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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » March 5, 2008
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Growing Dynamically
March 5, 2008   
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Konrad Bagiński talks to Hadley Dean, Managing Partner of Colliers International Poland.

When did Colliers start out? I'm interested in the company's history.
Colliers International is an international partnership that began in 1898 when a Canadian and an Australian businesses got together to build an international company. We're still very strong in Canada, both Americas, Australia and Asia. The partnership is growing stronger in Central Europe, Southern Europe and the Balkans. We also have a presence in Russia and Ukraine, so we are becoming more active in this part of the world.

When did you decide to come to Poland?
Eight years ago. I was living in Prague at the time and the company asked me to move to Warsaw, because of our potential business here. Those days were very different from now.

How would you compare Prague to Warsaw?
Warsaw is the business capital of Central Europe. It is a very dynamic city where people have a task-oriented approach to work.

What does Colliers do in Poland?
We provide a wide range of commercial real estate services such as leasing, buying, selling and managing, as well as project management of property developments. We also perform valuations and offer market research and consultancy services.

What services are most popular and most necessary?
Representing tenants is probably what we are best known for. We don't represent any developers but we do represent tenants like Deloitte, Unilever and many others. Representing tenants gives us a lot of information on what is happening on the market, as well as some incredibly valuable data that give us a competitive advantage.

Who are your main clients, apart from Deloitte and Unilever?
UPC, Shell, Cap Gemini, Akron Group, Immoeast Fund and a lot of others. Our property management department is a rapidly expanding area with clients such as Pramerica, Europolis, Skanska Property Poland and Catalina Group.

Does Colliers only operate in Warsaw?
We have offices in Warsaw, Cracow and Wrocław and we're planning to open in Poznań and Gdansk. We want to be a national business by 2009.

Could you compare Poland to other CEE markets?
No, Poland is the heart of Central Europe. It is too large to be compared with other CEE markets. The Czech Republic and Hungary, for example, each have only one city that could be compared with Poland's five or six largest cities. Poland is much more dynamic than any other CEE market.

How is Colliers going to develop those regional markets in Poland?
We are hiring highly qualified people and we're aiming to be the best company in Poland to work for. We're very different from other companies in that we really are a partnership. Our business has 12 partners and this gives us stability for future growth.

How may people work for Colliers?
We currently employ more than 100 and this will grow to 150 by the end of 2008. We hired 40 people in 2007 and we're still growing.

We've have four key values in managing the business. First, we want to be a family business that you can trust, respect and rely on. Second, we believe in partnership with our clients. Next comes innovation. We have to be quicker and smarter than our competitors. Finally, we believe in work hard, play hard. That pretty much sums up our business philosophy.

I know that hotelier Alex Kloszewski works for Colliers.
Yes, Colliers CEE has a hospitality investment division. Alex is one of the leading hotel experts in the region. It is great to have people of this caliber on board, and working with the Warsaw Destination Alliance is one of the reasons we're growing so rapidly. Alex is the chairman of WDA, an association of Warsaw's premier hotels. This is his pride and joy and it accounts for a large part of our business.

What has been Colliers's largest transaction in Poland?
I think that advising on acquiring the Warsaw Trade Center building, formerly known as the Daewoo building, would have to be our largest transaction to date.
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