Interview with Nina Kipiani, country director at Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown
– What is it like to work for Cushman & Wakefield?
– I had already been operating in the commercial real estate industry for over 8 years before joining Cushman & Wakefield | Veritas Brown 3 years ago when it entered the Georgian market. Working for an international company such as Cushman & Wakefield has brought me to a different level of experience, opening doors to the global real estate market and to worldwide professional knowledge. C&W is one of the leading commercial real estate firms in the world and, after recently merging with DTZ, has become the world’s second largest commercial real estate consultancies.
Veritas Brown is an alliance partner of C&W in the Caucasus as well as Central Asia. We have offices in Kazakhstan and Georgia and are planning to establish ourselves in other countries throughout the region. The company employs international industry professionals equipped to meet the real estate requirements of any individual, fund or corporation in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
If you’re sure real estate is your industry, CW|VB, with its extensive range of commercial real estate services, is undoubtedly the best place to work.
– How would you estimate your company’s performance in the Georgian market?
– CW|VB advises and represents clients in all aspects of property occupancy and investment, and has established a preeminent position in the market, as evidenced by our frequent involvement in many significant property lease, sale and assignment transactions. When we opened our office in 2012, we were the first internationally recognized commercial property consultancy in Georgia that could provide professional services with in-depth local and international market knowledge.
The country’s real estate market development is in active stage. Namely, there are many projects in the pipeline, as well as plenty of interesting investment opportunities, especially in the hospitality sector, where CW|VB has a strong team and unmatched expertise. Hotel and resort developers searching for investors/operators/brands or project monitoring services are able to benefit from a full range of specialist services at CW|VB.
In addition, through our alliance agreement, we provide real estate advice to all C&W global clients represented in the region.
– What are the challenges you have faced?
– By the time CW|VB entered the market, the understanding of the importance of professional advisory services was very limited and we had to put a lot of effort in to its promotion. The company’s first project in Georgia was to provide Property Management services at Tbilisi Mall, the 65,000 m2 shopping mall owned by RAK authorities. Our professional retail leasing team has filled the center with a number of local and international retail brands, such as LC Waikiki, Koton, Defacto and a family entertainment center operator. The management of the mall has been brought up to an international standard oriented towards keeping the tenants and the customers delighted.
Foreign investors attach great importance to the presence of firms like C&W. Generally; Georgia is an attractive place to do business as well as enjoying a strategic geographical location and enjoyable climate. In terms of the future, we believe that ensuring foreign direct investment reach the levels seen in recent years is vital to the growth of the economy.
– Which projects would you consider as your success stories?
– Apart from Tbilisi Mall mentioned above, our company has already advised clients in respect of a number of highly significant development projects, such as, Black Sea Hotel & Residence (retail and residential part of Batumi Hilton project), Titan City (logistics and warehouse development in Tbilisi), Argo Anuria (Batumi funicular retail project), Babillon Tower (mixed use project in Batumi), Ureki Hotel and Residences, Sakanela (mixed use project in the downtown of Tbilisi owned by Silkroad Group). It’s also worth noting that CW|VB contributed to the success of attracting funds to restart the development of the Axis Tower project on Chavchavadze Avenue. More recently, we have been appointed to manage the Merani shopping center located in the heart of Tbilisi on Rustaveli Avenue. I hope we will add this project to our list of success stories soon.
– What is your company’s competitive advantage in the market?
– I can proudly say that we have best industry professionals working for CW|VB, the strongest retail brokers and consultancy team manned by both local and international experts. C&W provides strong support to ensure that CW|VB clients benefit from the best results.
Our vision is not to be the biggest, but the “preferred” real estate advisor in the region. This vision drives all that we do. We approach business with discipline, consistency and transparency; we strongly value the principles of an exceptional and long lasting partnership. We believe a successful relationship is built on trust, mutual respect and the alignment of interests and vision.
– What are the goals you and your company are planning to achieve in the next 3-5 years?
– CW|VB provides a full range of real estate services and is in a position to meet all kinds of client requirements, performed at a level of the highest quality. Taking into consideration the country’s promising prospect, especially in the hospitality sector, we are seeking to increase our personnel resources in this direction and commit to new projects. As the Capital, Tbilisi has always been commercially active but we see an increased level of interest along the Black Sea coast, especially in Batumi. Besides, the government is working on different projects to redevelop and create other tourist destinations, where we see great potential to add value through our services. We are involved in several mountain resort developments that will lead to new investor interest and, of course, positively affect the country’s economy.
Considering our strong presence in Kazakhstan and due to our extensive, long established relationships with Kazakh investors, we see great potential in attracting such funds to Georgia.
Cushman & Wakefield has given us permission to expand our footprint across the region and open new offices. Therefore I assume we have busy and challenging upcoming years.