Tom Kostelac joined as Marketing Director at CTP in 2013 after many years of collaboration with the company. As a long-term expat, he has over 15 years branding experience in the Czech market. BEC asks him about his business experience.
How would you describe the business CTP does to someone without a clue?
CTP is a Czech based commercial real estate developer active throughout Central Europe. CTP owns and manages the CTPark Network, Central Europe’s largest system of integrated industrial business parks. It develops premium facilities for international and local investors who engage in engineering, high-tech manufacturing, R&D as well as logistics and warehousing.
Additionally, we develop a-class office parks such as Spielberk Office Centre and the CTZone in Brno and IQ Ostrava in that city, among other projects across the region.
What is your vision related to the international development of Brno?
CTP has a large footprint and a long-term stake in the development of Brno. With three large business parks on the outskirts and two office parks near the centre, among others, we see there is still room for Brno to grow. CTP continues to seek new opportunities in Brno and already has other plans in the pipeline because the city continues to attract international investors and attention — not just in manufacturing and offices – but also as a centre for science and technology. We work hard to raise the profile of the city and believe it can emerge to compete with other technology centres around Europe.
How long has CTP been active in Brno?
Since 2000 when we began our first major business park on the city limits, in Modřice.
What changes have you seen happen in Brno since?
Since then we have seen the city move ahead of much of the rest of the country, from being known for its lower cost labour to a place where higher value-added services are performed. So we have seen many software and IT companies move to Brno such as Microsoft, IBM, Google, Skype and Infosys, while local IT companies have also emerged — like AVG — who have large offices at our business park, Spielberk Office Centre. We have seen the city both grow to accommodate a wide range of businesses, and their many foreign employees, and we have seen the evolution of the city’s vision to invest in this future.
What are your biggest foreign tenants located in Brno?
From the nearly 150 clients we have, Wistron has the largest facility footprint of nearly 80,000 m2 in CTPark Brno, and one of our clients employs approximately 2,700 people over multiple facilities.
What are the key factors that make foreign companies to choose Brno for their new location?
Brno is attractive to foreign investors due to the highly qualified people, a large university population coming from the technology, science and medical schools here, its location on the major international transport corridors, as well as its relative lower cost compared to ‘western’ Europe. We like to call Brno ‘business smart’ when describing the city to foreign investors due to this combination of factors.
What our municipality could do to make Brno more attractive for international companies and its senior professionals?
We feel that there is still much to do in terms of infrastructure investment in such things as improving highways around the city, development of the airport by increasing routes, as well as making good on long-term plans to move the main railway station which has been under review for many many years.
CTP is a Dutch company and your background is American. What experience could we take from these countries to improve our business environment and create more cosmopolitan atmosphere?
Learning from the American experience — which historically has involved quite a number of quick decisions about major development projects, so taking a little bit more of that thinking could help the city make strong moves in development of the city infrastructure. The ongoing trend which embodies some of the US experience of creating science-business ‘hot spots’ — local “silicon valleys” — is a very effective strategy and suited to Brno.
As a Dutch-led company, CTP does apply Dutch design principles of organisation in our site plans and architecture, bringing together water, green areas as well as bike and pedestrian paths into all our business parks. I think CTP is far ahead in this thinking and can serve to inspire what the city can look like in the future as it develops.
What do you as a foreigner appreciate in Brno? And what do you miss here?
I enjoy the feel. Brno seems to have the right dynamic. It’s a ‘virtuous circle’ where business, universities, science and technology mix. It’s very international in that respect, while at the same time the city has maintained its human scale, its local personality: it’s easy to pop out to the countryside, bike the wine regions and soak in the local culture. It’s a very enjoyable place. Miss? Not sure. There’s no beach — but a nice big lake!