The Business Year

Helder Pereira Coelho

PORTUGAL - Real Estate & Construction

Helder Pereira Coelho



Helder Pereira Coelho began his academic career in Business Management, followed by a degree in Architecture. He was connected to HCI Construções S.A., where he followed all its major works, from architectural projects to construction management. Still at HCI, he was directly linked to national and international projects, taking part in the reconstruction of some buildings in Chiado after the 1988 fire. In the 90s he created Architecture TOTE SER to manage and add value in a park of real estate assets of national and foreign investors/owners, an experience that led to the increase of his portfolio of assets under management, as well as to an increase in their profitability. In 2005 he attended the 31st PADE at AESE Business School.

TBY talks to Helder Pereira Coelho, CEO of TOTE SER, about the status of the Portuguese real estate market, tourism and hospitality, and incorporating sustainability into projects.

How does TOTE SER distinguish itself from its competition in the real estate and construction sector?

TOTE SER is a different architecture company. We are a company focused on real estate assets, adaptable and flexible. With 30 years of experience, and having been through two real estate crises, we acquired great expertise and know-how. We have created a platform that attracts people for new investments (pools of investors). Our mission is to create spaces that provide quality of life, both for the user and the investor. The greater the user’s well-being, the greater the investor’s profitability, integrating aesthetics, comfort and functionality. Our goal is to optimise both spaces and investment resources, establishing partnerships with architecture studios for specific projects for real estate investment. We have a lot of experience working with large surface areas, targeted for those with high purchasing power. We present the business opportunity to investors and then carry out an architectural project with contained costs but of very high quality, working as well on the construction and commercialisation of the projects. In the majority of the projects we carry out we are also co-investors, ensuring optimal results, since we receive profits from that project as well. TOTE SER also handles rehabilitation and renovation projects. We started with reconstruction projects to restore the Chiado area affected by the great fire and continued from there. We renovated three building for investment in that area, buildings that had been deeply affected by fire. We currently have many projects for the renovation in Principe Real, Graça, Lapa: these are all old and beautiful areas of the city that are on the radar of big investors. 

How are you positioned to capitalize on Portugal’s burgeoning tourism and hospitality sectors?

We are focused on real estate in tourism. We have a specific project in Algarve, an anti-aging condo with a hospital of around 22,000sqm, which is big. The project we are working on has 187 beds.  This is an ecological undertaking, totally autonomous in terms of energy consumption. It has a photovoltaic farm that powers the entire project which covers an area of something around 124ha. The project will be characterized by a four- or five-star hotel with 14,750sqm, integrated by an apartment hotel of 6,000sqm. In total we have 77,000sqm, with an overall investment of EUR251 million.

What emphasis are you placing on the concept of sustainability and how is it applied to your project?

We like the idea of creating projects in line with the best international standards but maintaining a strong local component.  We build using mainly local materials, as well as applying natural recycled raw materials. Speaking of our Algarve project, we have a special golf course that uses ecological water resources, an optimal resource use for the maintenance of the golf course. To optimize our ecological imprint, we established a strategic alliance with a French architecture studio that is specialised in high-level ecological projects with BRIM certification. For us, each project and each undertaking are an opportunity to search for the best viable solutions. We also work with renowned ateliers to guarantee that all architects that collaborate with us have the necessary professional experience and that are better adapted to the characteristics of each projects, with this being another optimization factor. For each venture we create a team with architects and engineers, overseen by inhouse TOTE SER smaller team, to handle every single phase of the project, with a focus on sustainability from the planning phase. 

Can you anticipate your short-term objectives?

We want to guide our projects by the eco co-working co-living model. The idea is to create the first of these models, with high-quality and ecologically responsible projects. We want to focus on ecology that promotes high quality within and outside of the city as well as to continue to add value and high profitability to our patrimony. To have an adequate development, we need a strong potential. Some investors, and us as co-investors, have assets in areas such as Principe Real, Lapa, Chiado, among others, which are areas of interest. We are working on all the development phases for these projects, where exists a high interest to buy and promote more projects. During the pandemic and post-pandemic phases the demand to invest in Portugal was high. At this moment, we will continue to focus on work in Lisbon, close to Lisbon and in Algarve, while at the same time surveying other areas of the country. Algarve is currently attracting a lot of investment. The demand is high and we are ready to capitalize on that.  



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