“Tiriac’s ex right hand”

Although he joined ECE team in 2006, he is still known as Tiriac’s ex right hand for who he worked in 2001-2005.

“I don’t know why even after 3 years people still identify me with Tiriac, maybe because I’ve worked there for a long time, and we’re still in good ties”, said Radu Merica, adding that at Tiriac Holding he had his first contacts with the Romanian economy.

His “heyday” years were not at Tiriac, but when he was an assistant at Technical University of Munich, one of the oldest and noted universities of Germany.

Radu Merica left Germany in 1992, at the age of 23, aiming at following the PhD studies, because back then, the chemist-physicist profession was dying. In Germany however, he discovered another world and other visions.

“That is where I truly grasped the role of a university and how the Germany’s higher education system and the world research system actually work. Those were my best years”, says the leader of Europe’s one of the largest shopping center developer.

Once in five years you should reflect upon whether you want to stay on this job, to stay in the industry or not. Some friend of his, as Merica continued, have changed their jobs or country once in three years regardless to their professional training or previous job.

“It does keep you in shape and in the race. Today, in crisis, there are fields that just won’t have the power to stay running: if you posses the required qualifications and you are willing to change jobs, you would find a source of income in the end. But what if you are over-qualified in a certain area, which at a certain point would run out of fuel? Your options would then disappear one by one”, said Radu Merica.

Local real estate market as seen from Germany

Radu Merica describes the local real estate marketplace as an atypical one, where prices have climbed at an eyebrow-raising pace. Although ECE decided to make a move in Romania one year too late, he said, the constant problem was that the prices were hiking on a daily basis.

“Not only the pressures were too high, we would receive an offer today, we would go analyze it, draw the business plan, come back with the amount requested, but the landlord had already changed his mind and instead of 600 euro/sqm, he asked 800 euros/sqm. The funny thing is that I still meet the same people today, who either hadn’t sold their properties or sold them for bargain prices”, said Radu Merica.

As for Colosseum project where ECE was the lease advisor, the construction works were massively delayed, until this year’s fall, “for rather bureaucratic reasons, than developer’s ability to complete it”.

The beneficiary, Nova Imobiliare said it would invest around 300 million euros on Colosseum trade center laid on a gross surface of 60 hectares. Although four more trade centers are under construction in Bucharest and another one recently opened, Radu Merica says the development of commercial centers has not really began.

“If we look at other European cities, such as Budapest, Prague or Warsaw, we will see the difference. I don’t like making projections, but it is very likely for the small centers in unfavorable areas to disappear in the coming years. Mistakes have been done, large amounts of money were blocked and a certain confusion and uncertainty is now reigning the market. There is the risk of actually compromising the concept of retail”, ECE representative said.