Start from scratch and grow over 50 percent per year in the real estate market. These were the two major steps developer João Fortes Engenharia, a company from Rio de Janeiro, did in five years. “João Fortes has a particular story because despite being 64 years old, and a change in the control of the company in the second half of 2007, the company went from a crisis to restructuring," says Luiz Rimes, National Business Director of the company. Thereafter, all concepts of the Company have been modified.
The first step was to transform the Company from a family administration, and not competitive with its rivals, into a corporate governance. The next step was to innovate in the area of development. In this process all employees from the previous development team were initially dismissed and five new jobs were created since, according to Rimes,” the company needed to reinvent itself with the creation of new and more modern processes."
The executive says that with the change in the concept that has occurred in the market since 2005, the real estate companies started applying meritocracy in a fairly aggressive manner. Employees now had individual goals, were evaluated by individual results and rewarded with bonuses in an intensive way, which hurt the performance of the companies due to the antagonistic interests of the areas. To correct this distortion and limit hiring to only experienced professionals, João Fortes established the focus on corporate goals, where all areas have separate goals, but the evaluation is done looking at the whole. “We have assembled a team committed to our management. All new employees in the company have a ‘partner mindset’, with the objective of doing the work with the best possible price, in the best possible time, so both sides can get a return - bonuses to the employees themselves and return to shareholders," explains the National Director of Operations, Wagner Lofare.
Since then, the positive results of the new administration have been continuous. The company has a Sales Value (PSV) of US$ 67 million in 2008 to US$ 485 million in 2012. In 2013, growth should exceed 50 percent. "We started with about US$ 67 million in 2008 and we are planning to close this year with US$ 800 million," says Rimes. He believes that a developer cannot be too big because it is a project industry. Because of this, João Fortes intends to maintain lower growth rates and concentrate its activities in the areas in which it operates.
João Fortes Engenharia operates throughout the States of Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Brazil. Its ventures are residential, commercial and malls. In over 60 years, João Fortes has built more than 400 buildings in major Cities in Brazil, totaling about 10 million square meters.
Currently, 45 projects are in progress totaling 1 million square meters of buildings and expenses US $ 1 billion. At the end of 2013 there will be 16 releases. “In October, in the Porto Maravilha, in Rio de Janeiro, we will do the second release in the region. The Porto 1 Rio Corporateis a development of high standard that was designed to meet the needs of large and medium-sized enterprises with various types of businesses, especially those focused on oil exploration in the pre-salt area. The interesting thing is that we have three types of marketing: there will be the selling of the spaces in the traditional way, rental with prior contract, or the option of having the fractionation of a room. In Brazil, a project with these options is a pioneer," says Rimes. The project design follows the specifications of sustainable building from the Green Building Council (USGBC), which includes: reducing the consumption of energy and water, minimizing the use of nonrenewable natural resources, improved indoor air quality, among others. The building will be composed of 32 corporate spaces with a floor area of 525-643 sqm arranged over 8 floors.
In the residential segment, the developer held in August, the launching in Salvador, Bahia, of a residential building whose sales value is US$ 306.5 million. The Mansão Wildbergeris a condominium of the highest standard, with 46 floors, apartments with 4 or 5 suites, and a floor area between 450 to 992 square meters. “It is being built on top of a cliff on one of the best lots in Brazil. It will feature a small club and a pier in a nearby area for owners to stop their boats," explains Rimes.
In Brazil, after having launched residential developments such as Due Murano and Bossa Nova, among others, João Fortes is about to launch in a trendy and ecological neighborhood in the West Wing of the City, the first commercial building in the region: the Atrium Corporate, with rooms especially for professionals.
One of the highlights of the company's operations in the mall segment is the Shopping Park Europeu mall, opened in 2011, in Blumenau, in the State of Santa Catarina. For this year it is also scheduled to open in late November, the Shopping Park Lagos mall, on the banks of the pond Araruama, in Cabo Frio, State of Rio de Janeiro, and the first major mall in Região dos Lagos. The project, located five minutes from downtown, will be built on 100 square meters and will feature 198 shops plus a food court and space for a movie theater with projection rooms with the latest generation. João Fortes Engenharia also has done projects in São Conrado Fashion Mall, the expansion of the Barra Shopping mall, and also Madureira Shopping mall, Shopping Iguatemi Rio, New York City Center and Bangu Shopping, all in the State of Rio de Janeiro, besides the expansion of Shopping Morumbi and Ribeirao Shopping, in the State of São Paulo.
The great advantage of the projects of João Fortes is the completion of the construction on time, without the use of the grace period. The company also offers some options for buyers. “In our apartments we have the Option Line. Thus, the owner has the basic line and has a choice of three lines above, for which he pays the difference. Despite our basic line being very good, in the Option Line the apartment comes virtually furnished,” says Lofare.
In addition, the company values the quality of construction, engineering and specification. “We have an external audit which makes a checklist before the project is delivered and whose goal is to deliver the unit as close to perfection. If there is something that is not good, we remake it and make the repairs so that the owner will be pleased," he adds.