The Czech branch of developer Panattoni Europe is experiencing long-term growth. Many of its successes in recent years include the construction of a distribution centre Amazon near Prague or factory KION Group in Stříbro. The rise of the company is connected with its CEO Pavel Sovička, who manages the company since 2008. We asked him what working in Panattoni means for him.
What had attracted you to a company that is a major developer of industrial and logistics real estate?
I studied economics and before my joining Panattoni I worked for 10 years in real estate consultancy Cushman & Wakefield, in Industrial Estate Department. This field allows you to meet many interesting people from various specialized sector. Of course it is also closely tied to the economy, efficiency and not least, to selection of solutions that meets the client’s wishes best. And that’s exactly what is in the heart of industrial development. Everyone wants to manufacture or store goods economically, effectively, with low cost and environmentally friendly. The economy is alpha and omega of this system.
What the work in development sector means to you?
The developer profession is amazing, for it creates something new not only in relation to the development. I see the importance especially in creating new jobs for the whole regions. Looking back, I don’t see only tens of industrial buildings, but also thousands of people who got their jobs thanks to us. A good example is region Tachovsko. Some seven or eight years ago unemployment reached almost 15 percent in this area (an in region Kostelecko it was even 25 percent), but today’s unemployment is at a natural level, i.e. around 5-6 percent. An important help was our Panattoni Park Stříbro, which today employs over 1500 people from Tachov and Plzeň region. Within two years it would employ up to a thousand another people.
What is important in your profession? What are you most proud of?
There is more to be proud of, I would introduce just one recent example. In February we opened a new hall manufacturing forklifts for the company KION Group in Panattoni Park in Ostrov by Stříbro. Whenever we build something, I think about the final product. Not only for its importance to our client, but also for the others. For our contemporary world. And just in case of KION I realized that forklifts are absolutely crucial for this time in which the vast majority of goods are produced in industrial way. I am proud that we can participate in the development of progressive and important industries.
From number of successful projects let’s have a look at project Panattoni Simoldes Plasticos in Rychnov nad Kněžnou…
Rychnov nad Kněžnou is mainly an industrial base for Kvasiny. If there were no car plant, the location would hardly have attracted so many suppliers. Concerning the interest in the regions I would like to draw an attention to while unobtrusive Chebsko. It has gradually become from the area with the highest unemployment in the region to the second industrial gateway to Germany. In Panattoni Park Cheb we are currently building a production plant for BWI Group, a Chinese manufacturer of automotive components, also a building for the German company DHL, the global market leader in international transportation and logistics services, and we are in negotiation with many other major clients.
Panattoni in cooperation with Accolade plans another major project for DHL in Cheb. What is interesting in this project?
Distribution centre about the size of 13,600 square meters we will build at an altitude of 450 meters above sea level. This brings greater demands on planning and technology used during the construction. However, the project is particularly interesting because it confirms what I already said about Cheb industrial zone: this area is not only extremely attractive from infrastructural point of view, as it has a perfect connection to the German border, but mainly due to the unemployment, which is in comparison to other regions, such as Pilsen, still considerable. Thanks to the exemplary cooperation among Panattoni Europe, Accolade and the city of Cheb, such an interest in the zone arose, that the city is discussing with the Regional Office future expansion.
What project was your biggest challenge yet?
Of course Amazon. From the initial negotiations with the Americans, through intensive communication with local governments and citizen’s associations, to the construction itself, which was unique in the details and requirements. We built the largest industrial building in the history of Czech Republic, and we even managed to create the greenest building of its kind in the world. In the certification BREEAM International, Amazon Dobrovíz reached Excellent level with the highest score not only from all Amazon halls, but even from all the logistics halls at all. Construction of the Amazon hall was in many respects an extraordinary and unique –include the creation of five thousand new jobs. This distribution centre was awarded in many competitions in the category of new industrial development, both in the Czech Republic and in Europe, for example in the CEE Investment & Green Building Awards, CIJ Awards or Eurobuild Awards. Today, when people say Amazon in Dobrovíz, I think about prestige, strong support of employment, exceptional contribution to the region and to the local people. Nevertheless, when we recently opened bypass of Dobrovíz as a part of accompanying investment, I realized that it was an ordinary human ability to cooperate and to reach an agreement as the most important obtained experience. I wish that collaboration with Amazon would continue.
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