According to a popular saying, the three most important things in real estate are location, location, location. Is this still the case or have customer preferences changed?
This “golden” rule still stands, although in Prague, which is our primary target, the lines between individual districts have started to blur over the past few years. Of course, we can still safely say that Prague 1, Prague 2, and Prague 6 are among the top places to live. There will always be a great demand for housing there, and logically that’s associated with higher price points. But the rest of Prague is no longer segmented, and today the price per square meter of residential space is just as high as for flats in Hloubětín, Kobylisy, and Modřany. I think this isn’t a healthy sign and Prague should be divided up more. In the past, even less attractive locations sold high. We haven’t jumped on this bandwagon and the projects in our portfolio are situated in the best locations within the borough.
What criteria do you use and how do you select locations for new Neocity developments?
Above all, the site must appeal to us in terms of accessibility and future promise. Finding such a place isn’t easy, but I like to think that we’ve been successful. As a result, the developments in our portfolio are exceptional for their location.
What determines what sort of residential property you’ll build at a given site?
We base our decision on the city’s Master Plan and on the benchmarks that define the area. In the planning permission process, we try to strike a balance between the business side of the new build and respect for the site. We speak openly with our neighbours and with the borough. We don’t want to “fight the tide” and we always try to communicate our intentions as best we can. Unfortunately, we still haven’t figured out how to do certain things without making noise or dust, but nevertheless I believe that our approach to the site and its residents is excellent.
You say you’re building flats that you yourself would want to live in. Do you really live in the flats you’ve built?
Yes, we do. Several Neocity employees have taken advantage of the opportunity to buy a home “Made by Neocity” and they very much enjoy living in our/their developments.
Why should people pick a new build by Neocity over those of the competitors?
We are committed to a high standard of business. It may sound like a cliché, but we really care about client communication and we remain available for them even after the sale is made. We’re here any time they need to consult with someone about residential property. Planning a new residential development, at least in the Czech Republic, is an extremely complex and inconsistent process. In that sense, the commitment to “do it right” can get complicated; sometimes even we face having to inform clients of unforeseen changes. On the other hand, the door is always open at Neocity and we solve any issues that arise through personal action. This in turn leads to a very high level of customer satisfaction.
Right now you’re building SBH Living in Štěrboholy. What do you see as the main benefits of the development?
It is located in the heart of old Štěrboholy, which is a completely peaceful and quiet area. The development consists of sixty-nine flats in two four-storey buildings. These new homes are generously sized and are certainly not purely for investment purposes. This means that the properties are being bought by people who want to live there, not just earn a passive income. We want to lay the foundations for lasting neighbourhood relationships and an interest in keeping the homes and their surroundings well-maintained.
More and more often you’ve been offering homes with an emphasis on architectural excellence – the lofts and sharp angles at V Zahradách, for example, or the glass walls at SBH Living. Is this the direction you want to take into the future?
Probably every developer wants to leave their mark on a given location. We always try to make sure that the architecture is both functional and original. It takes a lot of work to bring these aspects together – an original architectural design, the number of flats, what size they’ll be ... and all this requires thousands of hours of planning. Given that the process from planning permission to final inspection can take up to ten years in Prague, you have to be a bit of a visionary because you’re designing a home that won’t be delivered until years down the line.
What else can we look forward to from Neocity? I hear you’re working on your biggest project yet.
We’re currently working on the plans for a relatively large-scale development in Vinoř which will revitalise a long-neglected piece of land that was once an extensive farmstead. We’ll build one hundred and thirty flats in several three-storey buildings spread over an area of almost 30,000 square metres. The development will also feature a large indoor car park for two hundred fifty cars, which allows us to ensure that movement of cars within the site is kept to an absolute minimum.
More news about the Vinoř development (and more) is coming soon!