"In our projects neighbours become friends!" Aleksey Zagrebelny, CEO of R.EVOLUTION CITY

The story began 17 years ago. Tomsona Terases, the first project ever completed by R.Evolution in Latvia gave a real push to the construction of new apartments in Latvia. They did not try to set a trend or raise the bar just to prove to someone that they are the best. That is just what they do because they know no other way. These are not just technical skills and the ability to use them. It is an entire philosophy based on a firm belief that the environment in which we live in can make a real difference and motivate. "There are no quarrels in our apartments," says the protagonist of our interview.

Real estate listing website City24.lv offers an interview with a powerful personality, the inspiration and main engine behind R.EVOLUTION CITY, its Chairman of the Board Aleksey Zagrebelny. We discussed the importance of a real estate project having its story, how it affects us and our environment, as well as the secret behind the perfectionism of R.EVOLUTION CITY.

Every project of R.EVOLUTION CITY is non-standard. Why do you always choose such an approach? 

The first time can happen by accident, the second may be a coincidence, but when it happens for the third and all the consecutive times, it becomes abundantly clear that it must be a deliberate philosophy. This is not about ego, other aspects are much more important when building apartments. For example, practicality, metaphysics, patriotism, etc. We attempt to incorporate all of those into our projects. 

From a practical perspective our non-standard approach creates an additional competitive edge for our company, but for our projects – value. At the same time, we always pay attention to the metaphysical aspects. Buying a home is always something special, it is about the emotions which a person wants to experience himself and to provide to his family. We are selling an opportunity to experience these feelings, as well as to improve yourself and your life with them. 

Tell us how does it look in real life?

You know, people who purchase an apartment in our project really do experience these feelings! Home is an undeniably motivating factor and, after moving in, a person starts feeling differently and also acting differently because of that. We often hear from our clients about the positive changes in their daily lives. A very simple example – there are no quarrels in our apartments, there is an atmosphere of mutual respect, it is very relaxed. 

It is probably because of who your clients are?

I would argue that it works a bit differently, as I do not like the word luxury. We are creating apartments in various price segments, but the difference is only in the set of instruments we use in the projects for achieving the desired result. It is much more exciting for me to work with smaller budgets, as they require more intellect to create the same feeling as in those where more financial resources are available. 

We invest philosophy and feelings in any price category. That is the cornerstone. And here I am again talking about emotions that you get already from the moment you come near the entrance of the building, and all the way to your apartment. For me, being in a motivating environment results in additional income. That is why I am always disappointed when someone chooses another apartment because of some 100-150 EUR per square meter because I presume this person will not get the same feelings elsewhere. If you split these 150 EUR over 10 years, it is just 15 to 20 euro, it`s nothing. That is one impulsive purchase in a supermarket.  To whom are you building your houses? Describe your customer.

I would be really happy if the spectrum of our clients in Latvia would widen. What I see now is that 60% of our clients are young, intelligent, motivated, and successful people aged between 27 and 40. However, I would like to stress that we are not targeting a specific segment, our projects are made for everyone. 

You know, as people get older, they tend to get attached to a place, it is harder for them to move away from it, that is why we are attempting to widen the range of our clients with all our programs. What exactly does it mean? For example, we have a program for purchasing the client`s current property. When purchasing a new property from us, the so-called "next step" allows you to pay only the difference, ensuring a smooth transition from old to new. 

For us, it is important to deliver the message that there is an added value for an individual and his family in our world view which we implement into our buildings. Not that we are trying to convince anyone. Either a person appreciates these values already, or a person will start appreciating them eventually. 

Currently, R.EVOLUTION CITY is developing four projects with a story – HOFT, Lofts&Rosegold, Philosophers Residence, and Villa Milia. Tell us whether there are purchasers for these projects in Latvia?

We believe so, yes. Moreover, the construction volumes in Riga and Latvia overall are significantly lower than in the capital cities of our neighbours – Vilnius and Tallinn. Even several times lower. If we look at the population density, around 800 thousand people live in Riga. The salaries are growing, positive changes are happening, moreover, no one has cancelled having kids and other material changes in circumstances. 

There are only a handful of such unique projects in the centre of Riga. HOFT, for example, will become the building number one. On one hand, there are 40 apartments in it, which may seem a lot, but on the other hand, in a situation where people are not ready to accept compromises, that number is insignificant. In this project, only two out of seven penthouses remain available and even those are already being looked at by a young family. So I can tell you that for certain – there is interest in living in such properties! One of the future gems of R.EVOLUTION CITY is the Villa Milia project in Jurmala. Tell us what is so special about it, what is the idea embedded in it?

There is a house in Jurmala that I personally like very much, it is Villa Benjamina. This is an exciting building from architectural and engineering perspectives. When, by a touch of fate, I was visiting it a few times, I realized that the colours, solutions, details, absolutely everything about it is still relevant. Moreover, I am in awe of the personality of Emīlija Benjamiņa and her principles of life, the way how she developed herself, lived, a self-made woman. 

We decided to do a modern remake of this villa. Every detail, the overall approach, the proportions, it`s all about her. That is like a Jaguar in 1968 and in 2018. The key word to this project is succession, a bond between times and generations. When we started working on this project, interesting ties and stories revealed themselves one after another. 

Interestingly, our kids participated in putting a time capsule in the building. And when we organized an architecture tender, Zane Tetere was chosen as the winner, and only after we had already signed the contract she confessed that she herself is from the Benjamins family. Similarly, we met Bruno Birmanis, the person we have to thank for the name of the project. Again we had a pleasant surprize, it turned out that his grandfather had designed this historical building. Bruno was the one who revealed that Emilia was called Milia by her close ones. That is how our Villa Milia was born. 

The whole concept is somehow a magnet to such events that testify over and over that it is not just a marketing gimmick, the project does have a special energy. Let`s take for example the way how the children put in the time capsule, created the drawings, it will stay with them for the rest of their lives. This house is full of positive energy already!

Do you encounter any difficulties in the "playing field" of the Latvian real estate market? 

There simply is no other market as competitive and complicated. The competition here is fierce, it has always been like that. Our first project was in the year 2002 – Tomsona Terases. It immediately set the bar quite high and was used as a benchmark by others afterwards. Moscow has reached the level we were on back in 2002 only in the last 5 to 7 years. Only now they are starting to realize that you have to build something special. If you can sell whatever is built, regardless of quality, it cripples the market. We now work also in the German market, in Berlin, where high quality projects are commonplace. I can assure you that with the muscle that Latvian developers have been forced to build over the years they can feel at ease in any market.  R.EVOLUTION CITY sets very high standards. Where do you get your ideas from, as you are ahead of the curve even on the world stage?

That is an internal level, it is dharma when your soul finds the path of inner development. A lot of things that happen seem like memories to me, as if I had known all of that. I just cannot function any differently. That is a habit I have made, I create an environment in which I strive for perfection in even the tiniest of details. If any of them does not give me internal peace, it will be changed. 

It could be said that you are dictating the level and quality in Latvia?

We are not dictating anything, we just do our work very well. The fact that a lot of people admire it and that developers are starting to pay attention to it also outside of Riga is more of a consequence. That is not a goal we have set for ourselves, we have no ambition to set trends for everyone. My task is to shape properties with intellectual contribution as effectively as possible, whilst bringing profit to my company. 

R.EVOLUTION CITY project descriptions include the phrase "modern intellectual architecture". What exactly does it mean? 

Intellectual development means weaving in an extra dimension in the architecture of a building. It is not just a sum of windows and square meters, it is more like storytelling through a building. I would like to stress an important thought – just as we change the environment around us, the environment around us changes us! I encourage everyone to change the environment around them to their own liking. It is not just about you, it is also about the ones around you, the ones you take care of, your kids, wife, and loved ones. Create a positive environment of good quality, it will most certainly motivate you for further self-development! 

"Baltic Sotheby’s International Realty": under the quality mark of the global brand Sotheby’s already for 10 years



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