Economic woes took a back seat on Wednesday night (25 February) as 500 business leaders from more than 30 countries packed out the Hilton Warsaw Hotel for the sixth annual Central & Eastern European Real Estate Quality Awards gala dinner and awards ceremony, the sector's main annual industry awards and flagship event.
Parkridge Retail's project Focus Mall Bydgoszcz secured the major accolades of the night, winning both the Retail Development of the Year and over all CEE Real Estate Building of the Year awards, while Ghelamco's Marynarska Business Park was awarded Office Development of the Year, the Sheraton Hotel Sopot was named Hotel, Leisure & Residential Development of the Year and VGP Park Horni Pocernice fought of stiff competition to land the award for Industrial & Logistics Development of the Year.
The awards, presented by CEE Insight Forum in association with the Financial Times, were given for outstanding performance and achievement in CEE Real Estate in 2008. The awards are decided by a jury of senior executives from major developers, investors, financiers, agents and consultants active in the sector.
Polish television presenter Monika Richardson joined CEE Insight Forum director Richard Hallward to present the awards in 18 categories, as the audience were also treated to a stellar array of entertainment including a performance by 80s chart-topping band Bananarama and new Polish stars Audiofeels and Kasia K8.
One of the highlights of the evening was the acceptance of the Lifetime Achievement Award by ECE Chairman Alexander Otto, on behalf of his father Werner Otto, founder of ECE Projektmanagement. The Industry Professional of the Year was Brian Patterson of AIG/Lincoln, who were also contenders in the Green Initiative Award category for leadership in sustainability in Central & Eastern Europe, which went to the Scandinavian company Skanska for all round commitment to sustainable development and sustainable business practice.
There were predictable successes for Jones Lang LaSalle and Cushman & Wakefield in the Agent of the Year (Capital Markets) and Agent of the Year (Retail & Leisure Agency) categories respectively, while Cushman & Wakefield were also successful in the Industrial & Logistics Agency section. CB Richard Ellis were described by the Jury as a deserving, if unpredictable pick for the Office Agency award for significant advances in performance in this market segment in 2008 as well as quality and depth of service and advisory.
In the Company awards AIG/Lincoln was named Developer of the Year, while Helaba (Banking & Financial Services Company of the Year) and Europolis (Investor of the Year) were rewarded for consistent pursuit of a positive business strategy in what the jury described as two of the most challenging decisions against the backdrop of the financial and economic crisis. Clifford Chance was named Legal & Consulting Firm of the Year, Goldbeck Construction was named Commercial & Construction Services Company of the Year and Chapman Taylor walked off with the CEE Real Estate Architect of the Year for the second year running.
Preceding the awards gala, in the morning more than 150 senior executives gathered for the second CEE Insight Forum event focusing on the impact and implications of the global financial and economic crisis on the CEE property markets, TROPICAL STORM2. EBRD economist Anatoli Annenkov provided a careful analysis of the growth and liquidity forecasts of the region that did not dispel the general gloom, while presentations by David Dixon of Norton Rose and George Leslie of KPMG balanced current market distress and pessimism against attractive underlying features that will come into play one the crisis bottoms out, which the panel assessed could be anything between 12 and 24 months.
The CEE Real Estate Quality Awards focuses on commercial real estate investment and development in 10 countries of the CEE region with significant international real estate investment markets, promoting excellence in business and highlighting the achievements of