This spring SUDOP Invest, a.s., started to sell and build the exceptional Rezidence Churchill project in Vinohrady, which follows on from the very successful Residence Riegrovy sady project. We talked to the company’s project manager, Ing. Jan Sellner:
You have been involved in design, construction and development in general for many years. What attracted you to it?
It’s simple. I graduated from the construction faculty at the Czech Technical University in Prague. Activities in this area were a logical step after my studies. I studied more economic-type subjects, but I was always interested in being involved in construction work, being hands-on, getting involved in the process of design and influencing construction, whether as a member of the design team, construction oversight or an investor’s representative.
How complicated were the preparations for the Rezidence Churchill project? Were the preparations different for this project compared to the preparations for the sale and construction of the Residence Riegrovy sady job?
As far as concerns the project itself, there was no fundamental difference in the preparations. The permission processes are obviously a little more complicated, because we’re in the centre of Prague, but the situation was the same as for Residence Riegrovy sady. Another thing is that the approval processes haven’t got any faster in the last ten years. On the contrary, I can see a marked slowdown, more thorough checks by civil servants and a lack of connectedness between the relevant bodies that slows the whole process down.
In your opinion, how does Rezidence Churchill differ from the current competition on the market?
Rezidence Churchill has a unique position on the market. There is currently no comparable residential project, meaning a new structure in the centre of Prague at the same stage of construction.
What fittings are you preparing for the apartments? What do you say to smart home technology?
In my opinion, preparations for smart home technologies are basic for this type of project today. In this regard we’re moving with the times.
In your opinion, what parameters should a development project have in order to be successful?
I think that an important parameter is technical preparedness, so that technical problems do not occur during the operation and “life” of a project and, obviously, a determining parameter for a project is the location where it is built. For example, Residence Churchill will stand in one of the best places in Prague for me. Our clients are buying closeness to the centre, good transport links, closeness to a park, unique views from which Prague is literally within the palm of your hand.
If you were to buy an apartment in Residence Churchill, which one would you choose?
I’d choose the best apartment. I’m not really a fan of front gardens, which the ground-floor flats in Residence Churchill also offer. For me it is clearly the top floor with a view of the centre of Prague, from the National Museum across to Prague Castle and Malá Strana and into the distance to the Central Bohemian Uplands.
In addition to residential matters, SUDOP Invest is also involved in commercial projects. What are you working on currently?
We are not a completely classic developer, we don’t have a large supply of land and residential projects prepared. Historically we have some projects under negotiation on which we are working and trying to move them forward and reflect our needs. At the current time, for example, we’re dealing with our need for administrative space, so we’re realising an administrative building in Argentinská ulice.
Do you see a difference between the Prague and out-of-Prague property markets?
I don’t see a major difference in them. Obviously, we encounter slightly different clientele outside Prague, if I compare our out-of-Prague customers with buyers of apartments in the centre, in projects such as Rezidence Churchill. In out-of-Prague locations I can also see a much greater share of mortgage financing. Clients often buy apartments in the centre of Prague as an investment and without the need to agree a mortgage. On the other hand, I have seen that people who bought a “starter” home on the edge of Prague, or outside Prague, years ago are gradually returning to the city. They are having children, they need school facilities, children’s activities, additional sports facilities and this sort of infrastructure, which they lack on the edge of Prague or outside Prague.
In your opinion, how will the Prague residential market develop in 2018?
From our viewpoint, when we plan to sell a larger part of the Rezidence Churchill project this year, I see the situation on the market as favourable. I don’t think that there will be a financial earthquake in the luxury apartment segment. I would forecast that in the case of “top” properties in Prague the price will continue to rise slightly. On the other hand, nobody has a crystal ball, there could be a negative event on a global scale and this could obviously have a marked influence on the momentum for rising property prices and the whole construction industry. In my opinion, the Czech economy is currently at the top or is very close to it. I see a problem in the peripheral parts of Prague, or in some out-of-Prague locations, where I see the property market as being overheated. Where young families used to buy homes using a mortgage there is now almost nobody who can buy them. At the current time the middle class cannot practically finance these homes.
Has a development project in the Czech Republic or abroad attracted your attention personally?
I don’t study development abroad in detail. I’m a Czech patriot and my attention was recently attracted, for example, by Radan Hubička’s interesting architectural project, the V Tower on Pankrác Plain. Close to where I live I like the Koivu Zličín project, which was completed this year, where, in my opinion, a balanced form of housing connected to the original development from a brownfield site was created. My favourite, however, is Rezidence Churchill—it will be one of the best residential projects in the centre of Prague. The first stage, Residence Riegrovy sady, was very successful. In my opinion, it’s a project that’s very well done. The evidence for my claim is the constantly rising price of apartments in the project and the high demand for rental accommodation in Residence Riegrovy sady and for any apartments released for sale.
You have a demanding work tempo, you found a moment of your time only at the weekend. How do you relax?
I primarily work. And then I have a family, so I’m trying to divide my time mainly between my family and work. Obviously I do sports, but only as one-offs. Mostly I choose sports that are unfortunately demanding in terms of time and regularity—for example cycling.
What are your plans for the future?
Over the short-term I believe that all our current projects are running in accordance with time and financial schedules. In the future we will develop other one-off projects and we will develop the management of our properties. Obviously, first of all in the whole SUDOP GROUP we will also focus on our main business, which is designing and developing modern 3D technologies for creating projects linked to BIM.