On October 18th, The Ritz-Carlton Almaty hosted the CREW Central Asia 2023 forum, bringing together management and construction companies, experienced experts, developers, consulting and brokerage specialists, as well as service providers on a single platform.
On October 18th, The Ritz-Carlton Almaty hosted the CREW Central Asia 2023 forum, focusing on “Green & Smart Development – The Future of the Industry.” The event served as a platform for expert interaction, where industry professionals discussed relevant topics ranging from modern technologies and innovation implementation to the prospects of market development. Discussions covered strategic planning, property operation and management methods, and global trends.
Special guests from Ciputra Group, a prominent Indonesian conglomerate specializing in real estate, construction, and retail, attended the event. The Managing Director of the company, and the World President of the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), Budiar Sastravinat, shared FIABCI’s plans and directions, highlighting the benefits of FIABCI membership. His presentation underscored the importance of adapting to current challenges and the necessity of a strategic outlook for the future.
A notable highlight was the presentation on the new Indonesian capital, Nusantara, by Agussurja Vijaya, Director of Ciputra Group. Nusantara is envisioned as a smart and sustainable “green” city – the City of Happiness – built to higher standards of quality, adaptability, innovation, gender equality, inclusivity, justice, sustainability, and dignity. By 2045, Nusantara aims to be a city with a neutral carbon emission level, consisting of 65% restored tropical forest and 25% highly controlled urban areas to minimize the carbon footprint.
Nusantara is currently an attractive investment city, offering 300 investment packages in residential and commercial real estate, education, and transportation sectors. Even before the completion of major urban infrastructure, Nusantara has established sister cities worldwide, with Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, becoming its first sister city in July 2023.
The forum featured numerous panel sessions, thematic meetings, and roundtable discussions, where participants delved into specialized topics.
A pivotal moment occurred during the plenary session on “Creating Infrastructure in Focus – New Perspectives and Opportunities for Central Asia.” The agenda covered state support measures for the successful implementation of infrastructure projects and the need for new mechanisms to support investors and businesses. Aliya Serikpaeva, Director of Kazakhstan Networking Partners, moderated the plenary session.
Speakers such as Timur Nurtayev, Director of ROYAL Branch, Dias Galiev, CEO of Focus Logistics, Svyatoslav Murunov, Urbanist and Ideologist, Olga Sharygina, Vice President of Becar Asset Management, and Natalya Afanasova, Director of Asset Management at CORE XP, shared their experiences and proposals on the development of city infrastructure. They discussed the formation of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP), debated on the best investment opportunities, and more.
“The plenary session showed that the dialogue was successful. The more diverse the participants, the more points of common ground we can find or understand the complex system from different perspectives,” noted Svyatoslav Murunov, Urbanist and Ideologist, consultant on planning and strategic development, and expert at “Almatygenplan.”
A timely and essential roundtable discussion was “Non-core and Problematic Assets: Restructure Rather than Sell,” conducted in collaboration with the Association of Managing and Service Companies Qazproperty. Representatives from Bank RBK, Eurasian Bank, and CenterProject, a subsidiary of BCC, participated in the discussion.
Bank representatives, along with real estate market participants, addressed issues related to the unique challenges of selling specific asset types. Non-core assets were examined from the bank’s perspective, including their accounting and management peculiarities, as well as opportunities for redevelopment and reconstruction.
During the meeting, the proposal to create an investment fund to develop possible instruments for bringing bank-held assets to the market was discussed. “Legislation has already supported the possibility of transferring non-core assets, so it is important for you to join this platform, where there is the AFC representing the interests of banks, the AFR, the initiator of the bill, and KPMG, which is currently trying to create a common platform where investors and creditors can find common ground,” highlighted Ayan Nurserekovich Baibolov, Director of the Department of Problem Loans at Bank RBK.
The next session of the CREW Central Asia forum, focusing on “Shopping Centers in Central Asia,” delved into market trends and technologies in commercial real estate. Moderated by Alexey Hegai, a partner at TSPM, the discussion centered on the prospects for market development and global trends in retail real estate. Speakers addressed current trends and innovations in the industry, including modern communication technologies, ways to interact with target audiences, and tools for creating an emotional atmosphere in stores and their practical applications.
The session “SMART Facility: Tools for Real Estate Operation and Management” brought together participants to discuss the comprehensive approach to management, the development of new products, the application of modern technologies, and strategic planning methods in the operation and management of real estate. Moderated by Leonid Volokh, founder of Lynks Property Management, the session explored important aspects of property management.
The forum session dedicated to “Flexible Workspaces: Efficiency or Effectiveness? Sustainability, Innovation, Customer Experience” proved to be informative and productive. Led by Semen Yurchenko, Head of the Real Estate Management Department at Cushman & Wakefield, the session delved into key issues related to the future of flexible office spaces, with a focus on the evolving requirements of tenants and global trends in office real estate.
The final session, “Sharing Experience: Global Practices and Elevating Professional Standards,” was moderated by Evgeny Teslya, CEO of EST Group. This session addressed topics such as land development, the creation of market-oriented commercial infrastructure, the strategy for developing tourist destinations, digital services for property management, global trends in shopping centers, modern formats of future hotels, and the potential of Light Industrial projects in the Central Asian warehouse real estate market.
At the end of the forum, there was a Q&A session with a specially invited guest, Alexander Orlov, a businessman, restaurateur, and owner of over 130 restaurants worldwide, including in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, the USA, Hong Kong, the UAE, and other countries. The moderator was Alisher Kozhasbayev, an economist and entrepreneur, a member of the Public Council of the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
During the discussion, topics included negotiating with landlords, including lease conditions, contract duration, and strategies for ensuring favorable lease conditions in different regions. The choice and lease of commercial real estate for the restaurant business were also addressed, discussing factors influencing location choice and rental rates.
The forum, dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the company, concluded with a ceremony presenting the annual Central Asia Property Awards CREW 2023. These awards recognize achievements in commercial and residential real estate in Kazakhstan and Central Asian countries, supported by the international FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Award. Winners of the competition will represent the region at the International FIABCI Prix d’Excellence competition during the World Real Estate Congress in Singapore from May 27 to 31, 2024.
The award winners, automatically qualifying for the international stage of the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence, include:
- Redevelopment of the Year – Marden Property Management LLP
- Best Class A+ Office Property – Talan Towers Business Center
- Best Class B+ Office Property – Grey Plaza Business Center
- Best Medium-sized Retail Property – Esentai Mall Shopping Center
- Best Small Retail Property – SPUTNIK Mall Shopping Center
Winners of professional nominations:
- Consultant of the Year – Colliers Kazakhstan LLP
- Deal of the Year – IBC Real Estate
- Broker of the Year – Lynks Property Management LLP
Special nominations winners include:
- Coworking Space of the Year – SmArt.Point Coworking Center
- Best Facility Management Company – Marden Property Management LLP
- Best Property Management Company – Astana Tower (Astana Tower Ishletme LLP)
- Best Cleaning Company – TOP Service Group LLP
In summarizing the forum, it’s worth highlighting the high interest of participants in panel discussions. Speakers addressed pressing issues, leading to the formation of many valuable initiatives. “For 10 years, we have worked to unite the real estate market not only in Kazakhstan but also in Central Asia, and this year’s CREW Central Asia forum once again confirmed that we are heading in the right direction,” said Aliya Serikpaeva, director of Kazakhstan Networking Partners and president of the FIABCI International Federation in Central Asia.
Official event partners included TSPM, Lynks Property Management, Astana Tower, Grey Plaza Holding, and Mercury Properties. Event partners included Marden Property, DM Associates, Vertical Hospitality, Property Management Group, Top Cleaning Service, and EST Group. The gala dinner partner was Esentai Mall, and information partners were Bizmedia.kz, Optimism.kz, and Qazaqpress.kz.