Bucharest – skyline transformation by 2025: “The recipe for the post crisis future? Let’s build it”
“We consider the construction sector should assume on a long-term – not only erecting buildings, but changing the visual identity of the city”, Radu Pițurlea, Concelex Principal.
Interview published in an exclusive, investment destination – oriented, market tour: “Bucharest – the skyline transformation by 2025”
How would you define now the strengths and expertise of Concelex, which were the milestones achieved in the recent years?
One of Concelex’s key differentiators stays in the company’s service portfolio itself. We provide fully integrated construction services – buildings, infrastructure, energy and civil engineering , being one of the few companies on the market to cover the entire construction spectrum. This asset exposes ourselves to a large variety of projects, clients, as well as to confirmed expertise on a wide range of works. Furthermore, we strongly believe our construction know-how should be backed by a sustainable strategy. Thus, Concelex is the first and only carbon-neutral general contractor from Romania. In the recent years, the company focused on diversifying its customer portfolio and increasing the number of tenders in order to neutralize market inconsistency on certain sectors, this leading us also to notable milestones. In the energy field, Concelex built the only hyperbolic 60-meter high cooling tower in Romania, the first to be newly-built in the past 30 years for a thermoelectric power plant. The company records modernization works worth approximately 33 MEUR for various educational institutions in several districts of Bucharest and other cities in Romania etc., being part of the construction consortium to build from scratch Steaua and Rapid Stadiums in Bucharest (+45,000 capacity), building up 32 of the overall 85 Billa hypermarket network in Romania, conducting highly sensitive works for the nuclear sector, presently having NuclearElectrica, the Romanian nuclear national company, as partner and client.
From the previous track record of projects and pipeline, how do you feel the perspectives of the real estate market in Romania?
From the constructor’s perspective, H1 2020 was a challenge for the company and for the entire sector, having to adapt to the restrictive conditions both on construction sites and at the headquarters. Some clients have reduced their investment budgets, this leading us participating to several tenders in order to compensate market downgrade on some sectors. However, we should only consider the emergency period as a sensitive one. Currently, the industry is proceeding normally and, considering recent figures, Romania ranks first amongst EU countries in terms of sector growth, with a +17,3% sector progress on a Y-O-Y comparison. The real estate market recently experienced more of a repositioning than a downgrade if evaluating its current performance. Furthermore, next to the IT sector, the construction field stands amongst the sole sectors to contribute to Romania’s GDP and economic growth. Figures show a +4% GDP sector contribution and +0,8% to economic growth in Q1 2020. 2021 should continue the positive track record analyzing the economic recovery and development plans, including transport, military and energy works, as well as buildings.
After the major challenges brought by the year 2020, how do you plan to convert business opportunities in the near future, what is on the radar for 2021?
In the short-term future, Concelex plans to increase the company’s digitalization level, to invest in the employees’ professional development in order to be able to approach even higher complexity works. Also, considering the upcoming large-scale infrastructure projects, we approach opportunities strategically, being fully prepared to enter major development works. Furthermore, in light of recent memorandums and protocols with our strategic partners like the US or France in the defense and energy fields, we, as a leading Romanian general contractor, express our availability for creating construction consortiums with the right partners in order to build major projects. In addition to this, with an already contracted value for the 2020 – 2024 period reaching close to 295 MEUR, outlooks for the business seem promising.
Buildings around the world have also iconic roles in their cities, from this perspective, to what major projects did Concelex contribute lately and which factors will influence the continuous transformation of the capital’s skyline in the next years?
We are directly and actively involved in reviving two of the iconic football premises in Bucharest – Steaua and Rapid Stadiums -, with an overall capacity of +45,000 people. In addition to this, we can consider ourselves one of the pioneering companies to start the development of central-western part of Bucharest. Concelex built Orhideea Gardens compound when few, if none, real estate developments established in this area. In addition to this, besides the projects in Romania, we are constantly extending our activity abroad, with ongoing works in Germany (including the Orthodox Cathedral in Munich) and Austria. Regarding the ceaseless development of the construction and real estate sector, economic and political stability stand as main factors to encourage constant and consistent private investments for projects able to change the face of the city. To these, we could also add investments in infrastructure that are able to positively boost progress.
Facing the challenges raised by new regulations, technologies, patterns of work, economic models, what role can we assign to the construction sector?
There is a say – ” Scientists dream about doing great things. Engineers do them”. To Concelex, this is the mission we consider the construction sector should assume on a long-term – not only erecting buildings, but changing the visual identity of the city. Our largest challenge is related to industry’s development and we intend to be actively involved so that construction companies become more blue chip. The local sector is still quite young and blooming and one of our objectives is turning it into a stable, mature, reliable industry. Last, but not least, considering the contribution of the construction sector to Romania’s GDP, we certainly hope for this trend to continue.