BUILDING DESIGN

Colombia 2020 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | B2B

Mott Macdonald and Grupo M+ are two of the leading companies in the real estate sector. While the former is an international organization with a focus on sustainability, the latter is a Medellín-based company revolutionizing the industry with co-living spaces and community projects.

Hugo Bermúdez
HUGO BERMÚDEZ
Country Manager
Mott Macdonald
Andrés Felipe Mesa Trujillo
ANDRÉS FELIPE MESA TRUJILLO
CEO
Grupo M+

How has the company's presence in 150 countries helped its operations in Colombia? Can you give us an overview of the company's operations?
HUGO BERMÚDEZ Having a presence in many countries allows us to bring the knowledge and information that we have gained from our projects throughout the world to Colombia. Our biggest success has been working with investors that invest in renewable energy or transportation. We advise them throughout the process, mainly on technical, social, and environmental issues. We help them de-risk their transaction and identify the major issues and risks related to the project in order to make their investment worthwhile. We are involved in several sectors. The main ones that we are focusing on in Colombia are transportation, energy, water, digital ventures, and international development. The sector where we have had the most success is renewables. That is because of our work with several global clients working in Latin America, from Mexico to Argentina.

Co-living is an interesting concept. What have you done to adapt to this trend to the Colombian market and become pioneers in it?
ANDRÉS FELIPE MESA TRUJILLO The responsible thing is to try to understand the market and the changes that are happening because of a change in the new generation's mindset and lifestyle, which is highly influenced by technology. Family structure, the amount of family members, and priorities have all changed. So, to be responsible, we must try to understand our client. With such situations, we also have to understand that the world has become globalized. Colombia's society has been influenced by foreign cultures because people from other countries can easily come and live here. Additionally, new generations are much more likely to go abroad and return with new ways of thinking. This mix generates quick changes because of the direct influence of technology and communication. Travel also plays a huge part in the lives of younger generations. We must understand that.

Can you tell us about the El Dorado II project?
HB We won this project as part of a temporary union that was set up to design and structure the El Dorado II project. Our partners are AERTEC, a Spanish aviation engineering firm, and C&M, an advisory group based in Bogotá. We won the El Dorado II project in December 2016, but the project has experienced some delays. Our client, the National Infrastructure Agency (ANI), has to decide on the future of the El Dorado II project according to the government's plans and figure out whether new the airport in Bogotá will be a government or private initiative. We understand that discussions with Aerocivil are ongoing to ensure its endorsement of the development plans. At present, we are waiting for technical analyses on other initiatives that might have an edge in terms of scope and purpose over El Dorado II project. This will allow us to determine the best way to move forward with the project.

You built Energy Living, which, in terms of architecture, is an emblematic building in Medellín. Can you tell us about the thought process behind it?
AFMT We came up with the idea for Energy Living after understanding the public and looking at how Medellín has developed as a city. When we started the project, we found that there were many single or divorced people as well as couples who did not have a housing solution suitable to their lifestyles. They had to buy family units that they did not identify with. With Energy Living, we intend to provide a solution that gives them a lifestyle not previously offered in the real estate market. We wanted to create a community project for single people and young couples.

What is your perspective on bringing in the right partners and increasing your market share in Colombia's renewable energy sector?
HB For us, there are two main things. One is to spend time with the developers of projects in Colombia, whether private or public, help them identify their funding needs, and connect them with global clients. The second is working with our client engagement leaders globally to introduce those projects. There are opportunities for us in the water, transportation, and energy sectors. Our plan is to continue to grow by another 15% in 2020.

What is your strategy to attract investors?
AFMT The strategy is to do things well. It is about understanding the market and giving an appropriate response. Investments are a consequence of this work because they are done consciously and in the best way. Bringing in investors is a result of the same projects.