Porto has seen a 333% growth in international projects since 2016, delegates heard at Real Asset Media’s Porto – A New Investment Opportunity briefing, which was held at the International Investors’ Lounge at EXPO REAL in October.
‘Portugal is the country in Europe where FDI are growing the fastest and Porto is growing faster than the national average’, said Ricardo Valente, City Councillor for Economy, Tourism & Commerce, Porto City Hall. ‘Now it’s the time to invest’.
The legal environment has been crucial in attracting foreign direct investment to Portugal, with a tax rate of 10% for foreign companies, incentives to renovate buildings and regenerate neighbourhoods and now a REIT regime.
Even by Portuguese standards Porto has a particularly pro-business stance, said Maria Santa Martha, Partner, CCA Law: ‘The local government is very welcoming, has a constructive, problem-solving approach and is open to innovative solutions, which is why so many foreign companies have chosen to set up their headquarters in the city’.
The list is long, from Natixis to Euronext, from Endesa to Sodexo to BMW, which has chosen Porto for its high-tech Development Centre.
This means there is demand for new, state-of-the-art offices, said Ana Jordao, Associate Director, Predibisa: ‘We are building brand new spaces for these companies, but there is also a need for residential projects and for hotels, as tourism is a growing sector’. Student housing is another asset class that offers opportunities because of the growing demand/supply imbalance.
In Porto’s city centre period buildings must be preserved and renovated, but development is encouraged in the urban regeneration areas and the three designated expansion areas and more permits are being issued by the local authorities.
‘The licensing process is much easier now,’ said Hugo Lima, General Manager, Lucios Real Estate. ‘We submitted a project and got approval in nine weeks for the architect’s design and less than six months later had the final building permit’.
They are developing the Pacifico Complex in the city centre, a 50,000 m2 mixed-use project with a hotel, retail, residential, offices and parking spaces.