CEDER 2023 in review: Return to office
Tudor Popp, Managing Partner at Hotspot: “The whole concept of the office has changed. [...] It’s all about the experience.”
Given that companies are rethinking their strategies for bringing people back to the office, with many having decentralized the enforcement of return-to-office to tiers 3 and 4 of their organization, CBRE pointed out in their market presentation at CEDER 2023 that there is an important need to create highly dedicated, specialized approaches to best support tenants to bring their people back to the office and cater to the needs and expectations of the employees.
Tudor Popp mentioned that in his opinion, return to office is much higher in modern offices characterized by flexibility. He believes companies need to make a bigger effort towards change. He reported being surprised “that all the driving force of office change comes [...] a lot from the developers. I would also challenge the companies. I think it should be a collaboration with people building and running office spaces to really create an experience.”
The experts on the office panel at CEDER were generally optimistic regarding the future of the office market in Romania, as well as the demand and occupancy of their assets, stressing the importance of a good location, good amenities, and proper servicing. At the same time, they acknowledged that there are challenges associated with an increased need to equip properties to fit the current market needs.
In this context, Geo Margescu, Founder & CEO of Forte Partners, said: “I really believe in newer buildings, in better buildings, and I think the tenants are really looking [...] for an experience coming to the office. [...] We have three buildings in our portfolio, and we have 100% occupancy, maybe 99%, with a quite healthy, let's say, structural vacancy.”
Doron Klein, CEO of AFI Europe Czech Republic & Romania concluded the topic by saying he believed that there is still a very strong need for offices. “Offices are here to stay. The companies want to bring their team to the office. Maybe to a different structure, sure. Maybe to a different environment, sure. [...] It's on us as a developer, the long-term investor, to create those conditions.”