In our new office projects, we are trying to secure additional amenities that will enhance the quality of the working environment and satisfy different needs, explains Aleksandar Miljković.
Your company is primarily known by everyone for the UŠĆE Shopping Centre. Have all of your other business premises also been constructed according to the highest world standards?
By following global trends, we want to make sure our properties are at the top of the regional offer, so we can proudly present them to partners coming from more matured markets. This year, Usce Shopping Centre celebrates its tenth anniversary and the industry has advanced in the meantime. The properties we are developing are meeting the highest European standards existing today and shifting the boundaries in Serbia. We always emphasise that Serbia is our home market, where we plan to stay for many years and don’t want to jeopardise the reputation we’ve built up over past 17 years at any cost. We strongly believe this market has a great potential and that the delay the region made towards Europe over last few decades can be catch up.
Apart from sustainability, functionality, high aesthetic criteria and an inspiring working environment, what else characterises the properties of the 21st century? What cannot be compromised on?
No compromise on quality. Apart from development, our business model envisages the long-term investment. In most of cases, the company holds assets and expects sustainable rental income on the long term. Putting aside all technical characteristics, quality assumes the offer a property provides to its users.
We are working on designing new properties for which we’ve already secured locations, but we are constantly monitoring the market and seeking the best opportunities
Next year will see you complete and open three grandiose properties: the business centres Ušće Tower Two and Navigator Business Centre 2, as well as the BEO Shopping Centre in Vojislava Ilić Street. What’s next?
The massive development cycle we launched a few years ago, with three simultaneous construction sites, will finish next year when the assets will become operational. Nonetheless, this is not the end of our engagement. To enable the property to reach its full capacity, additional efforts have to be exerted over the coming years. Only thereafter we can be sure of the project entering its stable phase.
Our business model implies significant capital requirements that need to be engaged over the long run. It is associated with a number of different risks, and those coming from the macro environment that we cannot influence at all. We are one of the very few real estate platforms that successfully navigated through the crisis period of 2009 to 2014. Recent achievements confirm that the lesson was learned.
You’ve invested in more than 30 projects to date. What are your plans for the coming years? Are you set to conquer the region?
In 2007/2008, together with Merrill Lynch, which was our partner at that time, we made several attempts to expand beyond our home market. Unfortunately, the crises blocked our plans and we we had to put regional expansion on hold. We are currently directing our radar towards the region and considering potential opportunities. One arm of our group, dealing primarily with property management, is already present on some neighbouring markets.