New international dimension to Moscow’s leading residential realtor
By James Alexander
The announcement that Moscow’s leading residential real estate company, Intermark had formed a partnership with the major international property services company, Savills, caused hardly a stir in the local market as the two have been in active, and well known, negotiations for some two years. While there was nothing surprising about the deal to form IntermarkSavills, the full ramifications of the tie-up may have been missed by blasé local competitors.
Intermark’s 13 years of experience in the Russian residential property market is now joined by Savills, whose name is synonymous with luxury residential property worldwide. With 112 offices around the globe and a reported turnover of $737 million, Savills worldwide marketing clout will help establish elite town and country properties in Moscow as potential investments on a par with Sydney or Capetown.
While the two firms have been flirting for two years, it is only in the last year that they started working together.
Fraser Lawson, Partner of Intermark-Savills commented to Passport, “Selecting a partner, for both of us was a very serious process and decision. Although we knew that from the standpoint of quality of product and service, corporate culture and key companies' values and philosophy there were lots of synergies, we needed time to get to know each other better. We worked very closely with Savills for nearly a year on some joint clients and schemes, while discussing the principles of our partnership agreement. This very pleasant working relationship gave both parties confidence that we would make an excellent partnership."
While no decision on locating Savills executives here has been taken, the new partnership is looking at “an opportunity of having a Savills expert working here in Moscow, especially on consultancy and investment projects”, according to Mr Lawson.
Mr Lawson acknowledges that, ”Joining forces with an established international property network is a tremendous benefit for Intermark. It gives us credibility, international strength, access to the international expertise that equips us much more effectively with tools and knowledge in various real estate fields: from rentals to international investment advice.
“We have an opportunity to train our staff in accordance with international standards, expose our people to Savills’ way of working, shape the knowledge that we have been gathering for several years on the Russian market, and give it a new dimension. The partnership will obviously help us provide a consistent high level of service to all our clients.”
One area where the partnership will give IntermarkSavills the muscle to expand services is in consultancy to developers.
“The Russian development market is changing very rapidly,” according to Mr Lawson. “There are a number of largescale mixed-use schemes numbering thousands of residential units each, currently under development, which have no case studies to compare them with in Russia. These range from high-rise residential towers within the 'Moscow City' project, to whole suburban mini-cities, like Rublyovo-Arkhangelskoye, where international case studies and expertise are extremely relevant."
Already the partnership is promoting London properties represented by Savills on their web site (www.intermark.ru) and Mr Lawson comments, “The partnership gives us an opportunity to work very closely with Savills to provide their properties to Russian clients. Savills was one of the largest providers of services to Russian property buyers in the UK in 2006, and together we plan to further develop this segment, offering the best UK and other international properties to our clients – such as the most exclusive London project – OneHydePark, created on the site of the former 1950's building Bowater House in Knightsbridge.
“That project is designed by pre-eminent architect Richard Rogers, the development of 80 apartments and three exclusive boutiques within four pavilions, will offer the best views over the park and luxurious designs, developed by Candy & Candy, London‘s leading Interior and architectural designers and development managers.
“Of course, IntermarkSavills will continue delivering services in property lettings and sales which remain our key focus, including providing our expat corporate clients with quality properties for comfortable living in Moscow and high level relocation services.”
But the local partnership has no plans to use Savill’s experience to break into the commercial or retail sectors in Russia. “Being an expert in all aspects of residential real estate is one of the main advantages of Intermark, and we will stick to this strategy in the near future. Intermark- Savills will capitalize on the experience gathered by Intermark in this sector and will expand the range of services offering financial/mortgage consultancy, investment services,” concludes Mr Lawson.