We always bring novelties and keep up with the latest world trends when implementing our real estate
projects. In this way, we are pushing the boundaries of everything that exists in the markets in which we
operate, whether it is shopping malls, office space or hotel industry – Zorana Burlić Director General of Delta Real Estate
Delta Real Estate has embarked on a big investment cycle whereby, in the next five years, it plans to invest 400 million euro in office buildings, shopping malls and hotels. The list of the company’s projects include Delta’s new office building called Delta House, a shopping mall in Autokomanda in Belgrade, Delta Centre and the Holiday Inn Hotel in Ljubljana – says Zorana Burlić, Director General of Delta Real
Estate. Each of these buildings is a story in itself, and a step forward into something new.
You have announced that the Delta House office building will be much more than a work space. What can your workers and the companies that will join you can expect from this building?
— When we say “more than a workspace” we mean, first and foremost, that the whole building is designed completely in line with the needs of the people who will work in it. As part of this project, we have been working on implementing the latest job concepts because workers today do not just want an office and a desk in it since a business space for them is also a vacation space. The 21st-century jobs can
be stressful and often time-consuming, so it’s important to provide people with working conditions
that make them feel comfortable. That is why we are also going to have an exceptional restaurant and cafe at Delta House, as well as a gym because workers want to be in optimal physical shape without spending too much of their valuable time. An increasing number of companies want mobile jobs because they are saving money on them, and there is no need for their workers to sit in an office full time. This is resolved by the so-called touchdown jobs. Because employee health is paramount, we will maintain the oxygen level in the workplace at a level optimal for successful work and a comfortable atmosphere for everybody there. The project also envisages the maximum use of daylight. The other important thing is Delta House’s highest environmental standards. The building is LEED-certified which means has met the highest requirements both during construction and later in use. It will have solar panels and collect and use rainwater to irrigate the plants. The world-renowned architectural firm, MYS Architects designed the concept of the facility, while an American studio with an office in Paris, Studio S devised the interior concept. Because of all this, we really believe that Delta House, spanning 23,000 square metres, will be a unique office building and something Belgrade has not seen before. We are confident that the tenants will share the same opinion and will be happy to do business in our building.
This is not your only active construction site in Belgrade. Could you tell us more about the Indigo Hotel and Autokomanda, a project that has been waiting for a permit for a long time?
— The Indigo Hotel is in the final stages and is expected to open in the autumn of this year. It will be the first hotel in Serbia from the Indigo chain, which operates under the IHG Group. This brand is known for respecting the culture, character and history of the environment in which it operates – from the design that fits the surroundings, to menus and the use of local ingredients in the kitchen. We want this hotel to be an ornament in Belgrade, especially because it is located in its central part, that is Knez Mihailova Street.
As for the Autokomanda project, we, as a developer, are ready to launch it immediately; we have drafted the project and secured the financing. The only thing that we are missing is the permits. The plot on which we are planning to build the mall is the location of one of the buildings of the former Topovske Šupe concentration camp, which is why from the very beginning of planning to build the mall, we consulted and worked closely with the Jewish community to find the best architectural solution for
this important landmark. The attitude of the Jewish community on this issue has not been uniformed
or consistent so far, but we hope that now that the law governing the preservation of the Holocaust
landmarks in Belgrade has been passed, we will find a common solution that this memorial site deserves because it is currently in a very neglected state. The Delta Planet shopping mall will create about 4,000 jobs, generate revenue for Belgrade’s budget of not less than 2 million euro and will enrich the tourist offer of our capital.
How appealing is the retail sector to you and why did you choose Niš to build the Delta Planet mall?
— Shopping malls have been one of our company’s strategic businesses for many years. I would like to
remind you that Delta Real Estate built the first modern shopping mall in Serbia, Delta City in Belgrade and several more shopping malls after that, which is why we believe that we have exceptional expertise in this area. This was validated through the success of Delta City in Belgrade and Podgorica, and now Delta Planet in Banja Luka and Varna, which are celebrating their first year of operation this month. I must point out that Delta Planet in Banja Luka has become a regional attraction, even positioning itself as a must-see tourist spot for all those tourists that gravitate towards the capital of the Republic of Srpska. When it comes to the city of Niš, it is the centre of a large region, so it shouldn’t be surprising that we had decided to build it there. Our analyses have shown that Delta Planet in Niš can attract not only visitors from the city itself but also from the entire region of southern Serbia, travellers from Bulgaria, as well as people using the E75 motorway. This shopping mall will span 40,000 square metres gross, with a total investment value of 70 million euro. Around 700 workers will be hired in the construction, and after the opening, the shopping mall will create about 1,500 new jobs. A city that is an industrial, tourist, administrative and university centre needs such a facility and we believe that this will be validated as early as the spring of 2021, when Delta Planet Niš will be opened and become a new city centre and a favourite place of its citizens, but also guests from the region.
A new IKEA concept store will be opened in Delta Planet in Varna, Bulgaria, the only such store in this part of Europe. What is so special about this project?
— When we say IKEA everyone’s first thought associated with this brand, without exception, is huge
warehouse-like spaces on city outskirts where we go to for large, intentional purchases. Recently, the Swedish furniture maker has changed its retail strategy, influenced by the ever-expanding e-commerce and decided to open new, urban formats in the central locations in major cities, where consumers will be able to buy more comfortably, which, in turn, requires less organization and saves time. The first such shop, which is a complete replica of large warehouses only in a smaller format, opened in Paris last year. We are really proud that we were the first company in Southeastern Europe to bring IKEA city concept store to our Delta Planet in Varna, which will make this shopping mall stand out from anything similar in the Bulgarian market and the region. Large-scale work is being done in the mall as we speak and the feedback that we get in the field indicates that the residents of Varna are excited and can hardly wait for IKEA to open its doors.
Given that you do business in the region, what do you think of the development directions of the real estate market in Serbia and neighbouring countries?
— The whole region, the countries of the former Yugoslavia, as well as Bulgaria and Albania, has a lot of
space for real estate development. We, in Delta, are mostly interested in modern specialized facilities,
such as shopping malls and hotels, which require large capital investments and expertise in their running. We always bring novelties and keep up with the latest world trends when implementing our
real estate projects. In this way, we are pushing the boundaries of everything that exists in the markets in which we operate. In the shopping mall segment, we are introducing the latest concept that is the so-called retailtainment and in the hotel industry, we are introducing new and globally renowned hotel brands that dictate new trends, with top-notch service.
Which projects, besides the mentioned ones, will you focus on in the coming period?
— Delta Real Estate has embarked on a major investment cycle. In 2019, we completed the construction of 172,000 square metres of office space and began the construction of another 62,000. Our plan is to invest 400 million euro over the next 5 years and to build facilities spanning 370,000 square meters. Our focus will be on office buildings, shopping malls and hotels. Besides the aforementioned shopping mall in Autokomanda in Belgrade, the plan is to build a Delta Centre in Novi Beograd, an exclusive complex consisting of a prime quality office building, a luxury retail facility and the InterContinental Hotel. We will continue to develop in the countries in our region, and one of the projects that is the closest to its realization is the Holiday Inn Hotel in Ljubljana. In other regional countries, we are interested in greenfield investments, as well as acquisitions of some of the existing hotels, which fit into our business model.