Nusco Imobiliara is a family owned real estate developer that erected Nusco Tower, the first office building in Bucharest’s Northern region, and is currently focused on the residential segment with projects such as Citta’ Residential Park, or Nusco City, the latest one under development in Pipera-Aviatiei.
It looks like Nusco brought you to Romania, where you have already spent many years of your life – what has this journey been like?
I initially crossed paths with the Nusco group in Italy, where they occupy an important market segment in the wooden window and door manufacturing industry. We started working together in 2001 in order to further their business in Romania, where Nusco had already established a presence as a leading wood manufacturer under the Pinum brand, having first set foot here as early as 1981. After this successful start we thought it only natural to diversify into real estate, which is a complementary field. Personally it has been an incredible journey, I got to work with people I respect and to discover a new country, one with ambitious people who have this palpable appetite for life, and I have learned how to adapt to a new place and culture.
Citta’ Residential Park is one of your flagship projects, what made you switch to residential in 2015 after previously developing in the office space?
We started out with Nusco Tower (23,000 sqm class A office), the first of its kind in Aurel Vlaicu, and then wanted to move right into residential, however the financial crisis of 2008 left its mark so that got postponed until 2015. Office is a segment that belongs to large scale developers and investment funds, instead we saw the potential that residential had in store for us, and it was a winning bet. Citta’ comprises 480 apartments in Pantelimon, including spacious communal areas, green spaces and designated parking. At the end of July we are delivering the final 94 flats (3th phase). Premio followed, which is a top class 30 flat boutique residence in central Bucharest. At this point we are a known brand in residential, people know what to expect, and we want to encourage a higher quality of life with what we offer. People warned us that Citta’, stood out for quality in the area , and for that moment in time, however it turns out that there is real demand for a higher standard of living.
This actually brings us to a very exciting project we are working on currently, called Nusco City and being developed on a former industrial platform in Pipera. We will deliver 620 apartments for which we already have all permitting in place, 310 this year and the rest by the end of 2022. We kicked off the project mid pandemic in the summer of 2020 and already sold 60% of the flats, which beat even our optimistic forecasts.
Having been through a recent permitting process, how would you assess the smoothness of doing business in Romania’s real estate segment, and which areas do you find most challenging?
Any investor needs to work under a stable, transparent and predictable regulatory and fiscal framework, this cannot be emphasized enough. We were lucky with our permitting process, but lately there has been real chaos surrounding PUZ and PUG regulations in Bucharest. Many permitting regulations are old, incoherent, and out of sync. This can put off many potential investors and should be dealt with priority. After all, state and investor interests should be aligned, as this is what drives any economy forward. We wish to appeal to other developers and join them in a common voice to help bridge the communication gap with the authorities. This city deserves a well thought out urban development strategy, within which we can each play our part.
What does the future hold in store for Nusco, looking at the coming two-three years?
Our number one priority is Nusco City, which is a substantial project, however we are constantly on the lookout for viable new projects and opportunities in Bucharest, which is our geography of focus. We are also open to partnerships with landowners who are looking to sell or develop projects – having the right plot is crucial, but so is knowing how to make the best of it and knowing how to develop the right real estate for it. Sure, real estate development belongs to those who have the money – but (un)fortunately it takes a lot more than that to be successful, it takes skill which only comes in time.
As a foreign investor yourself, what is your message to other potential investors eyeing Romania’s residential real estate market?
I have an overall optimistic outlook. The economy has grown, and with it people’s spending power. Romanians carry optimism and hope in their hearts, which make them forward looking. On the other hand, banks are also offering sustainable mortgages, allowing people to follow their dream of buying bigger, brighter lodgings. Old is not necessarily bad, we have many old buildings in Italy where people seem to want to keep living, however it is a reality that many of Romania’s old housing blocks are in need of an upgrade, and more and more people are asking for just that.
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