tourists and the go-to destination for winter sports, initiatives such as building a long bobsleigh are meant to increase the attractiveness all year round. Cultural initiatives are also an important factor in the city’s appeal; thus 1.2 million EUR are being granted in 2024 to projects.


PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION FOCUSED ON SUSTAINABILITY

Surrounded by lush green mountains, the air quality and sustainable development represent a priority to its citizens. Thus, more than 90% of the car-sharing fleets are EURO 6, hybrid, or electric vehicles, with further investments in sustainable public transportation and intermodal nodes. Most recently, a 20-year strategy for a green city has been brought to public debate. Further proof of the focus on sustainability is the EU-funded photovoltaic park under construction in Stupini, meant to ensure 90% of the schools, public institutions facilities, and public lighting needs.

The public administration emphasizes long-term development and work-life balance by building no fewer than 13 preschool facilities spread across the city, particularly focusing on the new residential areas. Moreover, to build relevant working skills, the City Hall invested in a 20 million EUR dual-educational campus in partnership with the most significant employers in the region. Thus, the public authorities ensure that essential training in automotive, mechatronics, airspace, IT, and hotel, leisure, and restaurants is being provided to the local workforce, at a level relevant to the industries. This capacity is meant to complement a 20,000 / year student population.

The focus on economic development is obvious considering the series of invites sent to embassies and consulates (US, France, China) to visit the county and learn about its advantages. Moreover, Brasov is one of the few Romanian cities to have a stand at EXPO REAL for two consecutive years. The public administration clearly understands the role real estate investors play in the economic development of the city, by providing modern work infrastructure.


INFRASTRUCTURE UPDATES

At a county level, the most important investments are road transportation related. One of the biggest priorities is working on the National Road 1 bottleneck, by creating an alternative route. 80 million EUR were allocated towards studies and eminent domain acquisition. 200 million EUR funds are sustained by the European Bank of Investment for portions of the A3 highway, connecting Brasov to Targu Mures, Cluj, and Oradea.

However, the most impactful development has been the opening of Brasov International Airport. While still under fine-tuning to streamline operations, critical infrastructure to support tourism and cargo shipment is finally live, after decades of efforts.

This recent development, along with the public authorities’ pro-business and pro-citizens agenda creates the basis for sustainable development. Numerous residential and short-term letting compounds are under permitting and/or development, alongside high-end resorts. Most recently, Kempinski announced a partnership for a 5-star resort in Poiana Brasov.

The authorities partnered with the Untold festival organizers to create Massif, a music festival located in Poiana Brasov, catering to a younger audience to diversify its cultural offerings and generate interest from new visitors.

The city attracted important international real estate investors such as Nhood or AFI Europe, while Speedwell bought the former Tino shoes factory in Bartolomeu neighborhood, planning a mixed-use scheme.

Nhood delivered in Brasov one of the largest mixed-use schemes from Romania, on the former Tractorul industrial platform: the shopping center Coresi spreads over 24 hectares, being inaugurated in 2015, the residential component comprises 4,700 apartments, while 60,000 sqm of offices were finalized, with potential up to 100,000 sqm. Up to now, 350 million EUR have been invested at Coresi, while the owner revealed plans to allocate another 350 million EUR for development up to 2030.

The City Hall announced last year that it signed a contract with the Order of Romanian Architects regarding the conversion of the former industrial platform Rulmentul, with an area of 36 hectares.

The well-balanced economic development in Brasov is illustrated by the low unemployment rate (2.6% vs national average of 5.4%) and the 14% increase in the average wage to 1,370 EUR gross (inflation at 9.8% at the national level, thus in real terms increase of 4%+).

Brasov is an excellent alternative to Bucharest-Ilfov, Cluj, Timisoara, and Iasi. Together with Constanta, Brasov may lead the wave of new poles of accelerated development in Romania.

Top regional cities for renting modern offices

Top regional cities for renting modern offices 1600 1068 ROMANIA PROPERTY CLUB

Nicolae Ciobanu, Partner at Fortim Trusted Advisors

Outside Bucharest, companies leased less than a fifth of the total traded area in Bucharest, according to a study conducted by Fortim Trusted Advisors, a member of the BNP Paribas Real Estate Alliance. In total, the companies leased new modern spaces, at regional level, with a total area of 37,441 sqm, which represents 18% of the volume registered in Bucharest, at the level of 2023. This volume is down from the previous year, 2022, with some of the large deals under negotiation being postponed to this year. The largest volume of new office space was traded in Cluj-Napoca, 33% of all new rentals across all regional centers. On the next places are the cities of Timișoara and Iasi. “In the first quarter of 2024, several lease transactions for office space in Cluj-Napoca are in the final negotiation phase. Recently, there has been an increased demand for spaces with an advanced level of arrangement, capable of ensuring a quick move. Supply remains limited, despite a substantial number of projects under development. The opportunity to accelerate the completion of these projects could be generated by the interest of an anchor company to pre-lease a significant area in an office building scheduled for completion between 2025 and 2026”, said Nicolae Ciobanu, Managing Partner – Head of Advisory at Fortim Trusted Advisors, member on the BNP Paribas Real Estate Alliance. Cluj-Napoca managed to attract the newest tenants, with the largest area, of 12,202 sqm, of spaces rented by companies looking for new offices. Among the new tenants are Sensience, Principal33, Viking Romania, Datanet Systems. Timisoara ranks second in terms of renting new spaces, among the companies that rented new spaces being Access Group Ericsson, SomProduct, HUF.  On the other hand, the city of Timisoara registered the highest volume of rentals, together with regional renegotiations of spaces where current tenants remained: over 15,000 sqm. In third place was the city of Iasi, with a total of 9,043 sqm. Among the companies that have moved into new spaces in this city are IBM, Cognizant, BRD, Infineon and RINF. Brasov, although in 2023 it gathered a total area of only 5% of the total, has premises to take revenge in 2024-2025, due to the fact that several new office buildings will be put into use here, in the Coresi Campus project, Phase 4 – U1, with a total of 9,350 sqm. Regarding the fields of activity of office tenants in regional cities, most of them are in the IT&C sector, 61%. The vacancy rate of office space is lower in regional cities than in Bucharest. The lowest vacancy rate is found in Iasi, where in 2023 the largest office project delivered at regional level, formerly Palas Campus, in Iasi, with an area of 60,000 sqm, was put into use, but which had many pre-lease contracts signed a year or two before, from 2021-2022. In 2024 we will no longer have such large deliveries in a regional hub.

M Core Introduces Joint Venture Management Platform for Romanian Portfolio

M Core Introduces Joint Venture Management Platform for Romanian Portfolio 2048 1535 ROMANIA PROPERTY CLUB

26.03.2024

M Park

M Core announces the launch of ‘Square 7 part of M Core’, a strategic joint venture between M Core and Square 7 Properties, to establish a new management platform for the M Core portfolio of 25 retail parks across Romania. Co-CEOs of M Core Romania, Sebastian Macdonald-Hall and James Fife led the initiative with Clemens Petschnikar of Square 7 Properties to form ‘Square 7 part of M Core’.

Led by Romanian real estate industry veteran, Clemens Petschnikar, ‘Square 7 part of M Core’ brings over two decades of experience in development management in Romanian retail real estate.

As Romania’s largest owner of retail parks, M Core boasts a strategically located portfolio of 25 properties, all fully leased and BREEAM certified, underscoring our commitment to quality and sustainability.

The next move will be the rebranding of all 25 properties under the M Park brand. The M Park brand is dedicated to retail parks and medium-sized retail properties, with leasing spaces of up to 20,000 square meters. Strategically positioned in smaller and medium-sized cities, each M Park is meant for a catchment area of at least 300,000 individuals within a 30-minute drive. The tenant mix of M Parks consists of national anchor tenants alongside local service providers and food operators.

Clemens Petschnikar will ensure a seamless transition to the M Park brand, which will be available to over 150,000 daily visitors from Arad, Bacau, Bistrita, Baia Mare, Bucharest & Ilfov, Buzau, Braila, Caransebes, Campina, Drobeta Turnu-Severin, Iasi, Medias, Medgidia, Odorheiu Secuiesc, Pascani, Resita, Giurgiu, Mioveni, Ploiesti, Sighetu Marmatiei, Slatina, Slobozia, Targu-Mures and Tulcea.