Financial Year 2021 – Expansion of business in Western Switzerland
By expanding its business activities in Western Switzerland in the autumn of 2021, Allreal has added to its potential for growth. The company purchased an attractive portfolio of investment properties from Geneva-based Immosynergies for around CHF 486 million. On top of that, Allreal acquired development properties with an investment volume of over CHF 700 million and the general contractor Roof SA, which will make it possible to manage these projects internally. Looking ahead to the future, Allreal has its sights set on further growth in the Lake Geneva area – further proof of the real estate company’s aspiration to be active across the whole of Switzerland.
The acquisition covers the three areas Allreal is concentrating on – growth, residential and Western Switzerland. Until now, the company has been mainly focused on the Zurich metropolitan area as well as Basel and Bern. Moving into the French-speaking part of Switzerland has improved the risk profile, as the company is geographically more diversified and reinforces the less cyclical residential share.
As an added bonus, the acquisition of general contractor Roof SA guarantees professional execution capacity in the region. With around 45 new employees on board, Allreal has taken all the necessary steps to roll out its tried-and-tested business model to Western Switzerland with success.
“More than 20 new development projects and an investment volume of over CHF 700 million have opened up huge potential for us.”
“More than 20 new development projects and an investment volume of over CHF 700 million have opened up huge potential for us,” says Stefan Dambacher, Head of Development and member of Group Management at Allreal. Most of these projects are based in the city of Geneva. The largest spaces for development are located just outside Geneva or in the neighbouring canton of Vaud. Alongside two development zones spanning more than 6,000 square metres in Confignon GE and Nyon VD, Allreal has acquired a development project in Chavannes-près-Renens VD with a plot size of over 33,000 square metres.
The regulations for new project developments in the cantons of Geneva and Vaud are different to those in many German-speaking cantons, though. “For instance, the owner of a large development space in the canton of Zurich can be required to draw up a design plan, whilst the canton takes care of city planning in Geneva and Vaud,” explains Stefan Dambacher. This means it is the canton that stipulates the density of buildings, the mix of uses and the traffic routes. As part of this urban development, however, the project developer is entitled to build on the gross floor space they have bought.
By keeping on project development staff and acquiring general contractor Roof SA, Allreal is ensuring it has the skills and expertise on the ground. Romain Farcy is responsible for Allreal’s development projects in Western Switzerland. With a degree in business administration behind him, he has dedicated his career to date to project development, concentrating on projects in the cantons of Geneva and Vaud over the past eleven years.
“Greenhouses used for growing fruit and vegetables originally stood on this land.”
At the moment, the focus is on the “Les Anciennes Serres” project in Chavannes-près-Renens. Allreal is planning a mixed-use development project across an area equivalent to almost five football pitches. “Greenhouses used for growing fruit and vegetables originally stood on this land,” explains Farcy. “Our project will create a new district between Lausanne and Renens, providing commercial and residential space and meeting high sustainability standards.” The plan is to achieve Minergie-P-Eco certification for the buildings. Allreal is planning to add some of the spaces to its portfolio of yield-producing properties or sell them as condominiums.
But there is still so much to do before that point is reached. Currently the usage plan (plan d’affectation) is being developed and should be published publicly this year,” says Romain Farcy. There is usually another revision stage before this becomes final, which Allreal is anticipating in 2023. “The preliminary project for the underground garage is running in parallel to provide the starting point for further coordination with the neighbours,” explains Farcy. Once the usage plan has been made official, the next step is the planning permission. That means that there is a long way to go before diggers turn up to make a start on the building phase of the project.
As of February 2022, Anne-Marie Loeillet is heading up Allreal’s activities in Romandie. A qualified architect (DPLG-SIA-REG A) with a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Stuttgart, she is the ideal person for the job of making the most of the potential in Western Switzerland. In her most recent position as CEO of PCM Opérateur Urbain SA, she proved herself to be a decisive and driving force when it came to pushing the development and creation of the residential and business district Le Quartier de l’Etang in Geneva. “The development properties offer us huge potential to build attractive, sustainable and high-quality projects that help to provide urgently needed housing in Western Switzerland,” says Anne-Marie Loeillet.
“We have huge potential to create sustainable and high-quality projects.”
In the short to medium term, Allreal is profiting from its newly acquired yield-producing properties generating an annual target rental income of around CHF 15 million. Looking to the longer term, the company is securing further potential for growth thanks to development projects in Western Switzerland and further own projects arising as a result. When it comes to the pillars of growth, residential and Western Switzerland, Allreal has taken important steps in the right direction.