Last year around 50 large-scale residential projects were launched in Romania, including at least 100-200 apartments, but projects exceeding 1,000 units are also on the market. This year, however, the number of huge residential projects launched will drop to 20, owing to the market conditions.
By Razvan Zamfir
The estimate comes from real estate company Imoteca, which blames the new bank tax, the rule limiting credit debt to 40 percent of earnings, and slightly weaker demand.
The first large-scale projects developed in the capital targeted both the mass market segments (in western, southern and eastern neighborhoods of the city) and the middle market (in the north).
The biggest project whose construction is ongoing in Bucharest is Militari Residence, which features 5,000 apartments and is located on the western outskirts of Bucharest. In Stefanestii de Jos, Turkish investors from Opus Land are building 3,000 apartments as part of Cosmopolis, a EUR 300 million investment to date.
Palladium Residence is being developed by Jacob Gardens in the Titan neighborhood. This project, in the east of the city, will have a total of 2,500 flats.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Murad, the owner of the hotel chain Phoenicia, is building Onix Park, a residential complex of 2,000 apartments, while businessman Gabriel Popoviciu, one of the owners of the Baneasa commercial project in northern Bucharest, also has a large complex under construction here, Belvedere Residences, which will contain a total of 1,500 homes.
Less common are projects above mid-range, like the 800-unit Arcadia Apartments, developed by Dan Sucu of Mobexpert and Sorin Visoiu of Conarg in the Domenii area, in the north of the city, with an investment of EUR 100 million, and the 630-apartment Luxuria launched by Impact.
“It’s the first project we’ve developed for this type of audience. At the end of last year, we were very pleased to find that our projections were correct: nearly 50 percent of the first phase apartments were already contracted by both investors and end-users,” said Impact CEO Bogdan Oslobeanu.
The Luxuria residential project is located in the vicinity of the future office floor of the Expozitiei Boulevard, where 17,000 employees will be relocated from large companies, so it has a solid base of potential customers.
Also in the northern area, one of the largest residential complexes in Bucharest announced last year is H Pipera Lake, with 1,350 apartments, an investment of over EUR 90 million for the developer.
And in recent years, the western area of the capital has attracted large-scale investments in residential projects with hundreds or thousands of dwellings each. Pedro Company Constructexim, controlled by businessman Petre Niculae, is developing 1,500 apartments in the 21st Politehnica Residence near the Cora Lujerului hypermarket.
And the same developer is building another Plaza Residence, which will have 743 dwellings, near the Plaza Romania mall.
In the same area, just across the street from Plaza Romania shopping center, Spanish developer Gran Via is building an ambitious project, Gran Via Park, which will have a total of 1,100 homes. Elsewhere, nearly three years ago the Eskiocak family of Turkey began to build a residential project that will total 1,300 homes. Rotar Park Residence is sited on the former Turbomecanica industrial platform in the west of the capital, near the Peace Metro Station. And in the Drumul Taberei district a residential project of 1,300 dwellings, Moghioroş Park Residence is being developed by Hassanain Mohamed and Saddiq Omar Abu Seedo.
In the near future, other large-scale residential projects will get underway, including AFI City, the first residential project on the local market from the Israeli group AFI, which will feature about 2,000 homes. Meanwhile, businessman Cristian Erbasu, who owns Erbasu Constructions, is joining forces with the entrepreneur Daniel Piturlea, the owner of constructor Concelex, for a residential complex of 1,000 homes in Mogosoaia, Arbo Residence.
Worthy of a special mention is Win Herastrau, developed by Cristi Pascu, with 252 apartments and a market value at delivery, in 2010, of EUR 60 million.
The complex will boast facilities such as two fitness centers, a private events space, integrated shopping area and underground car park including car wash. It will include pedestrian areas connecting the green areas and the neighboring park.
By the end of last year, Win Herastrau had sold around 30 apartments.
Aviatiei Park of Forte Partners has received construction approval for its first phase and will begin its construction in the summer of last year. The project includes four buildings and will be delivered in two stages. The first phase includes two blocks, 176 apartments and studios, to be completed within 18 months of the start of works. The other 176 units will be delivered in a second stage, just six months after the completion of the first phase.
Aviatiei Park will provide medium- to high-end housing in the north of the city. More than 50 percent of the project area will be green areas, and of the 15,000 sqm of land, only 3,700 sqm will be occupied by the footprint of the four buildings. “I chose to test the business formula I had in mind before moving on to a scale of development with hundreds of apartments. We have teamed up with the ADNBA design office and set up a new division, Forte Partners Residentials,” says Geo Margescu, founder and CEO of Forte Partners.
Forte Partners, which sold The Bridge office project to the Paval brothers of Dedeman for EUR 200 million last year, tested the residential market with three residential boutique projects: London 27, Calderon 80 and Suvenir 1.
And the residential market continues to grow, fuelled by investment inflows, albeit at a slower pace than expected. What pundits say remains to be seen is if demand will remain strong over the next 12 to 18 months.