To a certain extent, EIRE may be considered as a mirror of the real estate sector. The scientific committee was convened at the beginning of the month. What were the most critical issues at the centre of the debate?
The new edition of EIRE represents a fundamental moment of reflection for all the Italian real estate community. A community that often struggles to penetrate the market, also in view of a certain “impasse” caused by national political policies. We must not forget that we are referring to a sector that, through its activity, contributes as much as 11 - 12% to GDP and represents the backbone of the economy, from which almost all the other business activities derive and that directly involves millions of workers. The underlying truth is that, in this sector, there is great need for identity: the protagonists experience it as fragile, fragmented and undefined from a content point of view. The urgent summoning of the EIRE Scientific Committee, therefore, was instigated by a variety of events that had arisen, which showed the fragmentation of the Italian real estate and the urgent need for awareness about its role and the contribution it is capable of offering to the Country. Sixty among the most important players of the sector took part at the meeting, with the presentation of the Real Estate States-General for EIRE 2011. The starting point of the debate was based on a number of specific questions that I raised during the meeting: “What is RE in Italy? Who belongs to it? Who contributes to the development of this sector? What capacity does it have to create an identity, to properly communicate its positive experiences, create dialogue between public opinion, institutions and politics?” I believe, in fact, that in sharing common interests and objectives, the most important strong point of a conscious economic community is “ideal tension” that produces the right motivation for operating, constructing and living. When I speak about “ideal tension” I mean that specific motivation that drives each person towards seeking his own “well-being”, as well as that of the whole community. The proposal of the States-General was well received by all the leading representatives, and I wish to point out, that this initiative does not expect to substitute any other possible solution, but rather, it is an attempt - with the involvement of all the players of the chain - to create greater awareness on the part of the protagonists of the real estate world.
How will the 2011 EIRE States-General be organized, What are the main objectives?
The Real Estate States-General will begin with an inaugural conference on 7th June (at 9.45 - Blue Conference Room, pav. 4, Fieramilano) and open the 3 day event. During these three days, in fact, the States-General will be divided into the various events devoted to the areas of Financing, Foreign Real Estate, Retail, Social Housing, Logistics, Renewable Sources, Hospitality & Tourism, Leisure, Stadiums & Free Time, Communication, Professions, Developers, Facility Management, Construction Systems, Universities and Public Administration. From the valuable reflections and proposals that will emerge from these encounters, and from the indications provided - that have already been acquired and developed by the most important Associations of the sector - a conclusive proposal will be drawn up: the “Manifesto of Real Estate in Italy”, that will presented upon conclusion of the works - on 9th June. The aim of the manifesto is to draw public attention to the state of the art of the Real Estate sector, the problems that need to be dealt with and the way forward.
What will EIRE 2011 be like?
We are definitely working in order to gain greater recognition, growth and attendance on the part of operators from the sector. We have already received confirmation of participation from the main subjects that took part in last year’s edition, including new developments at international level, thanks to the presence of important countries such as: Brazil, Turkey, Montenegro, USA, Serbia, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Nicaragua, Malta, Philippines, Dominican Republic, Cape Verde and Iran. The consolidated relations with the various real estate players, in fact, go to prove that EIRE has become a fundamental appointment and this is undoubtedly the result of our unfailing commitment towards developing a network of relations through daily interactions with professional operators from the sector, that helps us to focalize on the needs and objectives of operators, as well as the opportunities available on the market: EIRE thus becomes a place of synthesis, in response to the development requirements that arise throughout the year. Moreover, joining EIRE is also an investment in “knowledge”, that represents a first added value for an enterprise, above all in these difficult times, when investments are made with care and assessed with great detail in terms of quality and feasibility. Also this year in fact, the conferences will be high profile and rich in content, with institutional conferences on the most current issues of the sector. Among the hot topics: the situation of the sector in Italy, the relationship between commercial and retail real estate and social housing, with the presentation of new experiences and the permanent monitoring data, the potentiality of logistics for the development of enterprises, territorial economy and renewable energies. But not only. Training courses will be made available for the Public Administration: EIRE has always worked, and will continue to work in this direction, so that the meetings between Real Estate operators and the Public Administration become more and more fruitful. The only way, in fact, to generate development is to give support to this relationship between Real Estate operators and the Public Administration and, to this purpose, we will expend all our energies towards achieving this goal. EIRE has always worked to foster meetings between the Public Administration and the operators of the chain, by creating opportunities for a constructive exchange of views and information on the development opportunities available on the territory. When, on the contrary, this relationship process between the Public Administration and operators is not implemented, the development of the territory is hindered, thus discouraging potential interventions by international investors. Our main ambition is thus to act as a working link between these subjects, by generating a mutually constructive dialogue. Therefore, for the purpose of supporting and achieving dialogue, even this year a significant number of Training Courses will be made available, whose main topics will be: The development of Public Real estate, the New territorial governance and Financial Instruments for territorial Governance.
EIRE has started the first permanent monitoring of Social Housing projects in Italy. How is the initiative going? What are the first results?
The permanent monitoring of Social Housing projects is a unique initiative in Italy and takes place within the Social Housing Exhibition, the biggest European exhibition of social housing projects, that will take place within EIRE 2011. The monitoring project was set up with the aim of fostering a dialogue between public and private entities, involved in social housing, as a point of reference for knowledge of the market and institutions. There are several defined partnerships in support of this project. It is sufficient to mention its main partner: FONDAZIONE HOUSING SOCIALE, and others, such as ANCE, ANCI, ASSOIMMOBILIARE, AUDIS, FEDERIMMOBILIARE, LEGACOOP ABITANTI, FEDERABITAZIONE and FEDERCASA. The permanent observatory aims to monitor all those residential projects intended for new needs that involve an intermediate target, a “grey area” that may be identified with a new emerging class in the Country: students, temporary workers, non EU citizens, young couples without children, families with children and generally, those performing public services. A very heterogeneous array of people who cannot afford to buy a house and who do not even have the “right” to public housing because they are not sufficiently “poor”. To this date, the subjects involved in the monitored projects amount to 328, of which: 158 are already known and published in the 2010 SOCIAL HOUSING DOSSIER, distributed to all the EIRE Community during the fair, with 170 new subjects. Until now, the number of projects and calls for bids are 168, of which: 52 already present at EIRE 2010 and for which progress is being verified, 91 new identified projects and 25 calls for bids. The 91 projects being monitored have been identified in Basilicata, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardy, Marche, Molise, Piedmont, Tuscany, Trentino Alto Adige, Umbria and in the Veneto area; with a larger number of projects in Lombardy , where it was also possible to collect information on 10 university residences, with 28 in Umbria. Whereas, for the 25 calls for bids, the monitoring focuses on the following typologies: Public notices of interest, Calls for bids for the implementation of specific projects and for the allocation of Social Housing. The collected data will be made available online by the end of April 2011, on the EIRE site at www.italiarealestate.it in a special section, with detailed cards sorted according to project, technological, energy, financial and management parameters. The monitoring will be made available to the EIRE Community, public administrations, public residential enterprises and banking foundations. Obviously, for the monitoring system to become an effective instrument of information and a point of reference for all the Real Estate Community, it is important to be able describe the widest Social Housing framework, by collecting and describing the largest number of projects. Therefore, collaboration on the part of all the Real Estate players involved in these projects becomes fundamental, in order to afford a definite added value to this important instrument of knowledge, of an increasingly important segment of the Real Estate market.
The final monitoring results will be presented during the institutional conference dedicated to this sector on 8th June.
A very important task in my opinion is to identify this intermediate range of poor individuals. What is, in your opinion, the recipe for solving this emergency ?
In order to build houses with low social rents and meet the increasingly impelling request for houses, a number of factors must prevail: first of all, the areas must necessarily be made available at an almost zero cost, with an exclusively social function - standard areas with a non speculative cost. To this, we must add the design and building costs, which must be contained, according to the principles of eco-sustainability. This, in fact, has been subject to innovative technological and design changes, as was evident during EIRE 2010 within the Social Housing Exhibition. Finally, the role of management firms, that have the task of accompanying and supporting the persons involved in the project, that have to follow all the dynamics connected with social management, such as collecting rents. Undoubtedly, for a building company this would be too difficult to put into practice. For this reason, it is fundamental that these management firms be involved from the very start in the development and design of social housing, so as to actually guarantee the implementation of social rents and, at the same time, the sustainability of the project.
In your opinion, what could convince institutional investors to invest in our country?
The truth is that there is a great need for identity in this sector: the protagonists, in fact, experience it as undefined in terms of content and this, in the end, makes it weaker, less able to attract investments and less credible as an interlocutor of the Public Administration and protagonist of the development policies of the Country. For this reason, we believe that the time is ripe to conceive a new subject that is able to represent the whole chain: EIRE must start this process, if possible, by involving all the various protagonists.