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After a few hours shut-eye it was time to depart the hotel and head back to Nottingham.

Overall the trip was a great experience. From consulting with multinational companies to working together on a development project, we all enjoyed the chance to put what we had learnt into practice whilst also learning new skills.

From a student’s perspective it has been a great opportunity to put more names to faces, bond with the other students, and generally socialise outside of a university setting.

Thanks go to; Steve Tyler, Paul Royston, Keith Agar, Simon Newens and Dr Qiulin Ke and everyone in Prague who gave up their time for us as well as all the other NTU staff for the time and effort put in to organising such an enjoyable and successful trip.

After a few drinks we wandered across the Charles Bridge. This really gave me a feel for what Prague was about and the old historic buildings in this part of town is exactly what I imagined Prague to be like; indeed the area was swarmed with tourists.

We headed back to the hotel to re-group before the NTU group meal at Kolkovna Palace. We feasted on a spread of salmon, pasta, roasted vegetables, salad and cheeses followed by a selection of fruit tarts, cakes and cheesecake. We were all impressed by the flow of unlimited drinks which everyone made the most of. Thanks goes to Simon for organising this which I know we all enjoyed.

Come 10.30pm we decided to move on to a bar. On leaving the bar we headed to the touristy Karlovy Lazne- the 5 storey nightclub in Prague which is allegedly the biggest club in Central Europe. What with five floors of different music it was a challenge not getting lost but all in all was a fun night out and a nice way to round off a great week!

The morning came round soon enough and I met with the rest of my group to put the finishing touches to our presentation. There was a slight feeling of nerves as we knew it would be filmed but this quickly dissolved once we got started.

Post presentations feedback from talking to other groups was that everyone’s presentations went a lot better than expected and we all felt we had got some constructive feedback from Ian, which we could use for our next presentations back in Nottingham and subsequent project reports. Following a quick regroup to do our summary and reflection on how our presentations had gone we headed back to the hotel and met with the other groups to celebrate.

We headed down for drinks by the river Vltava. Everyone’s mood now uplifted knowing the pressure of doing the presentations was over. It was nice just to relax and reflect on what had been a very busy few days. I think the feeling amongst the group was that we were all rather impressed if not a little surprised at how many ex NTU students had given up their time to help us out this week. We pondered about which of us would be around to do the same in 10 years time.

 

This afternoon we split off into groups to attend events in company offices including Jones Lang La Salle, EC Harris, Gardiner & Theobald, CBRE, DTZ and Colliers International. For us this was an opportunity to get an insight into the Real estate market in Prague, learn about how it compares to the UK market and get some information which was going to help us with our project.

I was in the group which travelled to the CBRE office where we were greeted by several members of the Prague Team. The team provided us with maps and gave us an overview on the different areas within Prague in terms of office and retail developments in relation to our own site in Prague 5. This was followed by presentations on the components of a development appraisal, office sector, retail sector, and lastly the Investment market in Prague. These presentations were very helpful for our project providing us with an overview on demand for space, rental levels and yields.

CBRE’s offices are located within the Palladium. This is the Czech Republic’s largest shopping mall. As a result the presentations were broken up by a visit to a typical office suite which is in fact CBRE’s old office and a look round the shops in the Palladium. The shopping centre was built on foundations dating from the 12th century!

Overall I found the CBRE staff were really helpful particularly the native Marcel. He was happy to answer our specific questions on our ideas for development on the project and guided us in the right direction with the discounted cash flow.

At 6pm we headed back to the hotel noticing others groups were already enjoying the roof top bar and sunny weather. Though the additional time spent with CBRE was really worthwhile.

On returning to the hotel I met with the rest of my group to do our summary report and to continue working on our presentations which needed to be ready for tomorrow morning. We gathered in the hotel restaurant surrounded by many other groups with everyone slightly daunted by how much we had to do in the time we had left to do it. It was time to put pen to paper!

With food on our minds, we persevered on till 9.30pm by which stage hunger had got the better of us. As a result we made a quick dash out for some food and a breath of fresh air. On our return we found ourselves kicked out of the restaurant and so gathered in one group member’s room. It seemed pretty much everyone else had the same idea with groups all down this particular corridor crammed into rooms. Come midnight those of us left working on our presentation were starting to feel a little stressed that we were still not done however we all agreed that are brains were starting to give up so decided to call it a day and agreed to meet first thing tomorrow.

Wake up on Wednesday feeling refreshed and thankful for our later start in comparison to the other group. As part of Group B we travelled together to the Qubix development. Group A, meanwhile visited the City Green Court Development.

Here we were greeted by Eric Johnson from Gardiner & Theobald and Hana Santrochova from S & B Grubbe.

From the outside you can immediately gauge what an unusual shape the building is, made up of a series of blocks and hence earning the name ‘Qubix’. Hana briefed us on the environmental credentials of the building from the tinted windows which can reflect 80% of sunlight to the solar panels used for emergency lighting of the building to the electric car station outside.

On inspection of the building the main thing that stood out for me was the lift shaft which had been utilised into a light well decorated with lights and mirrors; it definitely added something a bit different to the feeling of space in the building. However I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone with a fear of heights!

This afternoon was the Property & Construction Market Briefings a very full schedule with a short interval with as many pastries as one could eat!

The briefings were on;

· History, visions and aspirations for Prague

· How to structure a Development Approval Paper

· Green buildings and sustainability

· Building surveys and technical due diligence

· The commercial supply, demand, rentals, yields, values and investment in Prague

· Energy rating certification, and commercial property construction costs

The talks were really varied and there was something there to interest everyone. I particularly enjoyed learning a bit more about the history of Prague from former Mayor – Jan Kasl.

In addition, I feel Omar Sattar (Managing Director of Colliers International, Czech Republic) also gave a very thorough and insightful talk into how to structure a development approval paper which will definitely help us in our group presentations which are on Thursday.

Following the interval, the most interesting talk came from Clare Rimmer (Head of Valuation at DTZ, Prague) who gave a first-rate insight into the demand and supply side of the market in Prague. Clare managed to keep everyone awake and engaged during the presentation with the help of a few sweets.

After the talks, once each group has submitted their reports they were free to go. With our heads loaded with information I think we all very glad to have the evening to ourselves. We headed off into town and homed in on an Italian restaurant. The pizzas were the most popular choice on the menu. Afterwards a group of us headed back for an early night ahead of the busy schedule tomorrow though not before stopping off for some ice cream!

We are all up bright and early, eager to see what the hotel breakfast is like and it doesn’t disappoint! A good selection of cereals for the cereal lovers amongst us, as well as a selection of pastries, cold meats and everything you could desire for a full English breakfast.

This morning the entire group is travelling to the Red Group’s offices in Jinonice in order to visit the development site our coursework is based on. Our project brief is to assume the role of an independent real estate and construction consultancy.

The visit is to help us gather information for our presentations to the Red Group on Thursday in which we must advise the company on the financial viability of the proposed refurbishment and redevelopment for the existing building and adjoining site. Our presentations are based on a development appraisal and discounted cash flow analysis.

We leave as a group and travel there by metro. First impressions of the metro are of a spacious and efficient service and at 32 CZK about £1 a journey it certainly is better value than TFL. It is also less crowded, cleaner… the list goes on.

On exiting the station it is not long before we see our development site. On approaching the building we all thought the same thing “Why is this ugly building listed as protected?”

However I decide to keep an open mind as we proceed to Red Group’s offices. We are met by Ian (Managing Director of the Red Group) who gives us a very detailed briefing on the site. We then proceed to inspect the heritage listed building with Disto laser measurers’ at hand for measurements of the interior of the building and cameras’ at the ready for photos of the interior such as the window shape which we are advised must be retained in our refurbishment plans.

On completion of the inspection we are free to take the metro back to Mustek. A group of us proceed to finding lunch at a quaint local cafe which appears to be more of a coffee and cake stop but the staff are happy to accommodate us. A cheese toastie later we are all feeling very refreshed all at a bargain price too. With time to spare we sit in the sunshine admiring the surroundings and given the beautiful weather we are a tad reluctant to return to the hotel for this afternoon’s briefings.