We are a relatively young company engaged in the development, management, and maintenance of commercial and industrial real estate, spanning more than 560,000 sqm for more than 300 clients.
Marera Property Management is a real estate investment company engaged in the acquisition, development, rental and management of commercial properties. Although they are a young company, they have achieved success very early on. We talked with the company’s General Manager, Danilo Pušonja, about how the coronavirus pandemic affected the real estate market, but also the company’s results.
You were appointed General Manager of Marera Property Management late last year. How much has the COVID-induced crisis affected the sector in which you operate?
Despite the COVID crisis, the activity on the commercial real estate market has been stable throughout the last year, with an even more substantial growth potential this year. In particular, the investment volumes in Serbia in 2020 exceeded those in 2019. For the construction activity, 2020 has been the most active year thus far in terms of modern commercial real estate delivery. Last year was further marked by an unprecedented 100,000 sqm of new office spaces delivered to the Belgrade market, with the total stock now amounting to almost 1 million sqm. Moreover, we have witnessed an influx of new projects in the retail segment. Certainly, the industrial real estate segment is a commercial segment in Serbia that has flourished the most since the start of the COVID crisis. An additional 240,000 sqm was delivered to the market throughout 2020, with warehouses driving the development in Belgrade, and investors’ interest in manufacturing and logistics facilities continues to grow.
At Marera Property Management, last year was marked by rapid portfolio growth and operational success. We are a relatively young company engaged in the development, management, and maintenance of commercial and industrial real estate, spanning more than 560,000 sqm for more than 300 clients. The most renowned projects that we have developed, and are currently working on in the commercial real estate segment include the reconstruction of the Belgrade landmarks such as the Kalemegdan Business Centre, Palata Beograd (popularly known as Beogradjanka), and the BIGZ building.
“Our sister company, Marera Properties, is the fourth key player and the biggest office provider in the city centre”
Additionally, in August of last year, we acquired 70% of GP Nikolic, a construction company that specializes in structural engineering and has decades of experience in infrastructural, commercial, and residential projects. Less than a year later, in July 2021, we acquired the full ownership of this company and have integrated it into our group under the name Marera Construction, a new division that allows us to additionally solidify our market position and become the only company in Serbia that has a fully integrated 360-degree-platform for development and management of commercial properties.
How would you rate the real estate sector in the first half of 2021? Did it experience a shift compared to last year?
Currently, all market indicators are pointing to more positive developments. The investment volumes are expected to grow, and the industrial segment continues to forerun the biggest interest from investors. Regarding the office segment, it remains unsaturated in Belgrade, with the current office stock still being very limited. This is where we see a market opportunity, given that we have already positioned our sister company, Marera Properties, as the fourth key player and the biggest office provider in the city centre.
You have abundant experience working in the FMCG sector. What are the most important benefits you bring to the segment in which you currently work?
Prior to joining Marera Property Management, I was the general manager and sales director at Apatin Brewery, a part of Molson Coors Beverage Company. Having spent a number of years in the FMCG sector, working in different countries in the region, as well as Russia, a transition of any sort is by no means unfamiliar to me. What I perceive as an opportunity for professional development is the fact that Marera is the fastest-growing, or at the very least one of the fastest-growing companies in the Serbian market, with clearly defined and highly feasible ambitious plans. My contribution, along with a fresh, out-of-the-box business approach, is based on a decade and a half long experience in managing positions and extensive experience in people management. After many years of professional development, I still advocate that people skills are the main trait of a good manager.
The company you manage provides a wide range of asset, facility and construction management services. What are the company’s development plans?
We are well diversified across four business segments – asset holder, integrated property management, construction project management, and flexible office space leasing. We are the only company in the Serbian market that offers the full scope of in-house services in asset and property management. Our team of experts devises tailor-made investment strategies and develops strong portfolios that create long-term results and bring sustainable value to investors. With the application of all proven legal and administrative practices, our tenant management team guarantees continuous sourcing of new tenants and outstanding customer relations with the existing ones.
It seems that the pandemic is coming to an end. What do you think will be the main directions of development of the real estate sector in the coming period?
As a result-driven and strategically oriented company, we carefully evaluate all market opportunities and assess the risk of programmes and plans. Based on this, I think that the current positive market outlook will continue and lead to further progress and new opportunities across all commercial real estate segments. Challenges are a reflection of the overall economic development, namely, the understanding and the financial potential of local companies for the implementation of full-scale facility management (FM) services.
“MPM team of experts devises tailor-made investment strategies and develops strong portfolios that create long-term results and bring sustainable value to investors”
Currently, there is a void in comprehending the benefits of integrating the FM services in the core business practices. When observing the developed Western economies, we can see that the companies that incorporate full-scale FM services in their core operations have a positive impact on their business results. Regarding the Serbian market, we currently perceive this as the biggest challenge, but simultaneously as an immense growth opportunity. We will certainly continue to employ the best practices in our company in order to stay on the right track of becoming the market leader in this segment and by carefully analyzing and seizing opportunities, we will continue to reinforce our market position.