7. September 2023

“Real Estate Consulting” as a growing business segment at VÖLKEL – Interview with Anne Schwegler

Having started out as a leasing manager at VÖLKEL and still active in letting, you have also been responsible for “Real Estate Consulting” for several months now. What exactly is behind it?

Anne Schwegler: The real estate sector, and the retail real estate sector in particular, is confronted with various challenges in both the economic and structural environment (changing customer purchasing behavior, increasing competition from online retail, supply chain problems, decline in investor returns, etc.). This is where Real Estate Consulting comes in and identifies the sustainable and flexible development strategy, taking into account the property and investor-specific characteristics.

What service modules can interested customers expect as part of consulting? Which asset classes can also be served?

Anne Schwegler: We support the owner in implementing the right strategy for the future of the property and creating a balance between profitability, security and growth. The focus is on retail, commercial and mixed-use properties. Our service modules can be selected on a modular basis and contain a clear recommendation for action:

  • Asset management strategy
  • Due diligence
  • ESG strategy
  • Strategic utilization concept
  • Revitalization
  • Building law analysis
  • Mixed-use structure
  • Potential analysis
  • Tenant analysis
  • (Re)positioning
  • Portfolio strategy
  • Investment strategy
  • Repurposing strategy

In which situations/at what times are consulting services for real estate owners particularly in demand and useful?

Anne Schwegler: The use of consultancy services is particularly in demand when the yield and rental income of the property concerned are falling. In order to counter negative developments in a targeted manner and prevent further trading-down processes, a holistic asset strategy is required – the right strategy depends on the property and the investor’s individual objectives. In addition to traditional consulting, which investments and measures a property needs in order to survive on the market in the long term, the area of sales audits is becoming increasingly important. In this service module, we determine what an exit strategy might look like and how the sale would affect the remaining/overall portfolio.

To what extent is the consulting service integrated into the other services offered by VÖLKEL?

Anne Schwegler: VÖLKEL is available with a broad range of expertise throughout the entire life cycle of a property. We go beyond the recommended course of action and can provide investors with modular support during implementation – VÖLKEL has been established for several decades in the areas of asset management, transaction management, center management and project management.

Are there any exciting projects in your field at the moment?

Anne Schwegler: The properties in our portfolio are regularly subjected to a quick check in order to adjust the asset management strategy if necessary and to initiate further developments. In addition, there are assignments outside of our current management mandates, sometimes on very individual topics.

For example, a current project involves the further development of an outdated inner-city shopping center and the integration of new types of use. It is exciting to determine what needs and gaps in supply exist in the surrounding area, which specific users demand this location and how this property would have to be structurally adapted, what investments are possible from the owner’s side and which of these measures are actually feasible in terms of construction and building law. Here too, consulting works closely with the leasing and technology departments and the client has the option of VÖLKEL taking over the project management for the implementation of the agreed strategy.