Alexandru Hagea, GM Triple Living RO – Riverside Residence will grow organically as a flower that grows into the forest
Alexandru Hagea is General Manager for the Riverside Residence project, born in Bucharest, but raised in Belgium since the age of 6 months and returned to Romania in 1998 out of a passion for our country. In his opinion, Riverside Residence will definitely be a real estate project with a high standard of living for Romanians, based on some very successful principles in Belgium.
We spoke with Alexandru Hagea about the vision for Riverside Residence, the present and future development, including the strengths of the project and the difficulties encountered in the development.
- You are entering phase 2 of the construction of houses, with the extension of a sector of about 70 houses to reach a total of 120 houses by 2020.The Riverside project is developed to become a neighbourhood of over 2000 houses, a small rural town or an urban commune. What is the plan for the future, what to expect?
Currently, the urban development project is in the design phase, undertaken entirely by the company Arcas (Belgium), as a vision, urban thinking, symbiosis with nature, urban infrastructure. Arcas will design a project that will dictate the development of a city of at least 100 hectares with houses that will be built up close to the forest, with the possibility of diverting the natural river and other facilities absolutely necessary for an autonomous community. The plan is designed for the next 5 – 10 years and we are looking forward to the first 3D renderings. We are impressed by the collaboration with the design firm Arcas and we rely on this vision to achieve our dream.
- What were the technical and aesthetic requests for the design of the new house models from the Riverside Residence real estate project?
I have learned a lot from the feedback of current and potential clients over the last 3 years. Most people who want to buy houses in the suburban area of Bucharest want a property for which it is worth to drive outside the capital for another 15 – 20 minutes. They need a larger living area, 90 – 120 square meters of useful space, with spacious and well-divided kitchen, with a larger and more spacious bedroom, including garden spaces.
In order to fall within the 5% VAT or the First House (Prima Casă) limit, we have expanded the space of new house constructions up to 120 square meters of useful space, and the dimensions for land can be considerably expanded, over 250 square meters, due to the change of the law this year.
In the first phase of construction, we were limited by the construction space determined by the First House (Prima Casă) program and the limit of the tax code. In second phase, we increased the space built by one meter on each side of the house, so we managed to obtain additional spaces for comfort.
We rethought the positioning of the sockets, the positioning of the baths, the leaks and other technical details. We learned from past experience, each owner wants extra storage space in the attic. In second phase of construction, we thought to install for future Riverside residents connection points for the installation of electrical terminals, to allow the recharging of electric cars near each house.
We are thinking about the future of our community. We will propose to the clients to access state-funded non-reimbursable funds for the installation of solar panels on the roof that covers over 50% of the electricity consumption. We want to become an autonomous and sustainable community, with a low energy footprint.
- What expectations do you have from the evolution of the Riverside project, at what stages from Master Plan did you reach and how do you see the development in the future? What will Riverside Residence look like in 5 years, what about in 10 years?
We are thinking of an organic evolution in terms of development plans and investment plans. We adapt according to the demand and the needs of the people in the community. In 10 years, Riverside Residence will be a major community, with thousands of residents, but quiet and relaxed and very well organised. At present, we make sure that people are not affected by the evolution of constructions. The expectations of the people are that the project is planned head-to-tail, and the stages that we follow are thought in advance and refined along the way.
We want Riverside Residence to grow organically, like a flower that grows into the forest.
Riverside Management – the mobile administrative application
We are already working on the Beta version for a simple to use mobile application for Riverside residents called Riverside Management. Each resident, after signing the final contract, receives a Username and a Password, and through the application they can view their contract history, payments to utilities (water consumption and maintenance fee), signalling any problems through a ticketing system, reservations at the multisport field, including many other administration services through direct communication with the administrator, all in real time and very user-friendly.
- What are the difficulties that you encountered in developing the project?
We had administrative difficulties, obtaining the approvals for Enel, Romanian Waters, the Zonal Urbanistic Plan and other such certifications, but we managed to obtain them all, with patience and confidence that we designed and built according to the law. Triple Living NV is the largest real estate developer in Belgium, and they are accustomed to a very fast pace of work on approvals, permits, certificates. The unpredictability of these confirmation terms creates discomfort for a western developer. We are their local partners, and some things do not depend on us, we do our best to achieve their goals.
- What is the Triple Living philosophy for Riverside Residence on the real estate development scene in the Bucharest region?
In Belgium, Triple Living NV creates areas of interest, real estate areas of attraction, urban centres. They buy land with an advantageous position and re-urbanise them with all the necessary facilities. It all starts with the design, and then they are put into practice. They came to Romania to apply the same model to Riverside Residence; they sensed that Bucharest will expand – extended subway, highway, and beltway. Currently, the metropolis of Bucharest is suffocated, and people will migrate for sure in the near future to the suburbs, if the authorities comply with their infrastructure plans, then yes, the metropolitan area of Bucharest can be compared with Brussels, Munich or Budapest.
We are far from the European (Belgian, so to speak) thinking, the idea of moving residents from the city to the suburbs to live in peace and quiet, with fast access to the city, with high mobility, is only a vision for the future. Belgians see in perspective, we as Bucharest people live in a space limited by the mirage of urban agglomeration and semi-accessibility in the capital. Belgians believe in developing the metropolis to the North West, where Riverside Residence is located, Romanians are still looking for quiet oases, but not many have the courage to invest in suburban properties. Their price is low for the moment, but it will increase a lot in the next 5 – 10 years. A property at Riverside Residence is a very smart investment for those who see the potential.
- What are the strengths of the Riverside Residence project?
The biggest strength is the underground, road and urban infrastructure. Without having initially built the existing infrastructure, it would have been impossible to build what we want in the future, we are completely connected to electricity, water, gas and we have built our own sewage treatment plant with centralised sewerage. There are people who bought properties in other real estate projects and were disappointed. There are examples of cases where the current was provided by the site organisation, but we are talking about temporary current, there was never a final contract with ENEL, so people remained without power. At Riverside Residence we built smart infrastructure before any building.
- What are the weaknesses of the Riverside Residence project?
The location may be a weak spot at the moment, Riverside Residence is still considered too far for people (about the same distance as Corbeanca from the centre), but Riverside residents are thinking of a positive future. We are in a virgin area, we have built everything from scratch, we are like pioneers here, we have dug the first pit, raised the first stone, everyone has to start somewhere.
My expectations are the same as 10 years ago – a beltway on the motorway profile, because Riverside is located 4 km from the future Km 0 of this large 100 km diameter Beltway, we will be among the first connected with the new beltway of Bucharest. Infrastructure is essential for any real estate complex, connection with the road system and accessibility to public transport.
- What actions do you have planned for the near future?
We will participate in the Imobiliarium Fair, 21st-22nd September in Piața Universității.
We concluded with the Imobiliarium Fair a partnership 2-3 years ago when we were at the beginning of the development of Riverside Residence. We liked their different concept. At conventional real estate fairs, people come and take leaflets, look at the models, but do not act in particular, there is no direct connection. At the Imobiliarium Fair, there is made a registration with a bracelet that contains all the information about the profile of a potential buyer – name, budget, housing interests, maintenance budget, etc. This way, clients know how to identify us depending on what they want, and we get a direct connection with them.
Additionally, they have developed a virtual reality visit system – they have scanned the interior-exterior project and interested clients can see everything, including through a drone.
We are waiting for you at the Imobiliarium Fair, 21st-22nd September in Piața Universității.
You are always welcome at Riverside Residence.
You can contact a representative to find out more about the opportunity to purchase a property at Riverside Residence. If you like living in peace and quiet, schedule a guided tour, you are welcome here.