Artur Sutor: With no conflict of interest, we have a much better focus on what tenants need
We often hear from tenants that they can’t find an office that would meet their requirements or secure acceptable lease conditions. Only through long conversations with an advisor and negotiations with a landlord can we create the right product, that is a bespoke office, says Artur Sutor, Partner, Head of Office Department, Cresa Poland.
Artur Sutor has worked in commercial real estate for 18 years. He has always sided with tenants because he likes to build relationships, define needs and fight for them at the negotiation table, he says.
“To conduct negotiations on the real estate market, advisors must have experience, understand the mechanisms governing each sector and think out of the box. We take the time to get to know the needs of tenants well, talk to them and engage their employees in the process to create an office concept together and to find the right solution on the market. Meeting such needs is frequently a key factor in the tenant’s business growth in terms of both employer branding and employee satisfaction,” says Artur Sutor.
It’s not only about rent
“An attractive rent is only one of several success factors. We also safeguard tenants against unexpected charges during a lease term. For instance, when we negotiate or renegotiate a contract, we always want to agree a precise list of service charges and to guarantee control over any increases. Experience shows that failure to do so is likely to result in frequent overcharging,” says Artur Sutor. “A large proportion of our work involves negotiating fit-out contributions to improve the functionality of an office. I have had many tenants asking us whether the contracts they negotiated with a landlord themselves were optimal. And there was always some room for improvement: either with regard to securing better financial conditions or adding clauses protecting tenants. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than to know that we have helped a client find them a ‘second home’ or improve the conditions in their current one. I often visit companies when negotiations are over and it’s great to hear positive feedback. This gives us new energy to act and to look for the best solutions for other firms.”
Business is about people
Will we need advisors in a few or a dozen years from now when it will be possible to rent an office via a computer? “As the world moves forward, technologies are advancing at a blistering pace. We’ll probably be able to get most things done online, we already can today… But is it what we want? An application programme can help prepare a basic offer, present opportunities. But will such an office meet the tenant’s expectations? Perhaps, but only if we consider in our search some basic items such as rent or access to infrastructure. There are no two identical sets of needs or two identical offices on the market - making a decision on the basis of Excel data is very risky, I think. Would we choose an apartment in this way? I don’t think so. In my opinion, in real estate there will always be a need to establish a human connection, to talk, to work out the best solutions and to shake hands at the end of negotiations. This is how I define good consultancy. It is worth choosing an advisor who will listen to the tenant’s needs and think out of the box.
A new concept of consultancy
The co-creation of Cresa in Poland was the culmination of Artur’s professional journey spanning nearly 20 years. “We have built a company that represents tenants exclusively, no matter what the economic situation is. And the office market is like a sinusoidal wave: high vacancy rates and a tenants’ market with a possibility to secure higher discounts alternating with a landlords’ market where you need to brace yourself for tough negotiations,” says Artur. “We never turn our backs on our clients, especially when they are facing challenges. Some companies that leased large spaces one or two years ago now need to sublease them. We have the courage to confront difficult issues, we always try to help - also with subletting.”
When Cresa was opening its Polish office, the real estate advisory market seemed to have been sliced up for good. Competitors thought it stood little chance of success. But the new company came forward with a brand new concept of sole tenant representation. And tenants trusted them. “Although our activity covers some of the largest transactions on the market, each client is equally important to us. Behind each transaction there’s a company that needs our assistance,” says Artur Sutor.
Cresa’s office tenant representation team has a strong track record across almost all sectors. They have been responsible for the consolidation of mBank’s offices in the Mennica Legacy Tower (45,600 sqm). They renegotiated a 16,000 sqm lease for Akamai Technologies from the IT sector in Krakow and this year they conducted negotiations on behalf of Allegro for their relocation to a 16,200 sqm office in Fabryka Norblina. Artur Sutor also sees great potential among public institutions that are going through great transformation processes - he has had an opportunity to represent them in recent years too.
Success and humbleness
His friends say that Artur is driven by success, but he says that it’s a completely different feature of his character that has enabled him to survive on this sometimes very tough market. “In business you need to be humble and to learn all the time, you can’t rest on your laurels. The Polish office market has been growing for nearly three decades. During that time company directors have moved offices or renegotiated their lease conditions several times. They have experience and their own preferences, also about advisors. Cresa wins thanks to our completely different approach to tenants, and we choose a team suitable for an individual sector or transaction. I always support our negotiators who can draw on my experience. Work in real estate is a team game, you can’t do much here on your own,” adds Artur Sutor.