When asked what his dream home would look like, Jacopo Palermo appears a little stumped. “I don’t know how to answer,” he says hesitantly. “I think I would like my kitchen and living and dining rooms to be large so I can spend nights with friends. After all, we are Italian and socialising is a huge part of our lives. Maybe – if I were allowed an extra wish – I would like a nice terrace with a view of the skyline, too.”
When it comes to building and finding dream homes for others, however, Jacopo is much more certain of himself. He has been in construction for the past 18 years and in real estate development for the past eight as General Manager of Italian developer Immobiliare Percassi Group.
The work remains rewarding to him even after all this time. “It makes me feel like I am shaping the environment in which people are living and working,” he explains.
Happily for Jacopo, today’s real estate industry is one that favours his desire to contribute tangible improvements to the built environment. “During the real estate bubble of the early 2000s, real estate was catered for and based on interest rates and yields, and assimilated by stakeholders or investors as a financial product,” Jacopo recalls.
“After the bubble burst, the market cleaned itself up. Real estate has now transformed itself from a financial product into an industrial one.”
He continues: “What this means is that properties are now designed according to social economic trends and built around the lifestyle and everyday needs of the people.”
Another impact of the economic bubble bursting is an increased budget sensitivity in the industry, with companies focusing on schemes that guarantee a maximum cost for construction contracts. They are also concentrating on operating expenses.
“Now, firms are much more conscious about the cost of the real estate asset for the entirety of its life span – what we call total cost of ownership, or TCO,” Jacopo explains. “It takes into account not just the purchase of the land and the construction of the property, but also the maintenance, the utilities, as well as refurbishment in the future.”
It was the ability to adapt to these transformations in the industry that has kept Immobiliare Percassi Group afloat through the hard times. “One of our strengths is that we are able to provide tailor-made solutions and develop properties that fit the context and overall environment they are in,” Jacopo says with pride.
“I am shaping the environment in which people are living and working.”
“We always find solutions that on the one hand, fulfill our budget goals and on the other, take into account the interests of all stakeholders involved – and this includes the local communities.”
Today Immobiliare Percassi Group, including its construction and facility management companies, has a healthy yearly aggregated turnover with a 2019 forecast of more than €150 million. In total, the group employs more than 300 people and Jacopo has an ambitious plan to take its revenue to €250 million in the next two years.
Based in Bergamo, the group’s current main areas of focus are the real estate development market and the construction market around Milan and Northern Italy.
According to Jacopo, Italy’s capital city is experiencing a revival. “Many corporations are moving into Milan and there is a gap to be filled in its residential market because demand is strong. Over the next 10 years, the city is expecting to see around six billion in investments in real estate.”
As a residential suburb of Milan, Bergamo has the charms of a small town but enjoys connections to the capital. “It is positioning itself as a cultural city with a very high quality of life. There’s also much more greenery and nature here due to the hills surrounding the town,” Jacopo describes.
He believes that Italy provides a unique real estate environment that makes his ambitious revenue goal reachable.
“Because of our history, quality of life and climate, Italy is appealing to investors. Property here is considered a portfolio must-have. These investors are always seeking local partners who know the nuances of the local market and this is where Immobiliare Percassi Group comes in.”
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