Passerinvest Group belongs amongst the largest Czech development companies even though they are – with regards to their main operation in Prague 4 – actually a local developer and investor.
We were talking to Lenka Preslová, Business Manager at Passerinvest Group, a.s., about the supply of offices in Prague and demand for them as well as what the company is planning.
How do you see current supply and demand in Prague 4, which was and still is, attractive to your company?
The Prague 4 location – in our case I speak of the BB Centrum – does not lose its popularity even some years later. It is based on a stable foundation so I am convinced that it will retain this in future. It comes with an excellent availability of civic amenities and access to all services, which has become one of the most important criteria when selecting new offices. With regards to the fact that these things do not come up at once but are developed over the long term, the already established locations will always be an advantage over the newly developed or solitaire projects. New demands for premises are still coming even though we do note some decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The often-mentioned scenario regarding reduction of number of premises by companies does not show much yet but some optimization of the size of the premises will no doubt come up. there are also companies who are doing extremely well in these times and are looking at expansion. The currently reduced activity in the market is primarily caused by sitting tight and companies’ cautious approach to making strategic decisions whereby they tend to postpone them till later, once the situation calms down. With regards to supply, we have noted an increase in the volume of premises for lease. Based on the latest data from real estate agencies in Prague, the volume of premises for lease is nearing the 100,000 sq m level. The question is whether this segment will find suitable clients and to what extent it is to represent competition for the classic lease.
Where do you see the added value of the administrative buildings in the BB Centrum?
Administrative buildings in the market are now very comparable with their technical quality and specifications, so it is necessary to look for added value of a different character. With regards to the BB Centrum, it is, no doubt, its versatility of useful functions, a broad scale of services and civic amenities. BB Centrum today represents a fully-
-fledged modern city district, which we want to continue developing and improving. If I was to mention a particular advantage for tenants, it would be its large number and versatility of buildings, which allows us to provide various types of offices – from the smallest starting at 100 sq m in prime buildings to premises of several thousand square metres in modern glazed buildings. As lessor, we become long-term partners for companies and thanks to our portfolio of buildings, we can also respond flexibly and provide tenants with adequate premises, for instance for expansion, or to help them deal with reductions. We are aware of the fact that client’s requirements might change in time – especially in these times when added value no doubt gains on more and more significance.
What type of offices do your clients prefer?
We have all encountered terms such as activity-based workplace or agile workplace. However, the prevailing trend for our clients remains the combination of open and enclosed offices. With the emphases put on communal areas, mostly in the form of a common kitchen and with it associated seating areas intended for non-formal gathering of employees. What has also come to the fore in recent years are shared working places whereby the company establishes a smaller number of working places than the number of employees as they account for the fact that not all employees are continually present in the offices at the same time. And if they are, they can, for instance, use seating areas in relaxation zones. An interesting and more and more popular trend is also the trend of the utilization of mobile and flexible equipment, which can be easily relocated in case the premises need to be reorganized, without the need for reconstruction.
You have recently realized the comprehensive revitalization of the B building, which already has its first tenant. What is evident at first sight is the atrium that is open to the general public. How does it work at the BB Centrum with public areas and offer of services?
Public areas represent an important part of our approach to urban planning, where we develop an area comprehensibly as a whole and don’t only deal with individual buildings separately. That is the only way to create meaningful development projects that bring added value to both people and the city. Working environment does not only mean the area of the office anymore but also its immediate surrounding areas. That might represent an important factor for companies, for instance when gaining new employees. After repurchasing the buildings, working with public areas within the BB Centrum is easier for us and we are also happy for the positive feedback we get from those users who really appreciate the services provided within the complex. The last additions to the complex include the new Ellen G. White Square in front of the B building and the newly created inner block in this building, which is open to the public and complemented with water features, greenery and benches. The comprehensive reconstruction of Želetavská Street and the adjoining pavements and parterres on the ground floor will be completed before the end of the year.
Are you preparing some new projects in Prague next year and in years to come?
Our current project is the Residence Oliva, which is just prior to commencement. It is a prime residential building with 72 apartments situated within the location of the BB Centrum. We are pleased that there is a residential project ahead of us after all the administrative buildings. There is still significant demand for quality housing in the market and the lack of apartments in Prague has been a long-standing topic. I am also glad that we managed to fulfil our vision of the BB Centrum as not only a commercial complex as we also continue developing its other functions. During next year, we are planning the commencement of the development of the project Nové Roztyly, which is situated within the immediate vicinity of the Roztyly underground station and within the neighbourhood of Krčský Forest and which has been planned and anticipated for a long time. This area of an unutilized brownfield has been awaiting its premier for some time now. In future, there will be a new district with excellent transport access and with a broad scale of various functions such as housing, offices, shops, services and other civic amenities, including a nursery school and various sports grounds. After all, we have already managed to cultivate the four-hectare park with natural sports grounds, which now serves the general public. In the summer, we organised free of charge yoga lessons and early-evening runs through Krčský Forest.
What would you now recommend as the best offer from amongst your projects?
I firmly believe that all our projects may be included within the highest category from within a particular segment but the imaginary icing on the cake would be administrative premises, which are available within one of our iconic buildings – in Filadelfie. Since its completion in 2010, it was always nearly fully leased so opportunities for new tenants were limited. It hasn’t lost its exceptionality over the years and still offers exclusive and representative premises. The timeless architecture creates, in connection with amazing views, a unique combination. Moreover, we also decided to carry out an extensive facelift lobby for the main reception, which will now offer a pleasant environment in compliance with the latest design trends, including various types of seating and secluded places for meetings and gatherings.