Author: Ani Kakuria
Launching a construction project during the pandemic, when one crisis follows the other, may appear unusual. Let us therefore take a look at the companies that were not afraid to implement new initiatives in these challenging times.
One of Georgia’s leading construction and development companies is implementing the Alliance Centropolis project, which is not only remarkable because it was launched during the pandemic, but is also unique in its scale and significance.
Alliance Centropolis will house the Hyatt Centric Boulevard Batumi hotel. It will be the first international hotel brand to come to Georgia since the start of the pandemic. To this end, Hyatt signed a management agreement with Alliance City Ltd. The 180-room hotel is due to open in the Alliance Centropolis complex in 2025. This will be the ninth Hyatt Centric hotel in Europe, and the first in Georgia.
Alliance Centropolis is the largest project implemented in the tourism segment. It includes the first World Trade Centre (WTC) in the region. Together with the World Trade Centers Association, the Alliance Group will build Georgia’s first WTC in Batumi.
“Alliance Centropolis is the first premium-class business tourism project both in Georgia and the wider region. This project is important for the development of tourism, as shown by the inclusion of the large international brands World Trade Centre and Hyatt,” states the Alliance Group co-founder and CEO Akaki Songulia.
Alliance Centropolis will extend over an area of 20,000 m2 (total building area – 420,000 m2) in the heart of the Batumi Boulevard by the seaside. The project incorporates an A-class shopping centre, an A-class business centre, WTC exhibition spaces, and the 5-star Hyatt Centric Boulevard Batumi hotel and casino.
Alliance Group is investing a total of $380 million in this project.
The Schuchmann Group sees the pandemic as a medium-term economic challenge, social threats notwithstanding. The company intends to use the passive period between 2020 and 2023 for conceptual planning and improvement of the projects. Since historically and statistically each period of crisis is followed by a period of recovery, the company retains hope that better times will follow the pandemic.
In the summer of 2020, the Schuchmann Group conducted investment and purchased land in Adjara, where it plans to build a resort consisting of a hotel and apartments. The project will include all the Schuchmann brand components featured in the company’s Kakheti facility in the village of Kisiskhevi. The hospitality concept of the Schuchmann Group is based on Georgian national motives, the 8000-year-old winemaking history and traditions, local culture and regional authenticity.
“Even 2019 was not a great year for the tourism and real estate sectors, which had to face various challenges and short-term risks. It is therefore important to diversify business to insure against such risks as much as possible. I believe that our decisions were justified, as real estate and land prices have been increasing each year despite the pandemic,” a Schuchmann Group representative tells us.
The company’s outlook is currently cautiously optimistic. It hopes to be able to leave the difficulties behind soon. The company predicts that the sector will need time to recover. However, due to the fact that most projects in Georgia are medium-sized, the real estate and tourism business will be able to deal with the challenges with relative success
York Towers did not stop operating even for one day during the pandemic. The company followed all resolutions and recommendations issued by the government and the Ministry of Health. None of the projects had to be put on hold, and none of the employees had to stop working. The company managed to complete the main phases of the projects and proceed to the next stages.
“Naturally, the suspension of flights, the currency devaluation, the state of emergency and the regulations significantly affected all businesses, particularly in the real estate and tourism sectors. Nevertheless, the state subsidy and support programmes, as well as our effective internal crisis management plan, international contacts and strong capital allowed us to keep prices stable and maintain quality,” the company states. These measures appear to have had the desired effect – York Towers is currently implementing projects in Tabakhmela, Lisi and Batumi, while additional investment plots have been purchased in Mtskheta and Basaleti.
The company does not intend to stop here and plans to use the resumption of flights to establish new business relations in the Gulf countries, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Russia and Europe. It also wishes to participate in international events that bring together investors, brokers, developers, industry experts and state agency representatives from around the world. The company was founded in Georgia, and its primary message is that this country is a safe, sustainable and attractive proposition for the investors. According to York Towers, interest towards Georgia is substantial, and the company intends to continue working in this direction.
The company was founded on 20 February 2020, at the time when the pandemic was entering an active phase. Prior to launching the projects, the company identified the following 6 major risk factors:
- Currency risk – monthly price increases;
- Stock and logistics;
- Infection risk;
- Restricted movement;
- Growing unemployment;
- Reduced number of money transfers.
“There is always a choice to either stop and wait for events to develop, or to quickly adapt to the situation and drive the development of events. We are not afraid of force majeure situations – everything can be resolved,” the company states.
The company’s first priority was to create a safe working environment for its staff. Vehicles were allocated to transport 3 passengers at a time. Project funding went ahead, which highlighted the company’s trustworthiness, ensured quality, and most importantly, nullified the potential impact of reduced sales. Project funding guarantees its timely completion.
The company constantly reiterates that it employs an individual approach towards each of its customers. Individualism allowed Oda to create a unique product in the shape of the new ‘home within a home’ concept.
Oda is about to complete its first construction project. Naturally, the company plans to continue implementing its new vision in the future. The company describes itself as a team of innovators who seek to occupy a different niche with each subsequent project
Apart Development implemented its first project on Bukhaidze Street in Old Tbilisi in 2019. The sales figures, demand and positive feedback ensured that the company braved the pandemic and launched a new project in the same district. The decision paid off, as 60% of the apartments have already been sold midway through the construction process. It should be noted that construction permits in Old Tbilisi are difficult to obtain. While many other companies have shied away from implementing new projects against the background of reduced profits, Apart Development’s niche is to create a product in Old Tbilisi that is tailored to the needs and wishes of the customers, and to ensure that the apartments represent a profitable investment for the buyers. Therefore, the company offers its clients a letting service. As a result of such a comprehensive approach, the project received attention both from local and international media outlets.
Apart Development plans to maintain its chosen course and make its own mark on Tbilisi’s urban development