The face of commercial property development in Bucharest has changed a lot over the past decade. Developers, investors, tenants and landlords have come together from all over Romania to talk about the office and retail markets at SEE Property Forum 2016, co-organised by Portfolio Conferences and RICS. We report from Bucharest.
Members of the discussion agreed that although there is an increasing need for online shopping there is still need for offline as well. Despite the fact that retailers had serious fears 3-4 years ago, e-commerce does not seem to be damaging retail sales at all. ‘The challenge now is to integrate e-commerce into stores without forgetting that stores and shopping centres should always tell a story’, said Costin Blideanu, Leasing Manager at AFI Europe Romania, who thinks that online shopping can become a further driver for store sales. ‘Online shops can open physical stores and offline stores can also dive into online’, commented Mihaela Petruescu, Head of Property Management at DTZ Echinox.
Iuliana Ghimpu, Leasing Manager at Anchor Grup thinks that retailers have finally understood that the physical stores are the brand ambassadors. In line with this philosophy Anchor Grup has recently refurbished two major shopping centres in Bucharest. ‘At the beginning there was no competition but as the market opened a need for improved also came’, she added.
‘Developers in Bucharest are building simple office centres that tenants need’, said Mark Rea MRICS, Managing Partner at Sentient Consultants. Preferences are changing however and now it is up to developers to figure out what new users want. The biggest concern for the future seems to be the growing popularity of home offices which is a bit like the e-commerce of the office market, commented Affan Yildirim, Managing Director of Anchor Grup, relating to the retail panel. Not everybody thinks that this is a big issue, however. Marian Roman, Managing Director of CA Immo for example believes that people won’t stay at home, simply because they need to socialise.
At the end of the discussion moderator Ilinca Paun, Managing Director of Colliers International asked the experts at the table about their expectations for the future. Affan Yildirim predicted that as the market matures brand will become more important in Bucharest.
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