Day 2 of HOF Awards & Forum 2020: Retail in the Pandemic Era plus the Leases & Environment Awards
Day 2 of the HOF Awards & Forum began with an hour-long discussion on the current state of Central & Eastern Europe's retail sector with Hadley Dean, CEO of EPP, Jonathan Hallett, Executive Partner at Cushman & Wakefield, and Maciej Malewski, Hennes & Mauritz's expansion manager for the region. The retail sector has been growing rapidly in CEE for the past few years now as a long stretch of conintual economic growth has fueled growth in a region that was historically under-supplied. The problem for this side of the property business is that the past few years has seen aggressive developers and investors pushing the boundaries of catchment areas across CEE at the same time as online retail has reduced retailer dependence on the traditional shopping mall. There's never a good time for a terrifying global pandemic to shut down society for ten weeks. But especially not during a time when labor wages rising quickly and margins are shrinking, when major brands are already rethinking their approach to real estate. The speakers on Day 2 took these topics head-on, openly discussing how government measures to support the sector vary widely across CEE and how some of the biggest brands in the fashion industry are exploiting the dire situation to try to take control of some of their competition through unfair business practices.
After this in-depth discussion, it was time for the half-hour presentation of nine prizes for the HOF Awards 2020. The nominees for the HOF Awards are taken from the winners of each category of each of the country awards, meaning that the Best Residential Development featured projects from Romania, the Czech Republic, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Hungary.
The Awards presentation began with three envelopes that would decide on the best lease deals to have been completed from across the region. The first of these was the competitive Best Office Lease award. This year, GTC's Hungarian division picked up the honors for its deal with ExxonMobil at the developer's Budapest project Pillar. The prize for the Best Retail Lease went to another high profile brand, Primark, which decided to place its flagship store in the Flow Building on top of Wenceslas Square, a building under development by Flow East. Finally, the industrial developer CTP added to its HOF Awards prizes in 2020 by winning Best Warehouse Lease for its deal with Aldi at CTPark Budapest West.
But they weren't the only company to enjoy repeated success this year. The Panattoni Gala & Party 2019 picked up the prize for the Best PR & Marketing Campaign for example, while Penta Real Estate made its second appearance on the virtual winner's stage by claiming the Best Fit Out award for the Deloitte building at its project Churchill in Prague. But Day 2 belonged to Skanska Property, which didn't win just Best Leading Green Development for its project Praga Studios, but the Best Architectural Development for the same project. Still hungry for more, the Best Innovation for this year went to "Connected By Skanska" which helps tenants in the developer's buildings use the space more efficiently and improves the user experience. By contrast, despite its decades of experience in the market, PasserInvest Group made its HOF Awards debut by winning the Best Commercial Refurbishment prize for BB Centrum A. Winners of these prizes all made brief appearances online to make brief acceptance speeches.
Day 3 of the HOF Awards & Forum 2020 begins on Thursday, May 28, at 10:30, with an online video webinar that will feature Marek Dobrzycki, Managing Director (Panattoni), Bert Hesselink, Group Business Development Director (CTP) and Robert Sgariboldi, CFO (108 Agency). The panel discussion will be followed by the presentation of the Teams & Leaders group of HOF Awards prizes as well as the Transactions group.