April 13, 2023

[Interview] Hugo Kollatay, Newgate Investment: Within 5 years we want to double our portfolio

From the very beginning, we had a strategy of long-term investments and we intend to continue this strategy. Today, we are not thinking about selling, says Hugo Kollatay, Proxy at Newgate Investment, in an interview with SCF News/Retailnet.pl.

Newgate Investment is already 10 years old. This is a good time to reflect on what has been and what is still ahead of you. How do you see your company in the perspective of the next few years?

When we started the market was quite different than it is today. Over these ten years, we have managed to build a fairly satisfactory real estate portfolio, which mostly consists of retail parks. Today, we are a firmly rooted entity on the Polish market.

You said that this is a completely different market than 10 years ago. What do you mean?

This market has recently accelerated strongly and we want to keep up with it. Our goal is clear: we want to double the result of the first ten years in the next five years. And in the perspective of the next five years, we do not intend to slow down the pace of development.

So in 2028 your portfolio in Poland would be about two hundred thousand square meters of space?

Two hundred thousand, to be exact.

This is a big acceleration. What does this mean for the organization of the company?

The structure of a company that has two or three properties, as we did at the beginning, looks different than when it has about thirty properties. At first, there were about two or three of us. In fact, almost everything was on my mind, from management in which my colleague helped me, through obtaining financing, accounting, to commercialization and acquisitions.

Today, the company is an adult and has all the necessary departments to be able to independently operate on the market. We do everything in-house and this, among other things, gives us the opportunity to accelerate development.

Ten years ago, you were creating the company practically as a single person, but today you are still in a key position. What is in the center of your attention right now? Is it general supervision and coordination of all aspects of the company's operations or a specific area?

So far, it's been like that that I coordinated, or tried to coordinate, all activities in the company. Now we have decided to separate it. We have a person in the company who will focus mainly on the part of the work related to the management of our facilities. Of course, I will be there all the time to help, but I will try to focus mainly on the further development of our group so that in five years we will double our portfolio.

Who will be responsible for project management?

Anton Grytsenko, who has been with us for many, many years.

Before we talk about your further development, let's take a look at what you have in your portfolio today. Are these long-term investments, what is their nature?

From the very beginning, we had a strategy of long-term investments and we intend to continue this strategy. Today we are not thinking about selling. However, the market is very dynamic and it is difficult for me to predict the future, because maybe some new, great, international player will appear on the market who will come to us with an offer that we cannot refuse. I doubt that will happen, but you can never close yourself off to such an option.

Your portfolio is dominated by typical retail park projects, such as below ten thousand meters. But there are also larger facilities, I mean Białystok and Sieradz. What is the level of their commercialization?

It is very satisfactory, because it is - if I am not mistaken - 100% in Sieradz and ninety-nine percent in Białystok.

The changes that occur in your projects can be seen with the naked eye, especially when it comes to reconstruction.

That's true. Most of our projects have undergone remodeling in recent years. A good example is the facility in Białystok, which used to be better known as Outlet Białystok, and has been rebuilt twice in the last two years. It was a thorough metamorphosis, as a result of which it became the largest retail park in the entire region, with an area of approximately eighteen thousand square meters. The last tenant will be opening in March and thus this project will be almost finally completed.

What does "almost finished" mean?

We still have the possibility of redeveloping 1,500 square meters there, which we will probably do at some point. As of today, the process of remodeling and recommercialization can be considered completed.

Major changes have also taken place in Galeria Sieradzka….

Sieradz was also an object that was rebuilt by us twice. Immediately after the purchase, we completely renovated not only the facade of the building, but also the inside. Then the building was still expanded. The closing of the last stage of changes was the entrance of the Sinsay store. Thus, the entire facility is fully rebuilt and commercialized