The vision of building the first modern office building in Iasi was the crux of the city’s development. Traditionally, blue-collar jobs set the premises for developing more sophisticated services that require modern infrastructure. However, in the case of Iasi, the pioneering led by the Iulius Group set the premise for the city’s economic development. The group transformed the central area through one of the most significant mixed-use urban regeneration projects in Romania.
Following the bold vision of “build, and they shall come,” Iulius developed the first class A office building in Iasi, United Business Center I – a shy 7,000 sqm in 2010, 15 years later than the first modern Class A office buildings delivered in Bucharest. Fast-forward a decade plus later, Iulius developed 130,000 sqm, representing 50% of the total office stock in Iasi and more than two-thirds of the Class A stock. Its most recent portfolio addition is Palas Campus, a 120 million EUR investment spanning over 54,000 sqm of offices and 6,000 sqm of commercial areas. It is home to Amazon, Microsoft, Cognizant, Expeleo, AMD, Hella, and many others. These reputable companies joined a group of over 70 multinationals that decided to capitalize on the talent pool nurtured by the seven universities in the city.
In addition to the United Business Center and Campus buildings, there are two other notable office developments in Iasi. Moldova Center, the reconversion of a former department store into a functional office building, added 16,000 sqm of GLA in the center of the city. It was fully leased by companies such as Webhelp, Conduent, 3Pillar, and HCL. Tester Group built Ideo Centro (later rebranded as Tester Technology Park), a 25,000 sqm business park hosting KPMG, Tata Technologies, Oracle, and Conduent, among others.
In Iasi, the asking rents range from 12 to 15 EUR/sqm, and the vacancy rate is still in the single-digit range, with a preference to work from the office, as the commute is not as burdening as in Bucharest and the workforce requires more in-person time for training and collaboration. Moreover, people enjoy the modern facilities and sense of community provided by the integrated commercial–office schemes and the apprenticeship that comes from shadowing. However, the low vacancy rate and the limited competition of class A office buildings lead to lower tenant incentive packages than in Bucharest.
Prime Kapital is the second prominent investor who took a leap of faith and embarked on a large mixed-use urban regeneration project in Iasi. Silk District is a large-scale residential and office scheme complimented by 10,000 sqm commercial spaces and a 4 ha private park to serve residents and the neighboring area. The first phase of the BREEAM Outstanding office park (c.a. 104,000 sqm at maturity, 5 buildings) is scheduled for delivery in Q4 2023, after a slight delay from its announced target date. Communication concerning the future tenants is pending.