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Newsletter December 2009


ULI Now in Greece

ULI–the Urban Land Institute, is a nonprofit research and education organization, now with a presence in Greece. Founded in 1936, the institute has more than 33,000 members in 95 countries worldwide, representing the entire spectrum of land use and real estate development disciplines, working in private enterprise and public service.

George Kaburopulos, Chairman of Urban Land Institute Greece & Cyprus, speaks to Invest in Greece on the role of ULI and the opportunities in real estate, both in Greece and throughout the entire Southeast European region.

Recently Urban Land Institute has established a presence in Greece. What does ULI do and what role does it play in a country?

ULI is the largest non-profit organisation in the world related to land use, real estate, urban planning and sustainable development. ULI follows the trends of many different sectors of the real estate industry in different countries around the world and boasts the largest research centre. ULI has an impressive track record on advisory of governments, cities, private sector and academic institutions. ULI documents best practice and publishes books to impart cumulative knowledge to help the development community continuously improve its performance.

In local communities, ULI district councils bring together the public sector and the private sector to find solutions and build consensus around land use and development challenges. Also, it promotes the local market to foreign investors, provides education to industry professionals and tackles the hot issues of every market through conferences, forums and think-tanks. In other words, ULI becomes an active Global Chamber of local real estate in every country.

Why Greece?

Greece is the only country in the Euro Zone that has not reached its potential, not because there is not will but because there is no strategic and execution plan of how to get there. The country has the perfect location to become the main tourism and retirement destination in Europe, the economic centre of all South Europe, the transportation and logistics hub of east Mediterranean and the renewable energy model for South European countries.

What opportunities are there for companies and developers based in Greece to expand to the greater Southeast European region?

The strategic location of Greece permits investments in the South European region as it is, at maximum, an hour and a half away by plane from main capitals in the region. Many companies have their headquarters in Greece and satellite offices in the Balkan region. The fact that many of the Greek banks are the largest in those countries gives a competitive advantage to companies based in Greece as far as credit history and ratings already established with those institutions.

How ULI can contribute in creating business opportunities in Greece for foreign investors?

First, by assisting the urban regeneration of the largest Greek cities and create investment opportunities for the private sector and raising the living standards for the local communities. ULI has assisted other European cities to become economic centres by bringing together main European cities and the largest financial and real estate organizations with the scope of revitalization and exploitation of the potential of these cities and the creation of investment opportunities for the organisations, but mainly benefits for the cities and their residents.

Second, by advising the public sector and promoting Private Public Partnerships through ULI’s sustaining a diverse global network of local practice and advisory efforts that address current and future challenges.

Third, by promoting opportunities in Greece to the capital markets and becoming a facilitator for foreign investors to enter the market. This can be achieved through conferences, advisory panels for the government and municipalities proposing changes necessary to attract foreign investors and strategies that can make Greece an investment destination.

How do you see growth prospects for synergies in all of Southeast Europe, and Greece of course, in the development of residential, commercial, and tourism properties?

The opportunities in Southeast Europe fueled by the infrastructure and economic funding of the EU create a growth environment that is beyond the current economic crisis. ULI brings in the know-how, expertise and global network to transform this growth into synergies, setting high market standards and improving the life of our communities.