On the background of the fast development of the centre-west zone (Semanatoarea-Orhideea-Politehnica) as a new office pole in Bucharest, Sema Parc SA, the company administrating Sema Industrial Park, started a new large project in the area, aiming to develop an integrated real estate construction, including office and retail spaces, as well as residential.
We talked with Cristina Norocel, Marketing Specialist within Sema Parc, about the office market trends in the area, the relationship between the tenant and the owner, as well as about the company’s current and future projects.
You may find this conversation in the interview below.
How would you describe Sema Industrial Park in relevant figures and features?
SEMA PARC is situated in the western Bucharest, in the 6th sector, on 319 Splaiul Independentei St., less than 10 minutes from the city centre.
The park’s location allows very easy access towards several transportation channels, being situated in the close vicinity of the metro station Petrache Poenaru (former Semanatoarea) and of the light rail line No. 41, factors which could significantly reduce the costs with employees’ transportation.
The park also offers immediate access to a large number of European and national roads, the A1 Bucharest-Pitesti highway being situated at 3.5 km distance. Moreover, the industrial park is situated 16 km from Henri Coanda International Airport and 60km from the River Port Giurgiu.
Currently, the land area owned/managed is 33.5 ha, with nearly 80,000 sq. m ground built area.
The office spaces offer areas between 100 and 1,500 sq. m. all benefiting from fully renovated and equipped toilets, carpeted or wood flooring, PVC joinery with double glazing, heating plants, air conditioning. The services provided include water, sewage, garbage removal, fire protection systems, security, snow removal, exterior lightning and cleaning services, green area maintenance etc.
Moreover, upon request, our company could also provide other services such as interior cleaning, fit-out works, security, telephone services etc. We are providing parking places for each rented space.
The park also offers storage and production facilities with areas between 200 and 5,000 sq. m. The utilities provided (individually metered) include electricity 220/380V, gas, water and sewage, heating, height between 5 and 10 m, large vehicles access. Sema Parc also rents a concrete platform, which could be used for outdoor storage, parking, sport fields etc.
The park hosts restaurants, stores, sport clubs (snooker, mini-football, dance, table tennis).
What makes in your opinion, at the current market situation, the difference between a successful office project and a less fortunate one?
In our opinion, the most attractive areas for new developments are the North and West part of Bucharest. Because of infrastructure usage level and work force vicinity, the West part of the city has an advantage for medium term developments. The „office rush” will push new projects in the market but, I believe that not all of these projects will be successful. The main criteria which will decide the level of success are: rent level, quality of the product (mostly the interior facilities, such as HVAC and lightning) and access/infrastructure availability.
From your experience, how important is for your office tenants the proximity of available warehouse spaces?
There are companies whose activity, apart the offices, also needs a storage area or even a production facility. Our park includes several companies with such a profile and time proved that insuring such a mix, offices-warehouses, gives us the possibility to sign leases on longer periods and gives us stability in keeping a high occupancy rate.
Time also proved that separating the two activities, the office and the warehouses, in different spaces from different areas, is not beneficial from a number of points of view, including the additional costs, a certain discomfort regarding information exchange etc.
We registered an increasing number of requests from companies aiming to consolidate the two activities in the same building if possible, or relocation to business centres such as the industrial parks, which could satisfy these requests.
The industrial park is an efficient and attractive economic development hub, as the companies present here benefit from the advantages of the infrastructure, the accessibility of all utilities, the option of direct collaboration between the companies present on the platform and especially the exploitation costs reduction due to the multitude of the additional services offered.
What is the profile of your project’s tenants?
SEMA PARC is a successful combination of a city logistic platform and Business Park. Shaping the master plan of this platform is a long term development project. The progress of completing the master plan is connected both with the market needs and financial situation. Considering the neighbourhood of the Bucharest Polytechnic University and its campus as well as the benefits of a very good transport infrastructure, the most suitable tenants are the IT companies, BPOs, Shared Service Centers and Call Centers. Along with this, we structure our products that way to fit with this segment of the market.
You have recently announced your Sema New Project integrated real estate development, including offices, retail and residential, with nearly EUR 10 million investments only for the first phase. What are the main features of the project and when it will be delivered on the market?
SEMA PARC NEW PROJECT is a mixed development project, targeting both the business segment and the retail, structured on three addressability levels: A class office buildings complex, retail and leisure, within a „shopping village” and premium apartments within a residential complex.
Considering the current opportunities on the real estate market, SEMA PARC Group started the reconversion of an existing structure to office spaces.
The Sema Parc Office 3 project includes the B Building with GF+1, with 14,000 sq. m built area, where each floor is divided in 3 partitions with areas between 1,700 and 2,100 sq. m, currently in construction, to be delivered in June 2016 and the A Building with GF+1+2 partially, 28,000 sq. m built area.
Both buildings in Sema Parc Office 3 are designed in order to be adapted considering the tenant’s needs and have maximum flexibility by usage of a VRF Mitsubishi ventilation system with three pipes, working only on electricity, without gas and therefore without emission of harmful gases, with heat recovery. It is a new and very flexible system, allowing simultaneous cold and warm air intake, so smaller areas of users could set the temperature as they like, independently from the rest of the space. The unused heat is recovered and reused in the system.
The thermal transfer coefficient of the glass surface is 1.1, which insures a very good insulation.
The project is in process of acquiring BREEAM green certification.
The centre-west area of Bucharest, where your projects are, is quickly becoming one of the most important business districts, with several office projects announced in a short period of time. What is your strategy for attracting tenants?
SEMA PARC bases its development strategy mainly on insuring quality services in order to satisfy its clients. Apart the sales and marketing strategy, which can be different from one organization to another, an important component is represented by the quality of services provided to current or future tenants of the park, as well as the quality of the spaces where they will be functioning.
The park’s geographical position is another important component. As stated above, SEMA PARC industrial park is situated less than ten minutes from the metro station Petrache Poenaru (former Semanatoarea) and from the light rail line No. 41, factors which could significantly reduce the costs with the employees’ transportation.
In conclusion, we need to build a partnership and be close to the client, understand its needs, so we created a special client service taking over all clients requests, so we have the possibility of a direct communication.
Our goals are the constant improvement of the quality of all services offered to tenants in Sema Parc, continuing investments in infrastructure, in arranging and repair of internal roads, in buildings’ renovation, in order to increase the comfort and satisfaction of the tenants.
Moreover, we pay particular attention to exterior cleaning and landscape, to house rules respect and to providing quality utilities at lowest cost to our tenants.
Regarding the available spaces, we are constantly adapting to the market requirements, through refurbishments and partitioning, in order to further increase our occupancy rate, by offering rental incentives such as discounts and fit-outs according to potential tenants’ needs.
We are constantly intensifying our park’s promoting efforts and aim the maintaining of a very good image for potential clients and brokers. Although Sema Parc is already a brand enjoying a large notoriety, starting this year we wish to consolidate our market position as one of the most important brands active on the industrial parks segment.
We have a tight collaboration with the real estate agencies in Bucharest and not only, but we wish starting this year to create a mentality change, so they become some of the largest promoters of our services, a change which will for sure occur through our future PR and marketing activities, as well as through our partnerships with different institutions.
How do you see the evolution of the Romanian office market? How do you think the office request will further impact on the office development?
The situation of the office segment has significantly improved compared to the previous years and growth of the office rental and pre-rental requests were registered, which lead to a positive sign for developers and investors.
The starting of new real estate projects show that the future evolution will be positive, and the relocation transactions represent a significant share in the market, the tenants trying to improve their occupancy.
Considering the real estate activity which was quite limited in the period between 2010 and 2012 and even 2013, leading to a diminish of options of the tenants for larger areas occupancy, now the situation changed positively, as possibilities were created for signing pre-rentals for large areas and longer periods.
According to the National Institute of Statistics, the real estate market registered last year significant growth and the volume of construction works increased in 2015 with 10.4 pct. compared to the previous year.
2015 stood out through the large number of acquisitions, both on the industrial segment and office, and the total transactions volume reached, according to market information, nearly EUR 650 million.
What is in your opinion the relationship between the landlord and the tenant in Romania? Are tenants looking for long term commitment, investing willingly in such plans?
In our opinion the relationship between landlord and tenant should be based on trust, and the contractual clauses negotiated between parts should be respected. Unfortunately such a relationship could often bring tensions, especially when the negotiation is aiming only the level of rent and the other obligations are not carefully approached.
The landlord should pay attention to each tenant, so there should be a permanent communication between the two parts.
The image of a tenant also depends on the location of their activity, so thinking that after signing a contract the obligation of a landlord towards the tenants is a formal one is false.
There are also cases when the tenants consider that paying the rent and other charges represent the only obligations, omitting that such a partnership also involves a proper behaviour towards the other tenants, the landlord and the premises used.
We have been asked on many occasions “what we get for the rent except for the space?”. We consider this question to be fair and that the main concern of a landlord shouldn’t be only to deliver the space to the tenant, but to be involved in insuring all necessary services to the client, so that the client considers its working place as a second home, which mean comfort, intimacy and quality services.