The Mint Group is known for its activities mainly from Prague. Now you have decided to implement a new residential project in Slovakia, respectively. Bratislava market. In your opinion, is our market attractive enough for investors and developers?
We have been active in the Slovak market for a long time, since 2006, specifically in the residential and retail segments. We are known for our projects such as Jégeho Alej in Bratislava or the Laugaricio shopping center in Trenčín. Today, the residential market is very dynamic and promising. It is interesting for investors and also interesting for demand from buyers. It is supported by solid banking partners and very professional construction companies. We, therefore, perceive the Slovak real estate market as highly attractive for our projects.
What specifics do you think Bratislava has? When you compare Bratislava with Prague, what do you think is different?
Compared to the Czech capital, Bratislava is different in four areas. Bratislava does not have a metro and all traffic goes on the surface. Furthermore, Bratislava has a city circuit run directly through the city center. It should not be forgotten that during the Second World War, today's center was bombed. For example, these are also places where a new downtown is being built. Finally, the Danube in Bratislava is significantly wider than the Vltava in Prague, while the Danube has a stronger current and is a particularly important urban element. If I look at both cities, then Bratislava is not afraid of modern architecture, it is bolder and thus very attractive for developers.
The location of the emerging downtown has the ambition to become the new center of the capital. How will Metropolis complement existing projects or how will it be unique and exceptional compared to them?
Metropolis is a tall building with modern architecture that will fit exactly into the urbanism of the emerging downtown. It will certainly complement the location, which so far had mainly office and retail development. But now it needs the residential capacity to function in the long run as a new city center for living. Our architectural partner, City Work Architects, was able to combine the iconic architecture of the project with an effective mix of different apartment layouts that completely met our expectations. We are excited about the work of Mr. Sonlajtner's team, which not only fulfilled our commercial assignment but also managed to design a house on a complicated plot of land, which its inhabitants will be proud of in the future.
When did you buy the project and how long did it take you to prepare it for the final form?
I have been managerial in this project since 2009 when we bought a plot of land for an American investor. As we have not been able to agree with several institutions or companies on implementation for more than eight years, the fund sold the land in 2017. That's when our company bought it and we started preparing the project as we know it today. Our advantage is that the architect of Metropolis is my long-term friend and he has my great trust. When I saw his sketches, while meeting all the economic and visual requirements, we set about processing the necessary permits. We are currently in the phase of selecting a supplier construction company and in the spring of this year, we will start the construction itself.
You also implement projects abroad, so you can certainly compare the cooperation with institutions in processing individual permits and documentation. How did you communicate with the Slovak authorities?
We had only good and positive experiences with the city and state authorities that dealt with our project. They certainly acted within the possibilities imposed by the individual processes. Officials were always constructive and, unlike other places or our experience from abroad, they did not play the role of architects and did not want to change the solution we proposed. They devoted themselves professionally to their work.
Which architectural office works with you to create Metropolis and why did you choose them?
We chose the City Work office, which is run by Juraj Sonlajtner, ten years ago on the basis of their experience in residential projects and at the same time on the basis of a proposal they submitted. It was important for us that Mr. Sonlajtner is not only an architect but also approached our Metropolis project empathetically. We could not start the project earlier, because the site underwent a complete change in the strategic zoning plan of the zone and the stabilization plan was approved only in 2018.
The residential project on Bottova Street has been talked about for a long time, you presented the proposal to the public in 2017. Metropolis will have two multifunctional towers, while the upper one will have 18 floors and the lower one 16 floors. Who are you aiming for with their offer, who do you think should be interested in this project?
Our project is aimed at modern, dynamic people and families who want to live in the center of Bratislava's business. We try to attract the attention of those who know how to evaluate quality from an aesthetic as well as a functional point of view and do not want to experience traffic jams every morning or in the afternoon. They want to live a quality life. It is important to remember that good architecture has a demonstrably positive effect on the stressful standard of people's lives.
How many people are currently working on the Metropolis project?
Six people work on the project internally for us. To this must be added a team of great architects as well as designers from the company Helika and technical supervision, which in turn is performed by the company Arcadis. In terms of marketing, our project is covered by a team from the advertising agency ANFAS in cooperation with HERRYS, which also covers the sale of the project. In this real estate agency, seven people are dedicated to our project.
You launched a pre-sale during the second wave of the pandemic. Do you think that this project will withstand the current crisis? Do you see the pandemic as a threat or an opportunity?
The pandemic has allowed people to think about important aspects of their lives as well as what is appropriate and good to invest in. And so it is no surprise to us that the prices of good residential real estate are still rising even during a pandemic. This is also because we will continue to witness work from home worldwide. Families had to learn to live together in the same household while dealing with an online school for children and parents' work. The same goes for young couples who have to work side by side in one apartment. In this new era, everyone wants to have such living conditions that they can live in mental health and, above all, well-being, and they are willing to invest adequately in their housing. That's why we decided to start selling right now during the pandemic, although it may seem illogical at first glance.
Prices of flats in Bratislava, especially in this locality are growing. Where do you see the price level of projects in this location, especially Metropolis in three years?
We think that inflationary pressure will be faster than basic inflation in Slovakia in the new downhill market in the next three to five years. The natural rise in real estate prices will also correspond to this. Of course, we must also take into account the development of the pandemic. But also due to the fact that this location is territorially limited, we expect that prices will grow faster than in other locations in Bratislava.
How should the project be attractive to me as a buyer and why do you think I should invest in buying an apartment in Metropolis?
If you buy housing in Metropolis, you will definitely earn money in it in the medium and long term. It will be an iconic residential house in Bratislava, thanks to its architecture and quality. Thanks to the location, its inhabitants will enjoy not only a modern lifestyle but also a technical standard that will increase comfort to a world-class level. The apartments will include, for example, ceiling heating, ceiling cooling, recuperation in the highest quality design, a high standard of materials used, automatic and safe delivery boxes at the reception or chargers for electric cars in garages.
You will probably know the Metropolis project best. Would you recommend a purchase to your friend? Which apartment would you choose?
If I were in Bratislava, I would. I would definitely buy an apartment in Metropolis, I would not hesitate. Even one of our partners has already bought one at the full selling price, without a discount.
As a developer, you operate mainly in the neighboring Czech Republic. What projects are you behind there and can we consider any of them similar or complementary to your new Bratislava project Metropolis?
Over the last 15 years, our company Mint has been a co-investor and developer of approximately two thousand apartments in Prague and Bratislava. We are currently actively developing projects that will bring another thousand apartments to the market. If I had to choose a project with which I could compare Metropolis, it is definitely the Sacre Coeur project in Prague. It is located next to the Lesser Town and at one time was very successful in terms of sales as well as quality for its inhabitants.
Are you preparing other attractive projects in the Czech Republic or Slovakia that can become dominant with their architecture?
The residential projects we have in Prague are not as ambitious in architecture as Metropolis. But in both countries, we are still looking for land that is suitable for other interesting development projects. We are not a big financial group, so mathematics must work for us in new projects. We are negotiating in several projects in which we would like to invest.
In what, resp. how do you see the future of housing?
Housing is becoming an important part of people's lives because in the future we will spend less time in the office or at work and more at home. That is why we all have higher demands on housing, because we must also be able to work at home or our children must also learn at home. At the same time, as our purchasing power increases, we all want to live better, have the best technologies and our home should be as sustainable or ecological as possible. At the same time, our housing should be aesthetic, so that it can always inspire us. Architecture has a major impact on people's quality of life, and we are fully aware of this in our projects, including Metropolis.
Ako sa bude vyvíjať realitný trh v Bratislave v porovnaní napríklad s Prahou?
V Bratislave bude dolezite, kolkov nových bytov buduje Developeri schopní si nebol. Ďalším veľkým problémom v celý Europ, avšak nájmy v strednej Europe, je rastúci spevokol pracovníkovej v stavebníctve. Tím, že ŠÚ pracovníci stále starší, znižuje sa stavebným firmám kapacita. Jednoducho starších zamestnancove nestíhajú nahrádzať novými. Na trh bude v Najbližšie ROKOCH vplyvmi hľa legislatíva, na základe ktorej budem Developeri spolufinancovať rôzne stavby v okolí svojich ložísk projektov, napríklad cesty chodníky, či inu infraštruktúra pre obyvateľov. Je to logický krok, aby sa ai Developeri podieľali na rozvoji danej lokality. Ak totiž Ako developer staviame projekt, ktory má vplyv na život Ľudí v danú meste, musím prispieť ai ku skvalitneniu celkového prostredia pre obyvateľov.
Zdroj: // SME.SK