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The focus shift to technology in real estate has already happened – Mihai Paduroiu, One United Properties

Mihai Paduroiu is the CEO Office Division at One United Properties SA. Before joining one of the most important real estate developers, Mihai has worked together with CBRE. With over 13 years of experience in real estate and various successful important transactions for big clients, Mihai represents one of the thought leaders we wanted to interview and get his perspective on the future.

Highlights:

  • New real estate projects already focus on becoming social hubs and clubs
  • The process of office space leasing is changing and it involves more and more technology
  • Mix real estate projects gain more power
From office spaces to social hubs

Given the current context, more and more stakeholders have started talking about a change in the purpose of office spaces. They might need to readapt and take into consideration not only safety measures, but also the increasing need of socializing driven by work from home.

The office space market is transforming, it is adapting to the new security and hygiene norms. New emerging projects create working environments that will allow employees to perform in a new format, that of a hub & club”, says Mihai.

The future of office space leasing

The process of leasing changes for some tenants, developers and agents who choose  more digitized, tech approaches. And this is not something new: ”Even before the pandemics, things had changed in the leasing process. Developers had stopped printing generous amounts of brochures. Their focus shifted toward electronic presentations, websites and video materials. New technologies will gain power especially now, and those who are early adopters of PropTech will win a major competitive advantage.

What do tenants need?

This new context brings new challenges and new requests from the tenants, who might want different layouts, re-negotiate the leased surfaces or adjust their budgets.

Spaces are redesigned, there are less meeting rooms and a bigger surface dedicated to each employee in order to follow distancing recommendations.

We don’t think that there are going to be very big consolidated offices. Instead, we will go back to a network of offices developed in various areas of the city or even at a national level.

Regarding the way we work, probably the next step will be represented by the strategy of working in the proximity of one’s home and mix projects, such as One Floreasca City, One Cotroceni Park or One Verdi Park will be the winning strategy.

On Tech & PropTech

Mihai thinks that the main solutions that will play a vital role in real estate are virtual reality, augmented reality and RPAs. “At One United, we have already introduced tech solutions such as VR and real time 3D space planning”, he adds.

Regarding PropTech, he thinks that we are just at the dawn of the industry. “Bucharest is a tech hub, it’s the birthplace of UiPath, the first decacorn in Europe. I think that there are many opportunities for PropTech and that we are going to witness an accentuated growth in the following years”.

Investments and innovation

When talking about investments and the local real estate market, Mihai likes to go back to the 2008-2009 crisis: “After the financial crisis that happened 10 years ago, we saw new developments on the local real estate market. Local players and international companies invested in new projects, that increased the level of quality through architecture, facilities, eco building technologies etc.

Regarding One United Properties, the company has initially become known on the residential market. Afterwards, it entered the office segment, with the goal of innovating classic developments through mixt projects, built following a certain standard, with multiple functions and integrated facilities. 

One Cotroceni Park is probably the most eloquent example: on 5,8 ha, unused for the past two decades, the company develops a mix complex with a business park, a retail area (coffee shops, restaurant, super-market, flower shop etc.), 8 apartment blocks, a gym, green and relaxation areas, thus giving back the city an abandoned area.

Coming back to work

This is a hot topic for everyone. How will we come back to office? Is it going to happen or is work from home the new trend? For those who return, what changes?

The One United team came back after the new relaxation measures set in May. We follow all the recommended measures while still having meetings and negotiations with clients who are interested in our projects.” Mihai added.

Conclusions

The current context and the forever dynamic requests of tenants change the real estate market for good. Probably only by being agile, involving technology and answering to those needs – such as One did with One Cotroceni Park, strong players will be able to survive and continue to innovate and revolutionize the industry.

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