Cushman & Wakefield expands in Central & Eastern Europe with new Romanian office
17 Jan, 2007, Bucharest
Global real estate consultant Cushman & Wakefield has expanded its presence in the key emerging markets of Central & Eastern Europe to establish its own office in Romania, Central Europe's second biggest market after Poland.
The new office, Cushman & Wakefield ACTIV Consulting, follows the acquisition of ACTIV Consulting, which has been Cushman & Wakefield's Associate Office in Romania for the last 11 years. The office is led by Razvan Gheorghe, ACTIV's founder and General Manager, and offers a full range of services.
The announcement follows the entry of Romania into the European Union on 1 January 2007, in what was considered to be the country's most historic moment since the overthrow of communism in 1989.
Cushman & Wakefield is a pioneer in the markets of Central and Eastern Europe. The firm opened its first office in the region in 1991, in Poland, and now also has offices in Hungary and the Czech Republic (from where it covers the Slovakian market), while at the end of 2004 it acquired its associate office in Russia, where it now operates as Cushman & Wakefield Stiles & Riabokobylko.
With the addition of the 30-strong Romanian office, this now brings the total number of Cushman & Wakefield professionals working in the firm's wholly owned offices in this dynamic region to more than 400, with associate offices covering the remaining markets in Central & Eastern Europe.
Paul Bacon, Cushman & Wakefield's CEO says: "The emerging markets of Central & Eastern Europe are firmly in the expansion plans of our cross-border clients. Romania is a key country in the regional jigsaw, in particular given its new status as an EU member, a consumer market of 22 million and the fact that it is one of the fastest-growing economies in Europe. This is a prime time to open a Cushman & Wakefield office in Romania."
Razvan Gheorghe, Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield ACTIV Consulting, says: "Our acquisition by Cushman & Wakefield, the world's largest privately held real estate services firm, is part of the natural progression of our 11-year association. Our local knowledge and expertise offers a perfect complement for Cushman & Wakefield’s cross-border clients, both occupiers and investors."
The shopping centre market in Romania is particularly active. Cushman & Wakefield forecasts that around 515,000 sq m of new space will open in Romania in 2007. The country currently has one of the lowest provisions of shopping centre space in Europe, with the first shopping centre, Bucuresti Mall, not opening till 1999.
"Given the low provision of shopping centre space, membership of the EU and the 22-million consumer market, Romania presents a tremendous opportunity for international retailers and investors," says Razvan.
Cushman & Wakefield is currently advising on 25 retail schemes in Romania. Two of the main schemes include:
Cotroceni Park in Bucharest, a joint development by AFI Europe and NCH Real Estate. The scheme, with around 75,000 sq m of gross lettable area (GLA), is due to open in 2008.
European Retail Park, developed by Belgian-Romanian developer Belrom, in the city of Sibiu (the European Capital of Culture in 2007), and offering around 46,000 sq m of gross lettable area. The park opened at the end of 2006, with the main anchors being real,- hypermarket part of the Metro Group of Germany and Austrian DIY chain bauMax.
Last year, Romania showed the strongest yield compression of any country in Europe. Prime yields in Bucharest now stand at around 7.25 per cent for shopping centres and 7 per cent for office space. The office market has been buoyed by strong economic growth, forecast at 5.9 per cent this year, and a shortage of high-quality buildings in prime locations, which has led to pre-let agreements dominating the market.