Recently ranked as the third-largest retail developer and fourth-largest overall property developer in Europe, TriGranit has weathered the global turbulence better than most and continues on an ambitious development schedule. Real Estate Publishers (REP) asked Arpad Torok, CEO TriGranit, his thoughts on the company's current and future projects.
"TriGranit started in Hungary 15 years ago as a joint venture, but moved out of the borders pretty soon thereafter, starting developments in Slovakia in 1998, just one year after our establishment. Currently we're active in seven countries in CEE plus Russia; we've completed developments with a value of over 2.2 billion and have a pipeline of over 4 billion of large multifunctional projects in Central and Eastern Europe.
Retail and offices
"Our main focus is regional and downtown retail projects, and class-A offices. We also do city center developments consisting of offices, retail and hotels. We've done PPP-structured developments as well, like the Palace of Arts in Budapest which received the prestigious Fiabci Prix d'Excellence in 2006, an award that is considered the Oscar of architecture.
"Last year we just completed an office development in Krakow, and we've launched the second part of that, which adds another 16,000 m² to the Polish office market. We also have a large project currently under construction in Poznan, the Poznan railway station, where we're adding 60,000 m² GLA of retail. Last year we completed the 52,000 m². K&H headquarters, which was the largest office development in Hungary.
"On one hand the global turbulence has been difficult, like for everyone else. Everyone is becoming more sophisticated, more analytical. On the other hand it's been a very successful period for us. In the past three years we've arranged project financing and refinancing close to 800 million. We've completed construction of around 500,000 m², and we've been able to launch new developments in the past three years of 1.5 million m².
"Our focus in the coming year will be less on Hungary while continuing strongly in Poland and Slovakia. We're trying to launch a project in Ljubljana, Slovenia, which is also on the main railway station.
"We don't deliver manufactured products. We understand the local markets and deliver products which work well on the local scene. Our entire product is different, specifically tailored. The developments of TriGranit are defined by cherishing the past and traditions, and the long-term, environmentally-conscious thinking that seeks answers to architectural challenges and innovations. We are the leaders in Hungary in green building developments; they are all either LEED or BREEAM certified; this is very important to us.
"We do everything in house. From the point where we acquire the land, we have a construction team, we do retail leasing, financing, we supervise the design and construction execution, and then we're capable of managing our own properties via TriGranit Management. This provides us flexibility as well."