"It is a fast-paced world. Fast, but fun!" Those are the words of Laura Schelhaas, lawyer at NepiRockcastle. She and her colleague Farha Khan, will tell us all about NepiRockcastle and their work at the real estate investment company, where they both enjoy working. Just as hospitable as we are received by the hostess at the reception, we are also received at Farha's and Laura's table. In the flex workspace with a good cup of coffee, the ladies share their business with us.
NEPI Rockcastle: Who, What, Where?
NEPI Rockcastle is a real estate investment company. They own and manage the portfolio of large shopping centres in the fast-growing CEE countries Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Serbia. In July 2017, NepiRockcastle was formed by the merger of New Europe Property Investments (NEPI) and Rockcastle Global Real Estate Company Limited (Rockcastle), and has since become the largest retail real estate group in Central and Eastern Europe. They have a management team that combines asset management, development, investment, leasing and financial expertise. NepiRockcastle is involved in both the acquisition of land on which they build new shopping malls, and the purchase and renovation of existing shopping malls that they provide with (new) tenants. Think of large retail stores such as Pull and Bear, H&M, Zara, Mango and Bershka. Laura and Farha are part of the 5-man team in the Netherlands that consists of two lawyers and three accountants, including two directors. They form NE Property Coöperatief U.A., which is the cooperative between the parent company and the executive subsidiaries.
Shopping malls in the form of 'Urban Lifestyle Spots
Farha: "Unlike here in the Netherlands, where people go to a shopping centre to actually shop and perhaps drink a cup of coffee, our shopping malls in Eastern Europe are equipped with all the conveniences and services you can imagine. In those countries, a day trip to a shopping mall is really seen as an experience. For example, there are cinemas, fitness centres, numerous restaurants and terraces, playgrounds and pop-up stores available. NepiRockcastle's shopping centres are also called 'Urban Lifestyle Spots', where the shopping experience is combined with leisure, cultural activities and services. You will also find banks, travel agencies, hairdressing salons and dry cleaners.
Business Nomad Laura
We ask the ladies about the journey they made before they arrived here. Laura starts to tell. "I am a lawyer, I do all the legal work related to our loans. I'm also responsible for legalising documents, drawing up proxies and NDAs and other legal work. Before joining NepiRockcastle, I worked at a law firm. I started working there after obtaining my Master's degree in Corporate Law in Groningen. After having worked for six months at a law firm, I was approached for this position and I am glad that I have chosen this direction. I have entered a fast-paced world. Fast, but fun! In addition, everything is international. Exactly what I like and in which I can learn a lot". Young and abitious as Laura is, she would like to continue to develop further. "I'm thinking about starting a postmaster's degree in real estate law soon. NepiRockcastle and especially our own team here in Amsterdam, would like to contribute to your development. They give you a lot of independence and offer you a lot of freedom, and that makes it very pleasant to work here”.
Business Nomad Farha
"I have been working here as an accountant for three years now. It's my job to handle accounting at parent level and at co-operative level. I manage all loans for nine countries, which are drawn up by Laura. Before I joined NepiRockcastle, I studied Accounting & Finance in the Netherlands and later two years in England. I then returned to the Netherlands to continue my studies and worked at CSM as a junior controller, as a secondment to ING, Internos, Soma Bedrijfopleidingen, Manpower and then at various trust offices as an accountant. In particular, my experience at those trust offices, where I was involved in VAT returns, Chamber of Commerce returns and annual accounts, made me the perfect candidate for this cooperation. I am currently following the ACCA (Chartered Certified Accountant qualification) course. Three more exams and then I'm ready!” We can understand that this ambitious accountant is looking forward to that moment. An education, young children at home and the hustle and bustle of the end of the quarter that is already in prospect, ensure a busy life. "But luckily I just feel the excitement of all this, which keeps me going”.
NepiRockcastle & Tribes
We ask Farha and Laura how they ended up with Tribes. Farha: "In May this year we moved to the Amsterdam Zuidas. Before that we were located in a building on the Museumplein. That location was of course incredibly cool, but at the same time very inconvenient in terms of accessibility. We have many directors in Romania, Isle of Man, Poland and Slovakia, among others, who regularly come our way for (board) meetings and presentations. They can now reach us very easily. We rent the large meeting room on our floor on such days. Besides the accessibility, the facilities are also excellent. Laura: “We always get a lot of compliments when we receive visitors. People are especially enthusiastic about the details. And I can't prove them wrong. When I first found the horse saddles as bar stools when I entered this place, as a big horse lover I was immediately happy with this location!”
And we are happy with NepiRockcastle at Tribes Amsterdam Zuidas SOM. Hopefully Laura, Farha and their team will enjoy our services for a long time to come, and they will often take their seats at the special horse saddle bar stools.