Ukraine will have a major presence at EXPO Real, Europe’s largest investment and real estate trade fair, which takes place in Munich next month. The delegation’s message is clear: there is no time to wait, Ukraine’s economy needs investment and support now.
Just weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, a large representation from the country’s public and private sectors nevertheless made the trip to Cannes, France, for the annual MIPIM real estate investment fair.
Their message was clear: despite the invasion, Ukraine remains open for business.
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Now, seven months into the war, Ukraine will repeat the message, with a particular focus on the need for investment to help rebuild the country at the EXPO Real, the largest European investment and real estate trade fair covering all property sectors, investments, and technologies, set to be held in Munich from October 4-6.
“For the first time, Ukraine will be represented with a stand in Munich. Kyiv is Munich’s twin city, so it made sense to provide a forum not only for the capital but for the country as a whole, to provide information about possibilities for future reconstruction, and to establish cooperation and networks,” says Claudia Boyman, EXPO Real’s exhibition director.
Ukraine’s stand carries the name Rebuild Ukraine, and is inspired and coordinated by Invest in Projects, an agency with years of experience in the international promotion of the real estate, proptech and investment sectors.
The Ukrainian delegation includes twenty companies and around fifty representatives, including official leaders and diplomats.
“We firmly understand that to make a sustainable future possible and overcome war-related challenges, Ukrainians should have strong international partners standing side by side,” says Anna Nestulia, principal at Invest in Projects.
“While preparing for Ukraine at EXPO Real, I am happy to say that we received multiple requests from interested international companies. They all share how they support the country and what initiatives they have already launched. But most inspiring is that they all want to be part of this unprecedented case of Ukraine’s rebuilding.”
A bright future
One of the firms that will be present at EXPO Real is Bosphorus Development, which before the invasion had been focused on its first project in Kyiv: a multifunctional business-class residential complex with commercial and recreational facilities. It suspended construction work and turned its efforts to humanitarian work, but sees a bright future for Ukraine.
“It is already evident that the war will continue. We are witnessing a geopolitical crisis of an unseen scale which is taking a heavy toll on construction companies. However, we firmly believe that Ukraine’s future is bright as territories are being liberated, fortified, and protected,” says its founder and chairman Mehmet V. Saçaklıoğlu.
“Homes and infrastructure need to be rebuilt so that people have somewhere to return to. We expect Ukraine to turn the tide of this geopolitical crisis which will revive the real estate market – both in terms of investment into new development projects and apartment sales.”
Igor Guda is chairman of the board of directors at Kreator-bud, a residential developer founded in Ternopil in western Ukraine with business-class mixed-use projects across the country.
He says that by attending EXPO Real Ukraine can demonstrate that its spirit is strong, and that even during the war, Ukrainian businesses keeps working and help their compatriots in need.
“Our high-quality projects are proof that we build following European high standards; Ukraine is part of a European family with residents who share the same values and mindset,” he says, adding that it is “critically important” for the country to receive support from international donors.
Colin Ross, general director of Gleeds Ukraine, says that despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, his firm is working on a number of projects including offices, repairs to retail outlets due to war damage and relocation of existing industrial facilities within Ukraine.
“Short term we are assisting existing clients achieve their plans and working with new clients who require assistance in this difficult market,” he says.
“Medium and long term we plan to assist the rebuilding of Ukraine. Whilst this is likely to focus mainly on internationally funded and aid related work we also see opportunities for private investment projects.”
Forum Group is a network of business centres in Kyiv, whose portfolio includes 11 office complexes with a total area of 200,000 square metres.
Its co-founder and CEO Iryna Shcolnik says that it is necessary to support small and medium-sized businesses, the backbone of the Ukrainian economy, and has launched several initiatives to do just that.
“One, the Re:start project, provides office space free of charge to companies with the prospect of rapid growth. In addition, our partners – leaders in business education in the country – provide these companies with business consulting and monitoring of their development,” she says.
Four companies have already been chosen to take part in the project: the Creative Depo clothing brand, the Ukraine Without Garbage eco-initiative, the HR-startup Effy, and the meat products manufacturer EatMeat.
The perfect stage
Maksym Maksymenko, partner, head of real estate and infrastructure at Avellum, a legal firm, says that much of its current work consists of advising clients on how to preserve their assets, renegotiate their deals, and restructure their projects to minimise losses.
“This is especially important for projects with foreign investments that were active when the full-scale invasion started,” he says.
Maksymenko points out that the construction of new residential housing has already become one of the top priorities for the Ukrainian government.
“I am sure that residential real estate construction will become one of the top picks for investments in Ukraine in the upcoming years,” he says.
He adds that being part of the Ukrainian delegation at EXPO Real this year is the perfect stage for to promote Ukraine and show that its economy is working but needs support.
“Our businesses and the government are open to dialogue and are willing to cooperate for the benefit of all parties. But the key message that should be delivered is that there is no time to wait for the war to end, now is the time to bolster our efforts to ensure the revival of the Ukrainian economy.”
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