The Atterbury Europe team is making hay across Europe, and while developments are going up, foundations are also being laid for exciting future projects. We caught up with Raoul de Villiers to get the lay of the land.
The expanding footprint of Atterbury Europe across the continent saw Romania added to the portfolio of countries last year. The Openville mixed-use development was the first project – how has that progressed since we last spoke?
The project has advanced significantly, we have subsequently completed and opened the A-grade “United Business Centre 1” office building with 15 000sqm of lettable area as well as a structured parking building with 910 bays. Another A-grade office building, “United Business Centre 3”, is currently under construction and will open in the first half of 2019 with 20 000sqm of lettable area.
We recently commenced with construction on the expansion of Iulius Mall Timisoara where we are extending the existing mall of 73 000sqm with another 26 000sqm. With all of this underway we are also constructing a park with underground vehicle tunnel, so it really is a hive of development activity in Timisoara at the moment.
Have you identified other opportunities in Romania?
Yes, we have. We are working on a game-changing, landmark mixed-use concept, but unfortunately that is all I can share for now as final negotiations are still underway. Watch this space…
Tell us more about how the RMH partnership is rolling out in Europe. Why is this so significant?
RMH became a partner in Atterbury Property Holdings in South Africa in 2016, the subsequent buying into Atterbury Europe is a strategic and logical alignment of the businesses. From Atterbury Europe’s perspective, we are very excited about the prospects of partnering with RMH in Europe. One of our main objectives is to create value through developments, which can be complicated and therefore a solid partner that understands our business is fundamental, making RMH a perfect fit for our business here in Europe.
Fill us in about the status of the other existing projects across Europe.
In Serbia, we are very excited about and close to breaking ground on a 43 000sqm regional shopping mall in the heart of Belgrade. We have been working hard on this project for more than two years and we are expecting the final permits within the next few days. We plan to open this flagship mall during the European springtime in 2020. Furthermore, in Nicosia, Cyprus, our colleague Pieter Olivier is managing a 6 000sqm expansion on The Mall of Cyprus and of course the future expansion on The Mall of Engomi (link to previous story).
What is the biggest issue that occupies your mind on a daily basis right now?
Focus. Making sure we identify, monitor and manage the critical issues while keeping all the balls in the air.