Alinso Group is an international investor and developer in real estate, focused mainly on business parks, industrial and offices, as well as design, build and management services. They have been present in Romania since 2008 and operate one of the the largest business park in SEE near Ploiesti.
It was a lucky twist of fate that brought Alinso into Romania over a decade ago, how did it pan out for you over the years and what are your plans for PWP Bucharest North Business Park and beyond?
We are part of a larger investment group of which real estate is one division. During 2008 we had an opportunity to invest in Romania just on the precipice of the financial crisis. In total a business park of over 300 ha of land has been acquired of which over 200 ha has been developed. The project is very versatile and includes multiple zones, from logistics to build-to-suit buildings or multi-tenant areas specially designed for SMEs. PWP Bucharest North near Ploiesti is one of the biggest business parks in SEE. What is my vision? I think it is key to remain agile, clients appreciate it when we can adapt and deliver, now more than ever. For example, we keep a close cooperation with them during the design of the building to make sure the premise aligns with their needs.
Why choose Ploiesti, what are some of the area’s specificities?
It is an ideal location close to Bucharest (60 km). It is well connected infrastructure wise and a good spot to serve the domestic market from – around the wider Bucharest metropolitan area alone there are around 4 million people. Ploiesti also has a significant industry presence, from oil & gas to manufacturing and various services, and a fantastic talent pool thanks to the local university.
Culturally speaking Belgium and Romania fit in pretty well in fact, so for us it was a good match and I like the locals’ “work hard, play hard” attitude. Being in Romania for so long we really got to notice the country’s business potential first hand (it is not always obvious from the outside) and decided to keep investing here in a new project that we will announce soon.
How has the covid-19 pandemic affected your operations at PWP Bucharest North and have you noticed a shift in demand from your tenants?
Thanks to the covid-19 pandemic logistics and tech went up and most other industries kept stable. Infrastructure remains the one major challenge, but other than that things have been moving forward. The population makes a huge difference, as the second largest domestic market in CEE, but also one that is seeing a growing number of entrepreneurs and business owners. On the whole we are confident that demand for industrial will continue to grow in Romania, no doubt about it.
You are not shying away from the office segment either, despite the very turbulent time it is going through at the moment?
While working habits have changed, maybe forever, there is a consensus that businesses and people absolutely need a shared working environment, to exchange ideas and just be able to work in a team. Net office demand per sqm will not decrease because the pandemic made it clear that the office of the future needs to allow people to distance in a safe manner, we are talking about the need for a revamping. And yes, we are certainly eyeing opportunities in this area, perhaps in mixed use spaces.
What are you prioritizing for the next two to three years?
We are here to stay in Romania. Currently we are actively hiring and handpicking qualified people, I think this is the number one priority for any successful business. We have abundant ambition and want people who can match that. In terms of projects, we are excited about the one we are planning to launch. Mixed use projects, as well as expanding our industrial footprint are also on the cards. And make no mistake, the opportunity here is immense – we encourage other foreign investors to come and have a look around.
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