We are talking to Gaetan Piret, CEO of Immobel SA
This is almost one year since you are present in Poland. What are your business impressions?
– Well, I have to say it’s a very dynamic country. Polish people are eager to work, to learn and to do things professionally. That is the main reason why we want to develop our business here. We also believe in the future dynamic growth of Poland’s real estate market.
Immobel SA is a Belgium enterprise. What about your investments in Belgium, in Luxemburg?
– Currently we have three markets: Belgium, Luxemburg and Poland. Belgium and Luxemburg are of course linked together, but Poland is for us the second home market. Therefore we decided to establish our office here. Currently we have roughly 20 people working in Warsaw with Bartłomiej Hofman leading the team, looking after our development. Okrąglak building is our first development that we have completed successfully and you can see yourself the magnificent effect our team have managed to achieve. Currently we are busy with other prospective developments in Warsaw, some of them we have already bought and there are also few we are currently looking at.
We have crisis in Europe, in Poland. Is there a difference between Poland and the Western Europe?
– Yes, there are differences. One difference that I have noticed is that Polish people are really hardworking and they want to achieve high goals. Poland is a mature country. Poland is a country that is currently developing very strongly and I admire that.
It’s nice to hear that because opinions about Poland some years ago were quite different.
– Well, this is the way Poland is changing.
Can you explain what happened with the opinion of Western people regarding Poland?
– I don’t know about the opinion of Western people. I know about my own opinion based on observation of the business here and I can see a difference. Here, you have professional and motivated people focused on achieving targets.
What can you say about the development of situation in Western Europe based on your experience?
– My experience was gained in a mature country, where the competitions is much stronger then here. The market is developed, and therefore the prices are not raising up in terms of rental level or in terms of sales values. So really when we are talking about mature country like Belgium or other countries in Europe, if they do not react correctly in the future, they will face problems.
What can you tell about Immobel SA portfolio composition in Belgium, Luxemburg and other countries?
– We are currently active in three different sectors. We are developing offices like this one, we are also developing residential sector – houses and flats and we are also developing land banking.
In Poland we are mainly focused on office projects but we are consider certain retail and residential developments.
So, what will be the future of your activity in Poland? What are your plans?
– Our plan is concentrated on developing here a strong second home market and to have competitive projects.
Let’s get back to the Okrąglak. Are you satisfied with the project?
– Yes, I’m really astonished by the way the building is looking now. It is unbelievable what can be done with historical and old building. Now it looks like new and it is also packed with modern technology. This building has been also assessed by BREEAM and we are about to obtain green building certificate. This means that we are able to develop state of the art projects and I am proud of such result.
Do you have any projects like this one in your sight?
– Well, maybe…Yes, not here, not in this city but in another city in Poland
Where? Can you tell something more about it?
– It is too early, but you will be invited… I think you will be surprised. Positively surprised.
Thank you for your time.
– With pleasure.