Article Expresso Economy | 10 October 2020
Israeli group Fortera invests € 80 million in Gaia
Project includes a hotel, a congress center and apartments
“The Skyline project is unique and brings together an ecosystem of commerce, services, residential, hospitality and leisure in two buildings”, says Elad Dror, executive director and one of the founders of the Fortera group, of Israeli capital.
The “jewel of the project is a congress and exhibition center that will make it possible to transform Gaia into a central city with facilities for major events and exhibitions”, adds Elad Dror.
The Skyline, which will be served by 600 parking spaces, was designed for Rua General Torres, at the rear of the City Hall of Gaia, on a 26 thousand square meter plot, with the possibility of building 45 thousand square meters above the ground. The project will have two construction phases: a 260-room hotel, which will also have apartments, in a 20-story building. A second phase will be “a congress center for two thousand people, served by a square and shops, to enhance leisure activity”. “In total, there will be 16 thousand square meters of offices and 10 thousand square meters for the residential and commercial area”, adds Elad Dror.
SOUTO DE MOURA ON THE EQUATION
The architecture of the congress center and the hotel must be designed by Souto de Moura, but Elad Dror does not take the choice. “He is one of the most important architects in the country, we are working on the agreement and we will announce the decision soon,” he says. As a guarantee, only that “it will be an emblematic project for Gaia and also for Porto and will bring about a great change, it will create many jobs, placing the region on the map of major world exhibitions and congresses”.
The € 80 million investment “will be supported by equity”, guarantees the administrator of Fortera, which has other investments in the North of the country. With the sale of the square meter between € 3,000 and € 5,000, Fortera expects to deliver 60 more apartments by the end of the year, divided between Porto, Gaia and Espinho. Some of these dwellings “resulted from changes in hotel projects, which were converted into residential units, with greater importance for the external area, with the inclusion of terraces, which are now essential” due to the pandemic.
“We concluded, between 2016 and 2019, nine projects, with a total investment of approximately € 21 million, and we invested another € 45 million in acquisitions during 2019. The total investment we currently have in the pipeline is more than € 250 million”, says . Elad Dror does not fail to criticize the restrictions that are preparing for the gold visa regime. “It is exactly the opposite of what should be done and it will be a disaster for the economy”, he anticipates.
The administrator guarantees that the Fortera group “is ‘unleveraged’, with little bank exposure”, so he predicts that the construction of the Skyline will start as early as 2021, in a work that “will take approximately two to three years to finish”.
DIFFICULTIES UNTIL SEPTEMBER 2021
For the next year, the administrator recognizes that “the first three quarters will be difficult”, but assumes that the attraction of foreign investment can help to move the economy, create business and jobs. “The fundamentals have not changed: the climate, the people, the gastronomy and the security”, he says. For this reason, he guarantees, the group has underway “the preparation of two real estate funds to continue investing in the residential market, street commerce and logistics”.
Among the investments is the transformation of Convento do Carmo, in Braga, which “will be converted into a residential building”, and in Gaia awaits the licensing of three towers to “start a residential project”, he concludes.