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21. 9. 2021

Good addresses create lasting value of a particular location

That's what Omar Koleilat says, a man you seemingly all know. Besides being the co-founder of the developer company Crestyl, Omar is also a resident of DOCK. He is of Czech and Lebanese decent; he studied architecture and earned a British real estate investment diploma. Omar is married, has three children and it's no surprise his hobbies include sports – he is a former professional basketball player and in recent years, he enjoys getting out to go water skiing. Despite his extraordinary workload, he made time for an interesting interview this summer.

Your activities are not "just" successful developer projects, but they follow a certain vision. Can you share with us what that vision is?

At Crestyl, we are constantly striving to raise the bar of quality and design in the real estate sector, and to push the market further to reach a higher level. We try to reflect our philosophy in our projects. We focus on quality, design, functional architecture, reliability and innovation. Our projects are also open to their surroundings, they communicate with it, and they also combine multiple functions, so they come to represent a place that’s always lively. What results is a combination of all these important aspects that shape our philosophy. In short, we create pleasant places to be - not only for work or living, but also for spending free time. The environment that surrounds a person is really important.

So are you on your way to becoming a kind of trend setter in the field, are you doing well?

I really believe so. In my opinion, it is quite archaic thinking to look at individual buildings in isolation without regard for the whole. This is indeed essential - the synergy of all the functions that the given place has to offer and the people who have some relationship towards it. We do not only think about the architecture of buildings, but about the entire public space, tenants, residents, users, partners, surrounding residents, but also all others who have a connection to the place where we create our project. We see great potential in Crestyl, we believe in it and as a developer, we try to work with it and cultivate it. The fact that we focus on retail, offices and housing gives us the opportunity to revive places where it would otherwise take many years to get anywhere. This synergy allows us to create a real community within individual territories, even in the middle of big anonymous cities. In my opinion, this is the main trend in which Crestyl is a pioneer.

What is it that makes your apartments and houses immediately sell out?

It's all connected - we place great emphasis not only on the houses themselves, but also on their surroundings. For example, greenery is one of the key elements in our projects, being far more diversified and thoughtful than it usually is elsewhere. Simply put, we do not build projects, but create addresses where people want to live. And even though each of our projects is different and has varying characteristics, this is what connects them all. Good addresses create lasting value of a particular space

In Prague-Liben, many years ago, you implemented the plan for a residential building, which is now considered the first stage of construction. Had you expected at that time that its expansion would soon take place and that DOCK would ultimately grow into its current magnificent form on a Prague brownfield?

Of course we had planned it, but in the end, it was a long journey. I had hoped that we would be able to complete our plan sooner. We started with DOCK fifteen years ago. At the time it was our biggest investment, and almost no one at the time understood why we had decided to create something in such a neglected area, where there used to be shipyards. And now we are finishing it all and the results of this long work can be seen - the largest companies have their offices here and all the apartments have found buyers. The place is indeed magical. The project is surrounded by water features, there are parks, bike paths, and meanwhile it is close to everywhere. DOCK brought life to the environment and at the same time became a natural part of it.

For projects that are created and grow in the context of decades, it is necessary to work thoughtfully with the construction, technological, but also visual aspect. What all does that entail?

We must remain at least one step ahead of the market. This is easy to say, but much harder to do - it means that we must foresee many years ahead how the market and people's demands for work and housing will develop. If I take the example of DOCK, we wasted no time and commissioned the project out to five different architectural offices, which together created an amazing place. At the same time, we avoided the tedious repetition of the same buildings as usual in other places. It was the interaction with all these experienced architects that moved us ahead.


How do you choose places for your projects?

As I mentioned, we create addresses. And when considering a site for our project, we need to be convinced that it is at this point that it will be possible to create that address - not just build a building and rent or sell it. It is especially important for us whether it will be possible to connect the project well to its surroundings and if we can create a quality public space here. The amount of greenery and the aesthetic quality of its incorporation into the project are among the key aspects for us.

What is the biggest obstacle for you in the Czech Republic in your field?

Unfortunately, the answer is unambiguously bureaucracy. This disproportionately prolongs all preparation, which benefits nobody. We cannot respond quickly to the needs of tenants, residents, local governments or the public. It is no exception for the permit process of the project to take us ten months - while in neighboring Poland it takes just six months.

And is there anything that makes the Czech Republic attractive to developers?

Fortunately, there is a lot that makes it attractive, and I am glad for that, because this country really is beautiful. But if I have to give an example that directly affects our activities, it is certainly the fact that Czechs as a nation really value quality at least in new housing. And we at Crestyl share this view.

Coming to DOCK is like coming to a city within a city. Where do you find the inspiration for the look and atmosphere of your residences?

I would say that this is a certain collective inspiration across our entire company and those who work with us in implementing our projects. It's not just about the architects, but about the whole team of talented people that each of our projects creates. We all know that the goal is to build a beautiful place with a unique atmosphere that will excite the first time you see it and thereafter, while creating the lasting value of this address.

You are a very busy person ... You probably don't have too much free time, but when you do, where do you like to spend it with your family?

There is a simple answer to this - by the water. And basically it doesn't matter what water - thanks to the Vltava waterline I enjoy spending time in DOCK, but I also spend a lot of time with my family by the sea. It is probably partly related to my biggest passion, which are sports. I played basketball professionally, and that was what ultimately brought me back to "my roots" in the Czech Republic. But my current sporting passion is water ski slalom. My whole family is actually enjoying this sport.

Your love for sports is reflected across the DOCK concept ...

That's right. In my opinion, exercise is really important for health and DOCK offers a number of possibilities. A lot of it can take place here on that water, but sports intertwine everywhere in DOCK. There is a special tartan running track around the complex, which we connect to the surrounding city bike paths leading to the center and to Troja. Right in the park in the middle of DOCK, this track is complemented by a speedometer while running. A fitness center, exercise park, bicycle stands and related facilities for office staff - such as showers - are a matter of course. And there are many other options in the neighborhood.

What would you like to be if you didn't become a developer? What profession was your dream?

As a child, I thought I was going to be a doctor, as were most members of my family. But during my studies, I was attracted to architecture - I was fascinated by skyscrapers as interesting and very complex buildings that solve many problems with a given locality. But the dream job was to make a living from a popular sport, which is probably a dream lots of children have. It can be said that unfortunately I was not good enough to make a living at the level I imagined, but honestly development is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful professions. You can create something that carries a link for future generations.

Thanks for the interview.