How to create a valuable offer for clients and investors in the development industry? Interview with Marianelly Hernández Reyna, Managing Director of Syrena Invest

How to create a valuable offer for clients and investors in the development industry? Interview with Marianelly Hernández Reyna, Managing Director of Syrena Invest

What competences and skills are most important to successfully develop and manage a real estate development company on the Polish market?

Managing a development company requires combining various competencies. It requires to good knowledge of the real estate market, along with technical and legal erudition, which allows you to have insight into regulations. What’s more, soft skills are important, such as flexibility and the ability to conduct dialogue between various groups involved in the project. A developer whose goal is to conduct an investment effectively must skilfully combine number of interests, e.g. architects, technical specialists and general contractor. This is extremely important, because the market in Poland is still characterized by significant volatility of regulations that need to be adapted to. Therefore, the ability to respond appropriately and understand the needs of each party is invaluable.

How can international experience and a combination of intercultural knowledge help in operating in Poland?

The experience gained on the international market is a resource that allows us to draw interesting and valuable conclusions for strategic planning, which in turn translates into the ability to withstand an adverse change within the company. Therefore it provides investors with the expected return on capital and meets customer needs.

For years, Poland and Spain have been compared with each other, one can find many similarities resulting from the economic development, dimension or potential of the countries. Nevertheless, many indicators referring to the real estate market are very different. For example, according to the data from the report on the housing market prepared by Bank Pekao, Poland, compared to the European Union countries, recorded one of the highest increases in the volume of building construction in 2022 on the wave of projects launched in previous years. The apartment building is an important part of this segment, as it accounts for about 40% of its value. Nevertheless, although Poland remained one of the most active residential construction markets in the EU in 2022 in terms of ongoing works, it is also the country that recorded the strongest decrease in the volume of building permits issued for new investments.

International experience allows me to understand these local conditions well. For example, one of the characteristics of the Polish housing market is the high popularity of housing purchases, by EU standards. In Poland, only 13% of households live in rented premises, while in EU countries this indicator is more than twice as high. In Spain it is 24%, and in Germany even around 50%. Moreover, in recent years it has shown a downward trend in Poland, while in the EU it has been slightly increasing. This is partly the result of historical events, economic factors, but also cultural ones – a mental barrier against living in non-owned premisses. I find such data as a potential for the development of the Polish real estate market.

Syrena Invest recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. What were the key events in the company over the years?

Over 15 years of activity in Poland is a significant time that allowed us to get to know our clients, their needs and the Warsaw market. Syrena Invest has been developing at ease and steadily from the very beginning. We approach each investment project with great prudence and caution, which is why its individual milestones are always important events for our team. If I had to recall such moments, it would definitely be finalising the Klukowska investment in Warsaw’s Targówek district in April of this year, as well as the commencement of the intimate Racławicka 7 investment in Mokotów at that time. We are developing and we are able to take on more and more tasks. We also see a sign of optimism and satisfaction of our investors, who gain a sense of security by investing capital in the projects of an experienced partner.

A very important time for the company was also the implementation of the Mińska 63 project in Warsaw’s Kamionek district 5 years ago. It was our first investment, which was joined by a second independent investor.

We are currently at the stage of incorporating new partners and investors into cooperation. We are gradually moving towards the Family Office Deal Club by creating an organization that will increase our operational capabilities. This form of raising funds for investments will carefully and gradually open up opportunities for us to undertake larger tasks. It will provide the opportunity to raise capital necessary to implement the development strategy by increasing the land bank and thus allowing for projects outside of Warsaw.

It is worth emphasizing that the company’s position is becoming more and more established and its image recognizable. Thanks to scrupulous selection of investment locations and their quality at the design and execution stage, we are perceived as a developer with a premium offer. We apply the utmost care to our offer and customer service, which is also reflected in our visual identification. The change of the logotype, which we carried out two years ago to a more elegant, monochromatic one, was also aimed at emphasizing the maturity of the Syrena Invest brand.

According to your expertise what the ideal developer should be like? What should be the main focus and is a priority for Syrena Invest on this path?

In my opinion, the ideal developer is a company that provides security to customers through the right selection of business partners, good investment projects, timeliness and quality of implementation. We realize how unstable the market can be, whether due to conditions related to the business cycle or other events that are difficult to predict. This has an impact on the stability of partners throughout the value chain. That is why today the most important thing is to minimize the risk, ensure a sense of security for customers, as well as provide comprehensive advice, obtaining financing, individual project selection, interior design, and finishing works. Syrena Invest believes in such a philosophy of operation. We are partners of our clients who understand their needs and situation and real potential well.

In what areas is there room for innovation in building a good developer offer?

We express our innovation primarily by introducing pro-ecological solutions that are conducive to the green transformation, but also those that have a real impact on the comfort and consumer’s savings. Syrena Invest may feel like a precursor in this topic, because more than two years ago it introduced a rainwater management system in the Klukowska 54 investment. It was one of the few such development projects in Warsaw. Thanks to the implemented installation, buyers of flats will incur lower costs of water supply, sewage and water disposal to municipal sewage systems, and solid waste management. According to experts’ calculations, the apartment owner will be bale to save from 15% to 35% of the fees.

An open approach to customer needs, consistent with environmental and economic goals, is a necessity today, and it can be implemented in many ways. It is also a good accessibility of public transport, thanks to which residents can reduce car transport, or taking into account the insolation of individual rooms at the stage of apartment design so as to make the most of daylight, and thus save electricity. There is space in our company to do so. The intimate dimension of the investment allows the architects and the team to focus on developing the best possible design for each apartment.

Syrena Invest is involved in pro-social activities. Where is it resulting from?

We take actions going beyond ordinary expectations of customer. This is due to our operating philosophy. As our team is attentive to the needs of customers, the company also looks at the environment and initiatives that are happening nearby. I believe that real success in business can only be achieved when we remember about social inequality. The world is getting better thanks to the sensitivity of people who work in foundations and companies open to important initiatives. If we have the ability to help and share resources, we should do so.

It is a privilege to be involved in a social initiatives and give away as much as we are capable to. Recently, it was supported by the Foundation for the Development of Cardiac Surgery. Professor Zbigniew Religa through active participation and presence in the charity calendar, from which the funds obtained were allocated to the research area of the Foundation, which implements innovative heart treatment techniques and spreads knowledge in the field of modern cardiac surgery. We also supported the construction of a monument dedicated to the Women of the Warsaw Uprising, which was unveiled on the Day of Remembrance of the Civilian Population of the Warsaw Uprising. Syrena Invest tries to have a real impact not only on the future of the city through housing investments, but also to keep the memory of important events alive.

How do you see the future of the company? What would you like to achieve in 5 or 10 years?

Syrena Invest suppose the creation of high-quality and comfortable housing projects for clients, which will equally fit into the surroundings. We want to focus on what is most important, i.e. implement good investments, which also requires a favourable legal environment and established rules of operation. We hope that this will be the case and developers will gain certainty and stability regarding the requirements and regulations. This is a prerequisite for effectively and safely reducing the housing gap in Poland for customers and investors. With each subsequent year, we want to successfully implement even more housing investments with premium brand standards and observe the comfort and satisfaction of customers who decide to purchase apartments from our offer.

Marianelly Hernández Reyna, CEO of Syrena Invest, associated with Warsaw for over 20 years. A graduate of International Relations at the University of Warsaw, Political Science at the Institute of Political Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Collegium Civitas and a Certified Project Manager (E&A Academy of Business). She has 15 years of experience in project management in the construction, real estate and renewable energy industries. Since 2017, at Syrena Invest, she has been responsible for co-creating and implementing a comprehensive development strategy and building brand recognition and credibility on the Warsaw market. She believes that the company’s success is based on the cooperation of a professional, harmonious and committed team, both employees and external cooperators. From 2018 till 2020, she was a member of the Council of the Polish-Spanish Chamber of Commerce, and since 2019, she has been a member of the Polish-Latin American Business Council. Industry personality of 2021 honored by the monthly magzine: Builder.

Last Updated on July 4, 2023 by Anastazja Lach