Eight of the very best

Eurobuild Awards
The number 8 in some cultures is regarded as a symbol of perfection and infinity. Other people associate it with the US dollar sign ($). But for us, eight is the number of people in the running for the Personality of the Year at the Eurobuild Awards

The Eurobuild Awards Gala is now fast approaching. Eurobuild Central & Eastern Europe has completed assembling the jury and has been receiving the first few nominations in the individual categories. The Personality of the Year, however, is different, because our editorial team nominates the candidates in the first stage. In the second stage the jury, each year consisting of around 230–250 members (experts from the real estate and construction sectors), then chooses a shortlist of three people. This year the vote will take place on November 5th–7th. The final choice of the individual who will receive the title of the Personality of the Year 2018 will then be in the hands of the guests of the Eurobuild Awards Gala, who will number around 800–900, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Conference Centre Warsaw on December 5th.

Power is a woman

This year three women have gone through to the jury vote. Almost a year ago we reported that Jolanta Nowakowska-Zimoch had moved from Hogan Lovells to the Greenberg Traurig law office, taking on the position of partner and head of the real estate practice. She has not had to complain about there being any lack of work in her new job, since the name Greenberg Traurig has subsequently featured prominently in such major transactions as the acquisition of the Gdański Business Center, the Warsaw Spire and the Amazon warehouses in Kołbaskowo – and that was just in the last few months. Another member of the fairer (but no less talented) sex to be nominated is Kinga Nowakowska, a board member and the operational director of Capital Park. The similarity in their surnames is a coincidence, although the positive energy and charisma are the same. As can be seen by the fact that the construction work on Capital Park’s flagship project ArtN, involving the revitalisation of the old Norblin factory in Warsaw, is now well underway – and, incidentally, it is also managed by a woman. In fact, Kinga Nowakowska also supports women as a mentor of the Enterprising Women Network [Sieć Przedsiębiorczych Kobiet] as well as in her capacity as the president of the Black Swan Fund, a network of female business angel investors.

The other woman nominated for the Personality of the Year Award is Katarzyna Kuniewicz, who manages the market research and analysis department at Reas. If anyone has ever worked in the residential sector, they must have heard about her, met her, read her reports or listened to her lectures. “The reports prepared by Katarzyna are of the highest substantive quality. Due to the passion with which she pursues her profession and her high degree of expository competence, people are happy to listen to her lectures and assimilate the knowledge she shares. She is a skilled manager who has very good contact with her team and is able to maintain a friendly atmosphere at work. I have personally found her to be a very warm and cordial person with a fascinating range of interests,” emphasises Andrzej Gutowski, a board member and the sales and marketing director at Ronson Development. Since the residential market has some interesting times ahead of it, it is probably worthwhile getting to know someone like her who notices the emerging trends first.

They grow while others shrink

The masculine side of the nominations list begins with the construction sector and the head of Mirbud. “Jerzy Mirgos has received this nomination for his achievement in building a small domestic construction firm into a significant player in the general, road and residential construction segments. Over the last year, Mirbud successfully fought for the largest contracts in various market sectors. It can also boast exceptionally good financial results for the first six months of 2018 – in a period when many firms were hit hard by the downturn in construction,” comments Tomasz Cudowski, an editor of ‘Eurobuild Central & Eastern Europe’.

In little over ten years, Robert Dobrzycki, the Europe managing partner of Panattoni Europe, has built – virtually from scratch – the clear leader in warehouse and logistics development in Poland. Even though Panattoni’s boss has already been one of the nominees, it was the closure of the EUR 200 mln deal with Dutch company European Logistic Investment, co-managed by Griffin Real Estate (GRE), in which a portfolio of nine logistics parks built in Poland by Panattoni Europe changed hands, that impressed us so much that we had to nominate him again. Furthermore, Panattoni Europe and ELI are planning a joint EUR 800 mln project to enlarge the Dutch investor’s newly acquired portfolio and create the leading logistics platform in Poland.

The sale of the Warsaw Spire complex in Warsaw (which includes Robert Dobrzycki’s own office) was also one of the major events this year, as Ghelamco found parties interested in buying the smaller buildings of the complex as well as a 50 pct stake in the tower. In April – a few months after the sale of the first part of the complex – it was announced that Madison International Realty was buying a 50 pct stake in Warsaw Spire’s tower. The value of the skyscraper was estimated at EUR 350 mln. More transactions involving Jeroen Van der Toolen, Ghelamco’s managing director for the CEE region, are to take place soon. But just how much is the boss of Ghelamco appreciated and admired on the market? “I have known Jeroen for more than ten years and I have to admit that he is one of the most dynamic people I have ever had the opportunity to collaborate with. He always speaks clearly about his expectations and requirements, and you can always count on his honest feedback. This approach is invaluable in negotiations. In his private life, Jeroen is a very family-oriented person. His relationships with his loved ones are very important to him. What I value most about him is that he always keeps his word and he is trustworthy,” stresses Krzysztof Misiak, a partner, board member and head of regional cities in the office department at Cushman & Wakefield.

Magnets for millennials

The battle for the best employees has never been more intense. And young, creative employees also have many, rather specific, requirements. If he or she decides to work in a particular office, it has to be something exceptional. If you were to seek the key to the hearts of such young people, then it would seem to lie on the desk of Eyal Litvin, the CEO of Adgar Poland. Not only because he has invested in a number of office buildings in Warsaw and for setting up the Brain Embassy co-working brand two years ago, but this year he also came up with another concept for the office of the future – Be Yourself. “Eyal is one of the most innovative people in his field. He is constantly setting new market trends and within his company. He knows how to inspire the people around him, motivate them and encourage them to share his energy and passion – and he is brilliant at this!” claims Monika Rajska-Wolińska, the managing partner of Colliers International in Poland.

Creativity, passion and courage in devising and introducing new products are certainly not qualities lacked by one member of the younger generation: Marcin Grzymkowski, the founder and CEO of Eobuwie, who has transformed a family business into one that CCC has invested hundreds of millions in by buying a majority stake. One result of the deal is that he has now appeared on the list of richest Poles. “I appreciate him for his courage in launching innovative formats combining various forms of sales and for his intuition regarding the current trends in the retail sector. Although the concept of stores is still new and it’s too early to assess how much it will change Polish retail, it still represents a pioneering move for retail chains into the field of omnichannel sales,” explains Aneta Cichla, deputy editor-in-chief of ‘Eurobuild CEE’.

Which three of these eight nominees go through to the final round is now in the hands of the jury members. The Personality of the Year will be revealed just before midnight at the Eurobuild Gala on December 5th. ν