Pavel Rufert is Senior Asset & Development Manager for Logicor in the Czech Republic
Logicor isn’t starting from zero in the Czech Republic, but I assume you haven’t been hired just to oversee and manage your current holdings.
We own, manage and develop high quality logistics assets across Europe, addressing the real estate needs of international and local distributors, retailers and manufacturers. I’m excited with the potential to do more than just manage our current Czech assets to help satisfy customer demand for high-quality warehouse space. Logicor Prague Airport park with 65,000 sqm of A-Class industrial space is now fully let on a long-term basis. Customers such as CEVA, Stokvis, Cargo-Partner, Iron Mountain, Ecologistics, Translogi and most recently Bonami have chosen us because they value our high-quality assets in good locations, as well as the strong long-term partnership Logicor offers. We opened the Prague office earlier this year as it was the natural next step to strengthen our customer relationships and to enable us to seek out opportunities to grow our portfolio across the Czech market.
You’re not exactly alone in the search for new sites.
We know the Czech industrial property market is very competitive but we have the expertise to quickly assess and understand if a new location brings sustainable value to our customers.
What sort of locations make sense for you?
We’re looking at land and assets along highways and in or near regional cities, so we’re targeting the strongest markets before entering the smaller regional towns. Due to long-term partnerships with our clients, we are focused on proactively providing solutions that strengthen their operations. If we identify a location with potential for sustainable growth for our clients, we are more than happy to make a thorough assessment, secure the land and deliver a building that helps our customers thrive.
What’s the minimum size that makes sense of you? Will you look for city logistics?
In terms of minimum building sizes, we’re talking about at least 10,000 sqm or 20,000 sqm under one roof. This may vary depending on the building type, location, built-up ratio, zoning limits and other aspects. Apart from that, city logistics and last-mile are also key focus areas for our customers.
But people are also moving out of Prague into regions like Central Bohemia. Aren’t residential developers your main competitors?
I wouldn’t say so. We don’t really compete on sites with residential developers. We’re mainly looking for sites that have a planning permit or that are at least zoned for industrial. That’s typically not the kind of land residential developers are trying to buy. Good relationships within the local communities are very important to us. We are therefore very mindful of the environment we bring our tenants into, preferring established industrial zones with good infrastructure. Overall, we aim to be the logistics partner of choice for customers, local communities and investors.
We’re coming out of an unexpected crisis that followed an economic boom. Do you expect to find acquisitions through companies that are collapsing or trying to save themselves?
Not really as logistics companies and owners of logistic properties have become true stars during the pandemic as they were absolutely essential for the functioning of societies. But I see opportunities for sale and leasebacks for example, as there are companies preferring to allocate the capital to optimize and expand their operations rather than for asset management and maintenance.
Everyone says there’s no land around Prague…but they’re still looking.
It depends on the perspective. For example, until recently, sites on highway exits further than 15km from Prague were considered secondary locations but exits 20-35 km out are now starting to be presented as part of the Greater Prague market. I think that with the completion of the ring road, we will be seeing new locations emerge in the Greater Prague market in Central Bohemia. These are locations that haven’t been so popular so far. But their time will come.
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