Trends in certified real estate projects

The projects providing opportunities for good balance between work and personal life will prevail

– The sector of warehousing is growing in order to support the expanding needs of e-commerce and shopping by phone
– The role of shopping malls will decline with the rise of e-commerce
– The lower maintenance and operation costs  of  sustainable projects provide them with a competitive advantage over conventional buildings

The increasing importance of certified real estate projects was discussed on an online conference, organized by RINFOR. It took place at the beginning of May and focused on the market needs of sustainable projects. Bulgaria was exclusively represented by the project Sofia Airport Center. Julian Edwards, CEO of Tishman International Companies – the owner and developer of Sofia Airport Center, presented the trends in sustainable projects and the expectations of the market for such buildings. Among the main advantages of sustainable projects appeared to be the reduced maintenance and operating costs throughout their lifespan, compared to conventional buildings.

Julian Edwards discussed the trends in office, warehouse and retail space, based on the increasingly important role of rational energy use and conservation, which is among the main objectives of sustainable development.

“The real estate market is becoming more and more sensitive toward the sustainability of projects that are offered. In addition, many global Companies have requirements, where possible to occupy green certified offices. This will stimulate property owners to invest efforts and to work seriously toward offering more and more sustainable developments or they will see their rental values reduce,” explained Julian Edwards.

As long as the decision to build a certified building is taken at the inception stage of the development, the additional costs are very minimal – maybe 1-2% of the value of the project. At the same time, the savings of a certified building through its whole life for maintenance and operation are significant. Usually, the statistics in the U.S. shows between 25-30% savings compared to conventional buildings. Tenant savings usually result from a direct impact of lower utility bills passed on from the owner less water use, less waste water treatment requirement, lower electrical consumptions, and less gas consumption, a very large portion of which is based on properly balancing/commissioning the building and educating users on efficient use of the building. Improved comfort reduces the dissatisfaction of the employees and increases their productivity. Indirectly, sick leaves are significantly reduced.

Some of the challenges and the opportunities which property owners and developers of office, warehouse and retail projects include:


Future generations will look to successfully combine work and personal life/entertainment. Mixed use projects will take advantage of this as they can offer opportunities for maintaining this balance.

The workspace requirements will include open space, breakout and recreation areas, coffee shops, variety of dining facilities, sports facilities.

The globalization of companies and businesses will increasingly require more and more offices to work 24 hours a day/7 days a week.


This sector will grow and develop in order to support the e-commerce/shopping by phone. Mini hubs will have to be developed in order to service e-commerce requirements to deliver items quickly and efficiently. Furthermore, the convenient/grocery stores will need constant servicing from local hubs because of their limited retail space.

Efficient distribution space will be key, as there are many obsolete warehouses which are lacking the possibility of being able to install modern technology and racking systems. In addition, they are often too remote to accommodate same day deliveries to the major cities. This is going to produce a lot of activity in the warehousing sector in the coming years with old warehouses being retrofitted, where possible, and new ones being built.


The shopping malls’ potential will decline with the rise of e-commerce; however, the large stores will continue to exist as they provide services that people want. In retail, another type of trade will gain more popularity – the “click and collect,” where people who buy online but can collect their purchases from the retailer rather than having the goods delivered to their home or workplace. Also a follow up to this is impulse purchasing which will have a large significance to retailers. Retailers will have to adapt and adopt the new market situations as they change.