On December 20, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Konieczny Wierzbicki had advised Dutch fund Van der Vorm Vastgoed on the acquisition of the La Praga residential project in Warsaw from Nexity Polska. CEEIHM spoke with Margreet van der Vorm, Director of International Investments and Rene Voortmeijer, Managing director at Van der Vorm Poland, to learn more about the deal.
CEEIHM: Tell us the story of Van der Vorm Vastgoed. What does your company specialize in, where is it operating, and what does your portfolio include?
Margreet: We are a non-listed, family-owned company existing for more than 100 years. The company is Dutch-based, with headquarters in Rotterdam.
Our portfolio is divided into residential, retail, shopping centers, and hotels. For the purpose of our own portfolio, we develop and redevelop in all categories.
Beyond our Dutch activities we own a foreign portfolio in Paris (residential, retail, and commercial), in London (residential), in Antwerp (residential and retail), and Warsaw and Cracow (residential and (apart)hotels). We have a strong belief in the economic power, and the young and highly-educated population in Poland, and the possibilities on the residential market.
CEEIHM: Konieczny Wierzbicki recently advised your company on the acquisition of the La Praga residential project in Warsaw. Could you tell us a bit more about the project and what attracted your company to it?
Rene: We started a few years ago with investments in Warsaw (in the Wola district), by circumstance we came across the river in Praga Polnoc and liked the older redbrick buildings. As a foreign investor, we search for bigger residential buildings from 50 apartments and more in La Praga we bought 130 apartments. We liked it because it’s in the proximity of good public transport, the Google Campus, and the Wilenska shopping center. Beyond that Nexity Poland is a reliable developer and therefore partner.
CEEIHM: Seeing that your company primarily operates in Western European countries, what motivated you to expand to Poland?
Margreet: Poland is a strong economic power, with a young working population and high participation of women in the workforce. We believe that it is a secure country being a member of the EU and NATO alliance. It’s a growing market for foreign companies and a distribution Hub between east and west. We also believe that there are possibilities in the residential market, in comparison to the mature western European markets the Polish residential rental market still can develop and grow, to attract bigger institutional investors. We want to be part of that developing market and therefore we invested, mainly in Warsaw and Cracow.
CEEIHM: What are the next steps for your company in Poland?
Margreet: The first residential developments we bought like Swedzka (Warsaw) and Krakusa (Cracow) will come to the market and the renting procedures started through real estate advisors and social media: Facebook, Market Place, and Otodom. We aim for full occupancy in the second quarter of 2021. Of course, Covid-19 changed some things, especially with expats and students leaving, but we are convinced that at some point in 2021 the situation will go back to a more normal situation we were used to.
CEEIHM: What made you choose Konieczny Wierzbicki as your company’s advisor? Did your company cooperate with Konieczny Wierzbicki in the past and would you keep the firm as an advisor on future projects?
Rene: Being a Dutch investor, we choose to manage the real estate in foreign countries from our headquarters in the Netherlands. Through purchasing an object in Cracow we were introduced to Marcin Wierzbicki. KWKR is a firm with young solicitors with broad experience in legal services: corporate law, real estate, construction, and tax. The one-stop-shop solution works well for us. The various we worked with solicitors were easily accessible, quick to respond, highly-qualified, and trustworthy. For us, they advised on all kinds of legal aspects (due diligence, contracting) and managed our Polish SPV. The KWKR team to us is more than just a supplier of services, they are our, external, partner!
Originally reported by CEE In-House Matters.