Next year everything will be OK!
'Within one year, we will have more oxygen!' Guy Estrada announces, a Fici-Bourdais 'marketing man' who really knows the technopole.
Fici-Bourdais, Fici-Bourdais, one of the French leaders in businesses property business advice, is in Nice and in Sophia Antipolis. Compared with the situation in Nice the one in Sophia Antipolis is not so catastrophic, the Chief Executive Officer Léon Pimienta says: 'Sophia Antipolis was organized to offer middle or long-term solutions, this is not the case in Nice.'Thus, it is possible to find a lot of plots with very interesting prices. The future will be certainly better in Sophia. Moreover the craze of high-tech firms is getting more and more important, and the investors today show a great interest for purchases on the site. Sophipolitan premises rents are 20% less important than in Nice. The land tax ratio Sophia/Nice is 1 to 4 for the technological park.'In fashion : 200m² areasGuy Estrada, wants to be reassuring: 'It is still possible to find small areas to rent, especially at Chemin St Bernard in Vallauris district. But some start-ups turn their nose up, finding that the environment as well as the premises are not enough prestigious for their public image. As regards property business demands, there are fashions. Today the fashion is for 200m² areas: it corresponds to a growing start-up needs when it comes out from the business center'.Far from some 'set language' speeches, Guy Estrada does not mince his words when he talks about the dark part of the sophipolitan property business: 'Yes, the technopole has let go thousands of jobs, because of unavailable premises. Some big firms were checked in their momentum by these difficulties, and have sometimes decided to develop somewhere else.'Some had no hesitation in sounding the alarm bell, like Lucent Technologies for example. The problems linked to the daily life for salaried employees are added onto the black board: over-crowded schools and high-schools, problems to find apartments…Sophia automatically excluded'Another perverted effect: if it is known too much that there are not enough available premises, businesses will automatically exclude Sophia Antipolis from the possible settlement sites list. Yes, the local authorities lacked anticipation sense by not having planned the resumption. Moreover a certain capacity to build was maybe jammed because of having sold a lot of small plots to little property developers, who, having a less solid financial backing compared with big ones, delay reacting.' 'Yes, there is sometimes an inadequacy between supply and demand, between on the one hand owners who want trustworthy tenants - some demand three balances! - who commit themselves to staying for a long period, and on the other hand start-ups that prefer precarious leases and present very thin financial guarantees!'Other constraints are above the sophipolitan property business: 'Property taxes are very high. The obligations the builders have are a good thing for the environment (40% of green spaces, and a limitation of the buildings height), but this increases the price of building land meters square. And what is a pity is that to have a range of reasonable rents, about 1,000 francs for one m², it is impossible to build up-market buildings, which would nevertheless be more in the spirit of the technopole. With more up-market buildings, the technopole could attract more registered offices or marketing management.'Tomorow will be betterHowever, he remains confident in the future: 'Within one year, things are going to move again. Several buildings on construction have already been bought, with one tenant only as it is often the case, like the SCI Proleg's. Other first phases of programs will be marketed from the beginning of 2001. Because of a lack in supply, some big groups will launch into the construction of their own buildings. Programs like Espaces d'Antipolis or Antipolis Développement will bring oxygen.'