Cushman & Wakefield celebrates 15 years in Portugal.jpg

Cushman & Wakefield celebrates 15 years in Portugal

CUSHMAN & Wakefield, one of the world’s largest privately owned real estate services firm, celebrated its 15th anniversary since its arrival in Portugal, at the Hotel Pestana Carlton earlier this month. Since 1991, Cushman & Wakefield has become a key player in the transformation of the Portuguese property market in the past 15 years, reports The Resident’s Chris Graeme.

In 1991, the company had only five people working from its Lisbon office, turning over a modest 350,000 euros in its first year. In 2006, Cushman & Wakefield expects an estimated turnover of seven million euros – 20 times more than 15 years ago.

Today, the company has 50 employees in Portugal, offering increasingly diversified and complex property services, not only in traditional areas, such as sales, leasing and renting, but also property management, project management, market evaluation and research.

Cushman & Wakefield has also had to adapt to the changes in the Portuguese property market, and the tendency for globalisation. After the fusion between Healey & Baker and Cushman & Wakefield in 1998, the firm is among the largest private property groups in the world, with 190 offices in 58 countries, employing 11,500 professionals.

Eric van Leuven, who heads the Lisbon office, said that the market in Portugal had matured considerably since 1991, when Cascais Shopping, the first regional shopping centre in Portugal, was inaugurated. From then on, more than 90 shopping complexes have sprung up nationwide, the vast majority being of the highest quality, with some winning international prizes.

He outlined how the office market sector had more than tripled in the past 15 years, from 1.2 to four million square metres, and how it had spread out, geographically speaking, from Lisbon Central to include areas such as Oeiras, Miraflores and Parque das Nações.

With regard to the industrial property market, many technology and logistic parks had developed along the new rail and road links, on a level of sophistication that can be compared to other more developed European countries.

Fifteen years ago, the real estate market was calling for a new commercial rent law – one that was less overly protective of the renter and less punitive to the owner. “Whether it is a coincidence or not, the new rent law, which came into force in July – a little late perhaps and though criticised for not going far enough in its retrospective aspects – will, no doubt, help create a more institutional property sector and much needed urban regeneration, necessary to revitalise town and cities.

“We have had the honour and privilege to collaborate in the main property developments in the country in that time, with many small and medium sized Portuguese companies, with the biggest multinationals, with the most important national and foreign investors, with big name store chains, with innovative and visionary thinking impresarios,” he said.

“We have organised conferences, produced publications and have helped put Portugal on the European map. We have fostered credibility, transparency and trust. We have actively participated in creating a better market. We have advised hundreds of clients, with our professionalism, correctness and dedicated team,” he added. “We have always tried to create firm and lasting partnerships and friendships with our clients.”

Bruce Mosler, Cushman & Wakefield Global CEO, said: “We thank both our staff professionals and clients because without you Cushman & Wakefield couldn’t have had the enormous success it has had over the past 15 years. “The Lisbon office has been of enormous importance to all Cushman & Wakefield branches throughout the world, and we deeply appreciate the commitment and loyalty that you have shown to us,” he said.

“We are here to celebrate what Eric van Leuven and his partners have achieved over the past 15 years. This is my first trip to Portugal and I have really enjoyed the past couple of days. I never knew how beautiful Portugal was and now I do; I hope to come back on a regular basis,” he concluded.