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Mia Zečević, CEO, Novaston

Business Premises Don’t Lose Value

Novaston Asset Management is an exclusive leasing and sales representative for business premises that adhere to the latest trends in construction and interior design while applying green building standards, but also COVID-19 preventive elements

Despite many companies still working from home, the need exists for attractive business premises that satisfy the conditions imposed by the pandemic, which is why investors are increasingly opting to construct buildings that are “safe for work”.

Did the pandemic and shift to working from home impact on the development of business facilities?

All large construction sites remained active throughout 2020, during which several significant projects were finalized, i.e., business facilities such as Ušće 2, Navigator 2 and the final building within the scope of the Green Heart complex. On the other hand, demand isn’t diminishing either, so ever more buildings are being constructed that imply options for distancing, flexible workspaces, inflows of fresh air in conference rooms, contactless door opening, digitalization etc. We are currently working with large companies on developing these kinds of business facilities. One of them is the “Revolution” business space, with a gross surface area of c. 10,000m2, which is being built by Granit Invest. We are the exclusive leasing agent for this business space, and are also partnering companies Schneider Electric and Novkabel on the development of the latest business and logistics center in Novi Sad. The first project will be to reconstruct the industrial production hall of the former Novkabel factory into a high-tech facility covering a gross surface area of c. 17,000m2, which is expected to open in 2022.

To what extent has the pandemic impacted on the operations of retail parks and shopping malls, and the retail sector generally?

Following the outbreak of the pandemic, retail parks, which are better known in our country as outdoor shopping malls, continued operating for the majority of the time, so this concept proved itself to be very resilient and good for doing business under altered conditions. Following the easing of preventative measures, there was great interest in visiting shopping malls and retail parks. In June of last year, the new BEO Shopping Centre opened in Zvezdara [Belgrade], on an area of 130,000 square meters. Then, at the end of October, the region’s largest shopping mall, Galerija Beograd, opened on an area of 300,000 square meters.

We’re also continuing our expansion in the region, primarily in Croatia, and our plans include significant projects in the tourism sector

Novaston Platform recently participated as the exclusive support agent in the process of selling two retail facilities: NEPI Rockcastle and BIG CEE, working as a specialized associate for the entire process, which is expected to be concluded in July. A real estate sales contract, worth a total contracted value of 61 million euros, was signed in June for the retail facilities of Kragujevac Plaza Shopping Centre and Kruševac Retail Park.

What are your further plans?

Viewed strategically, our goal for the period ahead is to further expand our operations when it comes to the business space and logistics sectors. We have successfully continued cooperating with almost all the top investors in the market, such as IMMOFINANZ, NEPI Rockcastle, GTC and Ikea Serbia, but we’ve also established cooperation with large companies like Schneider Electric, MK Group, Aleksandar Gradnja and Novkabel.

We’re also continuing our expansion in the region, primarily in Croatia, and our plans include significant projects in the tourism sector. We are part of the Petram Resort & Residences residentialtourism project, which is located in the northwestern section of the Istrian peninsula and offers more than 250 luxury properties for residential or vacation home purposes, encompassing a gross area of approximately 100,000m2. This is the largest project of its kind in Croatia.

Our plans also include several projects in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and on the territory of Kosovo.

By Richard Wike, Jackob Poushter, Laura Silver, Janell Fetterolf And Mara Mordecal

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