m2 on CSR, Environmental Care and the Philosophy Behind their Business

m2 on CSR, Environmental Care and the Philosophy Behind their Business

The FINANCIAL -- m2 Real Estate has launched 11 Residential projects over the course of its 11-year existence, out of which 7 are already completed and over 2000 families experience better living offered by m2.

Today m2 Real Estate is one of the largest and most consistently growing companies on the Georgian development market. m2’s strategy revolves around three main postulates. The first direction is developing new, large-scale residential projects on territories owned by the company. Secondly, m2 is actively working on advancing the Georgian commercial real-estate market, by creating a chain of three-star hotels. Finally, m2, under its brand name, is working on developing the lands of investors, according to the standards of quality set by the company itself.

Shorena Darchiashvili, Deputy Director of m2, talked about the interesting projects, vision of the future, and plans of the company.

Q. What makes m2 housing stand out from the rest of its competitors?

A. Every one of our customers receives the keys to their apartment earlier than, or on, the due date. Fulfilling promises is pivotal to building a trustful relationship with customers, which, by extension, is an invaluable competitive advantage.

m2 manages to further nurture this trust through offering its clientele comfort, quality and safety. We start caring about the convenience of our customers from our sales office, where they are offered a product suited to their needs. Afterwards, our customer relations team makes sure they are fully updated and involved all throughout the construction process, up until the moment they receive the keys to their new, renovated flat.

Apartment design and material selection is done by our personnel from m2 Gallery. This process is both simple and enjoyable.

m2 was one of the pioneering companies to offer a fully-refurbished apartment as an affordable product in Georgia, especially on this scale. It soon became the most demanded product on the local market.

Besides comfort, safety is very high on our priority list. Therefore, we include the essential fire safety and life sustaining systems & technologies in all of our projects.

Using the latest technology and quality control are our uttermost principles.

Upon completion of the product, we offer our customers paid services, such as safety system control, guards, elevator service, cleaning and green space care. They contribute no less to our popularity and make our complexes more attractive both in terms of living and renting.

For customers who leave their house for various reasons, be it a vacation or any other reason, we offer flat maintenance services.

We work to make the lives of our residents easier even after they have chosen m2. Our latest project was a web platform – www.m2rent.ge, which simplifies the process of renting. Interested persons can address our professional brokers, who will announce their intentions on the website and put up all the necessary information: photos, details etc. m2 assists users in settling down the contracts revised by a lawyer and our services make the renting process much easier.

Q. CSR & environmental care have become hot topics worldwide. What does your company do in this regard?

A. Environmental care is the most important direction of our CSR. Our strategy is to invest in the most sustainable and long-term effect projects in this direction. Since 2014, every project has been energy-efficient. Buildings with good thermo insulation reduce energy consumption, which is beneficial both for our customers and the environment.

Car exhaust plays a major role in air pollution. Providing necessary infrastructure for electric cars would help popularize them and bring relief to the declining ecology of our city. m2 signed a memorandum with e-space and took on the obligation of funding as many as 100 electric chargers throughout Georgia. As of today, over 30 are in place. More stations means more electric cars, a less polluted city and a healthier population.

Besides taking care of green spaces within our territories, we don’t leave the city without attention. This year, the most painful ecological catastrophe for Tbilisi was the Mtatsminda fire – around 500 trees were burned over a 20,000 square meter territory. Our company decided to take on responsibility for the restoration of the aforementioned space. We aim to plant 3000 trees of different breeds in order to preserve the biodiversity in this very important ecological region of Tbilisi. We will, at the same time, take care of the territory for a further three years, together with specialists, in order to get a sustainable and healthy green zone.

This year m² Real Estate has begun the construction of a small group home for children with special needs under state care. We are honoured to be a part of this extremely important project. Creating an adapted environment is one of our major directions within the area of corporate social responsibility.

m2 is committed to creating a comfortable, healthy and safe environment for people within the frames of its current and future projects, including facilities for disabled people.

Q. What are some of the projects m2 is planning for the future?

A. We’re currently actively working on three new projects. First on the list is a mixed-use development project on Kazbegi Street, which will feature a 302-apartment residential complex and a 152-room 3-star hotel – Ramada Encore. Then there’s Ramada Hotel on Melikishvili St, a 125-room hotel. This project will cost around 16 million dollars and will be a unique example of adapting an old building in Tbilisi – the building will be rehabilitated in a constructivist style: details will be conserved, the building reconstructed and elements restored.

Other than that, we were happy to announce that m2 will go regional for the first time. We will start in Kutaisi, where we’ll be building a hotel and an apartment.

Q. How is the demand for housing changing? What is the situation today and to what extent is development keeping pace with demand?

A. In our view, there are multiple drivers of demand for housing in Tbilisi. First of all, I would point out the large average size of households, compared to peer cities (on average there are 3-4 people living in a household in Tbilisi, which is 40% higher than in central Europe). As aggregate household income grows, multiple generations living in a single apartment will be a serious source of demand. Public Registry data suggest that the number of real estate transactions in Tbilisi is growing every year. Another driver of demand for housing is large amortized stock of apartments in Tbilisi, mainly built in the 60s and 70s. Take so-called ‘Khrushchevkas’, for example – they have expired their life span and are not suitable for dwelling, be it from a living and fire safety standpoint, or from any other for that matter. Again, this type of housing stock will have to be replaced with new infrastructure.

So in our view, Georgia is still far away from market saturation due to the above-mentioned reasons.