Participants from the Czech Republic consider that the event is - thanks to its location and a large attendance of important investors - a highly attractive forum for their presentation and networking. After a successful joint presentation of Prague, Brno and Ostrava at this spring´s MIPIM, the property and investment market held in Cannes, these three cities, together with the South Moravian and Moravian-Silesian Regions, also decided to present their potential at full strength and in synergy at this year's Expo Real. As a result, the exhibition called CZECH CITIES & REGIONS, they arranged together with CzechInvest, the Association for Foreign Investments (AFI) and 14 co-exhibitors from the sector of commercial companies, has been the largest Czech presentation in the history of the fair. Tomáš Macura, Mayor of Ostrava, which coordinated the joint exhibition, stated in this context: "The concept of joint exhibition, along with the topics of smart city, innovation, leisure, the quality of life and education, has been also retained at this year´s event. This space arrangement has made the Czech exhibition more attractive and boosted attendances." That is truly essential at this year´s event as it reports a record number of exhibitors - according to the final official statistics 2,095 of them came to Expo Real, including more than 400 cities and regions. Thus, the environment was highly competitive. Data provided by Messe München indicate that the Czech Republic is eighth in the number of participants, behind Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Switzerland and France; the last of the top ten countries are Luxemburg and the USA.
INTELLIGENT URBANIZATION: TREND OF THE CITIES OF THE FUTURE
One of the key topics at this year's Expo Real, explored at a separate discussion forum, was "intelligent urbanization" as, according to predictions, two-thirds of the world's population will have lived in cities by 2050. It is precisely in the progressive "smart city" concept that European real estate experts see the greatest potential for frequently discussed digitalization, regardless of whether in terms of management, operation, planning or construction itself. As for the character of future smart cites, which was fiercely debated at this year´s Expo Real, such cities are required, along with being sustainable, to create conditions for healthy and better-quality life of their inhabitants. Participants in the "Intelligent Urbanization Forum" had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with a number of innovation projects, such as a new city district, Werksviertel, in Munich or the Whisper Valley, a residential and commercial district, which is the largest sustainable development project in the U.S.A.
The trend for intelligent urbanization is also followed by Prague, which has shown new amendments to the concept "Smart Prague" at the fair. "Historically, the first long-term smart city strategy was created in 2017. As support from civil society is, along with its active participation, seen as vital for the life of cities, the Smart Prague is a joint project created with joint effort and on the basis of initiatives and feedback from individual participants. We collaborate on our projects with universities, city businesses, urban areas and the private sector, along with encouraging involvement from citizens and the non-profit sector. This year, we have presented two major projects of the Smart Prague concept - the Golemio Data Platform and the 3D Virtualization Prague model. Visitors to the stand were provided with virtual reality glasses to try how the model works. In my opinion, the Golemio is one of the most significant achievements we have created within the Smart Prague concept. This data platform of Prague is specific since, aside from collecting data on the city, it is intended to develop new methods for its application. It enables us to be perfectly aware of issues of our choice in real time and real figures. This is particularly true of the traffic, parking, air quality, energy consumption and waste," said Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová on the occasion of the reception for the business partners and investors on the Czech stand.
BRNO AND THE SOUTH MORAVIAN REGION
"A new project at this year's exhibition aims to develop a new South District with an area of 133 hectares for 10,000 people, thanks to which Brno will rank among the most dynamically growing cities in Central Europe. Expo Real is an ideal forum not only for presenting this project, but also for sharing experience and seeking inspiration: for example, HafenCity in Hamburg or the Central Railway Station in Vienna provide us with a good model. The decision, affirmed by the City of Brno, the South Moravian Region and the governmental authorities, to transfer the existing Brno Station to the Svratka River creates prerequisites not only for Brno to become a modern railway junction among Prague, Vienna and Ostrava, but also gives new impetus to the South Quarter, immediately adjacent to the historical centre of the city, which could take more specific shape. We are now working on an update to the planning study, which aims to impose spatial regulations, refine the definition of functional areas and the transport infrastructure system, define the serviceability of individual areas and recommend the phases of implementation. We collaborate with leading experts from abroad on urbanism and architecture in the South Quarter - for example, we have recently organized a workshop with architects Peter Gero from Hamburg, Christoph Hrncir from Vienna and Mark Johnson from Denver. Our contribution to the concept of Intelligent Urbanization, which was one of the thoroughly discussed topics at this year´s Expo Real, is the future intelligent district Špitálka, situated in the central part of the city. The aim of the project is to realize a new socially, economically and energy sustainable district with the use of proven smart technologies. An urban competition will be announced at the end of October," said Michal Sedláček, Director of the Brno City Architect Office. "The growth of Brno, as a driving force of the entire region´s economy, is naturally reflected in the prosperity of the South Moravian Region as a whole. With regard to the main priorities, including the transfer of the railway station towards the river, there is absolute agreement between the City and the Regional administration. Due to its location, the existing station is at the limit of its capacity and, if we intend to continue to develop innovations, encourage young people and highly qualified experts (especially in the segments of science and research, modern technology), we must offer them perfect conditions, including better traffic access. The South Moravian Region complements this year´s presentation of Brno by industrial zones (Veselí nad Moravou and Blansko-Vojánky), as well as residential projects, civic amenities and projects aimed at the development of tourism (namely, the Znojmo-Pod Městským Lesíkem development site, the complex of a former sugar refinery complex in Břeclav and the Břeclav-Castle brownfield). Incidentally, we have already found investors for two of the projects (the Znojmo-Malá Louka residential project and the complex of an old hospital in Znojmo), presented by our Region at last year´s event, which confirms that it is worth participating in Expo Real," added Petr Hýbler, the member of the South Moravian Region Council.
OSTRAVA AND MORAVIAN-SILESIAN REGION
"The fact that continuous work with investors and continuous presentation at European property and investment trade fairs pay dividends can be exemplified by our project in Hrušov. At last year´s Expo Real, we entered into negotiations with prospective buyers of land suitable for the development of an industrial zone. A year has passed and, in September, the Council approved the acquisition of this 35-hectare area by Contera Management, which, aside from employing up to 700 people, intends to create space for small-scale and medium-scale businesses, as well as science and research facilities. If a similar destiny awaited this year´s offer, what else could we want? This year, we have also prepared a wealth of opportunities for investors. One of them, for instance, is an attractive tear-shaped plot of land totalling an area of almost 8,300 square metres and situated in the central part of the city, in a new modern district, known as Karolina. We would like to create an architecturally exceptional high-rise building there, which, being intended to dominate the area, will combine several purposes, such as a hotel, offices or shopping space. This September, we announced our plan to sell the plot and here, in Munich, we conducted several negotiations with several prospective investors. Also, we would like to bring exceptional architecture into Ostrava in the form of a new concert hall, coming complete with excellent acoustics. We have already launched an international architectural competition for the hall, entered by 34 architectural studios from all over the world, which illustrates that Ostrava is of high interest. First-class education and the associated supply of skilled workforce are essential areas effectively dealt with by the city. Accordingly, we also support, among other things, the University of Ostrava´s plan to build a new multipurpose facility in the centre of Ostrava, at Černá louka, in the proximity of the Ostravice River. It is designed to serve both students and the general public as a modern background for sports, health and technology in one building, while the other building will house the Cluster of Art and Design of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ostrava," said Ostrava Mayor Tomáš Macura in his comment on this year´s presentation of the City of Ostrava at Expo Real. "In synergy with the City of Ostrava, we have presented the Moravian-Silesian Region this year as a modern and fresh area, which is a perfect place for business, life and leisure. That is why we have focused on not only industrial zones, but also housing, recreation and leisure activities in our offer to investors. This can be exemplified by an industrial zone in Nošovice and a Multimodal Logistics Centre in Mošnov, a residential complex in Nový Jičín, which is under preparation, and a visionary project Slezská Harta, whose development potential goes beyond the borders of the region. We intend to revitalize the entire dam of Slezská Harta - one of the planned steps is to build a cycle path called the Roof of Europe, whose project is currently being prepared. Owing to its scope and focus, it is Expo Real that offers an ideal opportunity for exhibiting ambitious projects, such the Mošnov Multimodal Logistics Centre or Slezská Harta," added Jan Krkoška, Deputy Governor of the Moravian-Silesian Region.
HOT TOPICS OF THIS YEAR´S EXPO REAL
The trade fair is always an indicator of trends and problems of the current world, affecting also the investment and real estate market. Real estate experts agree that ten years after the financial crisis, the property market is very strong. A total of 1,380 European experts who took part in a survey organized on the occasion of Expo Real feel optimistic about the future: 65.9 % of them expects that growth prospects remain favourable for this and next year´s European investment and property market, despite geopolitical tensions, commercial wars and international indebtedness. 30 % of respondents believe that their companies will manage a slowdown in economic growth. At the same time, this year´s Expo Real has confirmed that leaders are forced to seek new methods and opportunities on the market due to current trends (the development of new technologies, including increasingly progressive automation and digitalization, co-working, crowdfunding, progressive global urbanization, etc.). These opportunities can also be seen in investment in increasingly growing real estate segments, such as residential or industrial properties. Owing to high liquidity of the market, "B" locations and formerly niche segments, including health and social care projects, are beginning to grow in demand.
EXPO REAL IN FACTS AND FIGURES
Data provided by the German organizer, Messe München, indicate that this year´s Expo Real has even grown in popularity and set a new record: the number of exhibitors has increased by almost 5% to 2,095 who have come from 41 countries. The total exhibition area covered 64,000 m2 in six halls. More than 44,500 attendees representing 72 countries came to Munich (more than 22,800 representatives of exhibitors plus almost 21,700 other visitors without their own exhibition stands) which represents an increase of 6,6% compared to last year. The accompanying programme was divided according to topics into six discussion forums, where about 400 experts, from bankers and property specialists to forecasters gave their speeches.
The next, 22nd Expo Real will be held in Munich from 7 to 9 October 2019.
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