Peđa Petronijević began his career as an engineer working on one of the biggest projects in Botswana, while today he is chief development officer and a management board member at real estate development company GTC. Speaking for CorD Magazine, he says that he’s motivated to contribute to the company’s further development in his new role, by leveraging his own versatile experience
The real estate market has been blooming for the past seven years and that trend will continue, says GTC’s newly appointed CDO, who insists that GTC will remain focused on office buildings, though with a greater emphasis on sustainability and ESG indicators.
Could you have even dreamt of such an impressive development path back when you were merely a student of mechanical engineering?
I’ve always been motivation-driven, since my college days. As a self-starter, I had enough courage and luck to kick off my professional career abroad, which steered me to where I am today.
It’s been a dynamic path – through different countries and the organisations with which I’ve worked – the key to which has always been to keep advancing. Even now, as CDO and a Management Board Member at GTC, I continue to progress, particularly when I’m motivated to contribute to the development of the company, by leveraging my own versatile experience.
During the 10 years that you served as the CEO of GTC Serbia, the company completed the construction of 10 business buildings in Belgrade. Are you proud of the way the city looks today, the credit for which belongs – among others – to you at GTC?
GTC is a pioneer of office construction in Belgrade. We’ve been shaping the business image of the city with our landmark projects for over a decade. We have a legacy in Belgrade, but now it’s time for changes.
We this year finalised the sale of 11 premium class office buildings in Belgrade, encompassing a total GLA of 122,175sqm, with high occupancy rates
This year we finalised the sale of 11 premium class office buildings in Belgrade, encompassing a total GLA [gross leasable area] of 122,175m2, with high occupancy rates. The sale price was €267.6 million, which was two million euros above the book value – representing one of the largest real estate transactions on the CEE market during the last five years. The sale of our Serbian portfolio couldn’t be timelier, as we are redefining our market strategy and advancing operations to be more sustainable and futureproof. Selling some of our assets and relocating the free cash flow for the development of brand new, ambitious projects in Serbia and other CEE markets was truly an “exit on a strong note”. Such a bold move allowed us to complete our development cycle in Serbia and start a fundamentally different chapter on this market. And I’m truly grateful to be part of that.
In your capacity as the newly appointed CDO, where do you see GTC in five and ten years? In which direction will the company develop?
As for the Group, there are three projects under construction: Pillar office in Budapest (29,000sqm); Sofia Tower 2 office (8,300 sqm), and GTC X in Belgrade (17,000 sqm). As of 31st December 2021, projects under construction comprise nearly five per cent of our total portfolio value. Another four office buildings and one residential project of 151,000sqm are ready to be launched within 24 months: Matrix C office in Zagreb (10,700sqm), Advance Business Centre 3 in Sofia (9,100 sqm), Centre Point 3 in Budapest (36,400 sqm), Napred in Belgrade, (72,000 sqm) and the Spatio residential project in Bucharest (23,100 sqm). Our rich commercial landbank designated for future development allows us to extend the planned projects in areas where there will be demand for commercial properties. I see our “new history” written in close cooperation with principal stakeholders – investors and tenants – their priorities, comfort and input becoming the compass to navigate GTC through any of tomorrow’s uncertainties.