Gonzalo Checa Astier is Co-Founder Partner and Real Estate Director at The Tenant Solution (TTS). We reproduce below the interview that MISOFICINAS has carried out with him.
MISOFICINAS: In addition to having a Law Degree from the University of Zaragoza, Gonzalo Checa has a Master’s Degree in Real Estate from the Instituto de Empresa (IE) and a professional career of more than two decades forged in the real estate sector, both in Spain and in his 10 years abroad. What reason and when was TTS created?
Gonzalo Checa: TTS was created in 2017 by three partners who shared the vision that there are tenants who need advice from a broker that only defends them and not properties or investment funds. In countries such as France, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands … there is this figure and they work only for tenants, always respecting the maxim of defending the interest of the end-user.
MISOFICINAS: All these months there has been speculation about the return to the office in September and thanks to the higher percentage of the vaccinated population. Have you verified this factor, on the contrary, caution continues to prevail? Can we talk about demand recovery?
Gonzalo Checa: What we have verified from TTS is that employees are already returning to the offices and this is evident in greater activity at the commercial level. Now, it is true that this return occurs with a new way of working and habits that did not exist before covid-19.
MISOFICINAS: You already predicted in December 2020 a decrease in the size of the surfaces around 25%, has the prediction been fulfilled?
Gonzalo Checa: Yeah right. The vast majority of companies are opting for telecommuting and employees can work from home at least two days a week; And that is seen in that there are areas in Madrid, Barcelona or Lisbon where before it was impossible to find empty office spaces and now, on the other hand, there is greater unemployment.
In a service company, after salary cost, the second-highest cost is real estate cost.Gonzalo Checa Astier
MISOFICINAS: Have you noticed a change in the type of surfaces sought or their locations? What are the significant differences in the currently demanded workspaces compared to 2019?
Gonzalo Checa: Companies are looking for more pleasant spaces to work and now, with the new ways of working, the permanent position does not exist and you occupy the space that best suits you within your department. And we must not forget that many companies are beginning to wonder why the back-office departments work from other more pleasant cities such as Malaga, Alicante, Valencia, Lisbon … This will be an issue to consider in the future. Well, it is a question that is already being raised.
MISOFICINAS: How are new trends affecting costs?
Gonzalo Checa: Having real estate cost control is increasingly important in companies. Let’s not forget that in a service company, after salary cost, the second-highest cost is real estate and, therefore, it is a very important item. Now, anyone who makes a move cares very much that it does not affect their income statement.
MISOFICINAS: In your opinion, do all these changes present similar patterns throughout Spain or do you think that demand behaves differently, for example, in Madrid and Barcelona?
Gonzalo Checa: Not only in Madrid and Barcelona but also in Lisbon, Paris, London, New York, Boston… All markets have suffered greatly and office markets continue to do so. About Spain, I think Madrid is recovering faster than Barcelona at the moment. However, Barcelona is always a point where companies are set for the development of technology projects.
MISOFICINAS: What do you hope for the future?
Gonzalo Checa: On a professional level, we hope that TTS will continue to grow and be able to provide a global service in Europe and also with our partners in the USA. Regarding the office market, I believe that things will return to their origin because, from my point of view, productivity and the famous employee engagement decrease when he is not with his colleagues in the office sharing daily things.
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