© Thibaut Voisin
Five years after being set up, Woodeum continues to grow without making it a frantic race. Meeting with the co-chairs of the specialist in low-carbon construction, particularly CLT solid wood.
Leaders League. What is your understanding of the real estate market in 2019?
Philippe Zivkovic. We are very confident of what the market will hold because interest rates are expected to stay low, which will go a long way to supporting demand in the residential market. In addition, ecological issues are now an important issue for society and wooden construction is attracting an increasing number of buyers - a trend that’s likely to increase. All the ingredients are there to ensure a rosy future for the wooden housing sector.
Guillaume Poitrinal. In terms of commercial real estate, about 2.5 million square meters went on the market last year and 30 billion euros were invested. The market is healthy and should still be strong this year as the vacancy rate has hit a low. As the vast majority of new buildings are being leased before delivery, rents are rising again and international investors appear to have a strong appetite for France.
What will your development strategy be under these conditions?
P.Z. Since our company was set up four years ago, Woodeum has built and delivered 250 homes. Last year, we began work on 450 and plan to double that figure in 2019. In commercial real estate, we operate under the brand of our subsidiary WO2 which has a development pipeline of 140,000 square meters including the Arboretum in co-promotion with BNP Paribas Real Estate. This 120,000-square-meter complex will be the largest tertiary campus ever built in solid wood in the world.
We hope to add 50,000 square meters of office space to our pipeline every year. At the same time, we diversified into low-carbon construction and were selected by the investors in the Montparnasse tower in central Paris to help them restructure the property. Although we are currently working mainly in the greater Paris area with about thirty projects as well as a partnership on five sites with the RATP, we are also present in the various regions of France, with a project of 120 homes in the Lyon Confluence development, in the south of the city, and the Hyperion tower, currently being developed with Eiffage Immobilier in Bordeaux.
What are Woodeum’s medium term ambitions?
G.P. We aren’t in a frantic race for growth. We give priority above all to the quality of the projects with a deliberately limited but effective team that is very agile and close to the ground. Our 2019 business volume should continue to grow significantly on 2018, which, at 160 million euros, was already double that of 2017. Woodeum will therefore continue to confirm its position as the leader in CLT solid wood construction in France.