The coronavirus pandemic has had a sobering effect on the operations of all industries, including real estate management. The crisis was most felt by the residential, office and retail sectors, whereas the logistics sector displayed a certain degree of stability due to the limited supply and the high demand for storage space. We talked about the effect of the crisis on these sectors with the CEO of the Novaston Platform, Mia Zecevic. Novaston
has long since positioned itself in the market in the region as a highly professional company that provides the full service in sales, lease and management of real estate, management, marketing, as well as the management of construction projects, equipping new office facilities and locations for the development of production-logistics complexes.
– The strategic goal of the company is to develop and be equally successful in various segments of the industry and that is why we implement modern technologies and solutions, and our expert teams with local and international experience approach each client personally. From this year, we are focusing on the business sector and the logistics sector, and we pay special attention to a large project in Croatia. This is the hotel management sector, we are currently hired to set up asset and property management and organization, which is a big challenge for us – says Mia Zecevic, the CEO.Novaston is already positioned as a leader in the management of retail parks and shopping centers, not just in Serbia, but in the region as well. What is the situation like in that sector at the moment, slightly more than a year after the outbreak of the pandemic?
– The retail sector was among the first ones to be affected by the measures adopted due to the pandemic, which is why many brands quickly turned to online sales. However, retails parks, known here as outdoor shopping center, operated most of the time according to the rules of safe shopping – the possibility of maintaining the required physical distance, a direct access to the store in an outdoor environment, spacious parking lots, as well as the implementation of all the preventive measures. The market of retail centers is not saturated, there are plenty of projects that are being realized and that have been announced throughout Serbia and in the region. Several months ago, we mediated in the process of an acquisition worth EUR 61 million between two influential investors in the Balkans: NEPI Rockcastle and BIG CEE, for the retail facilities Kragujevac Plaza Shopping Center and Krusevac Retail Park. Also, the whole team was engaged in launching and opening the first retail park in Pirot, Puls Shopping Park. From the idea of the reconstruction/construction, preparation of the business plan and the setting up of the project, through the process of reconstruction and construction, negotiations and the signing of contracts with the tenants and the suppliers, we were part of the process, all the way to the organization of the opening ceremony in September 2021. We are now continuing with the activities of the full operating management of PULS Shopping Park. This year, a big investment transaction also took place – our long-term strategic partner, the Austrian company IMMOFINANZ, bought four retail parks of Poseidon Group. In addition to the current seven STOP SHOP retail parks of this company’s brand, Novaston is now also running those additional four retail parks, whereby we have taken over the leadership in the market of management in this sector. Also, STOP SHOP retail parks in our country reached the occupancy rate of 100%, as did the Puls Shopping Park in Pirot, which speaks to the popularity of this concept of an outdoor shopping center. Our other clients, such as IKEA, which is already working on the construction of the Ava Shopping Park in Belgrade, are also expanding their businesses. There’s room for the development of new retail parks in secondary places, there’s a need, there’s a demand and supply, so I am sure that, in 2022, we will see new openings and new projects.