Zdena Noack: Demand for apartments is back
We opened the first Franz by Zeitraum building with fully furnished apartments last May, so it was not an ideal time, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the interest and this year the operation run completely without any problems. This year, we are already seeing an increase in the number of foreign guests outside Europe. Roughly half of this building is rented to corporate clients on a long-term basis.
Interview by Denisa Holajova, E15 Magazine
You opened the second building with serviced apartments in the centre of Prague this month. Are the effects of the COVID-19 crisis averted?
We opened the first Franz by Zeitraum building with fully furnished apartments last May, so it was not an ideal time, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the interest and this year the operation run completely without any problems. Last year, the main key for us were Czech guests. Gradually, they were joined by clients from Germany, Poland and other European countries. This year, we are already seeing an increase in the number of foreign guests outside Europe. Roughly half of this building is rented to corporate clients on a long-term basis.
We introduced three-room apartments in the newly opened Karl by Zeitraum building in Krakovská Street.
Karl by Zeitraum is a classic apartment building. So, do you do total reconstructions with a change of layouts?
Yes, we usually do total reconstructions. Our parent company, Zeitgeist Asset Management, increases the value of old, nice buildings. By holding the properties, we are interested in high-quality reconstruction.
Zeitgeist Asset Management focuses on classic rental housing, including the purchase of apartment buildings from developers. Who are its investors whose assets it increases?
A German pension fund is one of the largest investors. When developing the concept of serviced apartments for long-term rentals, we also draw on the experience of our sister brand, Home by Zeitgeist, which provides rental housing in the Czech Republic and Poland. Its portfolio in Prague currently includes 16 buildings in reconstructed houses and new buildings.
In addition to serviced apartments, Zeitraum focuses on student accommodation under the Zeitraum Student Housing brand.
We started six years ago as a student accommodation provider with our first building, U Průhonu in Holešovice, where we currently have 260 beds. We were one of the few operators here offering a higher standard of student accommodation. Today we have three other smaller buildings in Holešovice, Žižkov and Vinohrady.
We have many students from America, Europe and Asia, but also Czech students who are willing to pay for higher quality. We want to focus more on them in the future. Now we are very much oriented towards American universities because we have long-term contracts with them. We also accommodate young professionals who just graduated.
There is also a large group of students from the former Soviet Union countries in Prague.
Yes, we also have Ukrainians and students from other post-Soviet states, it’s a mix. Of course, after the outbreak of the war, we offered Ukrainian students support, namely free accommodation for three months. Family members came to be with some of them. We also offer student accommodation in Cracow, Poland and there are about 80% of Ukrainian students, regardless of the current situation.
In which other countries does Zeitraum operate?
In addition to Poland, we are planning projects in Germany and Italy. For example, in Poland there are hardly any American or Russian students. On the contrary, apart from Ukrainians, there is a relatively large community of students from the Baltics, Scandinavian countries, but also, for example, Turkish students. Germany is completely different in terms of the quality of student accommodation. There’s a lot more competition there. However, we know the German market well, so we are able to assess opportunities. There are a number of investors in Germany who are currently converting buildings into student accommodation.
What are your plans in the Czech Republic?
We want to head outside the capital. For example, Brno, Plzeň or Ostrava are interesting regional markets.
Photo Dominik Kučera
Written by DENISA HOLAJOVÁ for E15 Magazine, Czech RepublicBack to the list