Many eyes are pointed towards Croatia these days, and the reason is not only holidaying. The country is attracting people across the globe with a fantastic lifestyle, low costs of living, quick access to the largest European cities, new job openings in the technology sector, and just being a fantastic location for remote workers.
This, of course, is triggering emotions with the Croatian diaspora, who very often dream to come back and start their Croatian story or just feel that they should be the ones to lead with the investments into their country of origin.
One of them is Robert Kralj, born in Varaždin County, and currently living on the route between Berlin – Zadar – Zagreb – Varaždin. He graduated in Civil Engineering at the Technical University in Berlin, and in 1999 started a construction company for renovations and building.
Together with his partners Domagoj Krpina, a Varaždin based lawyer, and Polish national Artur Wichniarek, he kicked off his investments into Croatia twenty years later, in 2019. Robert’s goal is to help position Croatia on the EU map as a high-quality luxury real estate location.
We asked Robert a few questions about his business and current projects, so we’ll use this opportunity to thank him for his time and this conversation.
The luxury housing market
Can you explain to our readers the key differentiators of the build type Adria Europe Group is championing in Croatia’s building and construction market?
Adria Europe Group’s vision is carefully defined and based primarily on great quality and beauty and new standards of the build.
While choosing our locations and contractors we aspire to a high standard implemented into each step of the process, from foundations to the final aesthetics and upgrading the level of comfort in our clients’ lives.
Our properties on the Zadar coast are in the fantastic beachfront real estate. In Varaždin, our luxury apartment block will have its own lavishly equipped SPA centre and indoor pool, which is the first real-estate development of that kind.
Our relationship with clients is of extreme importance to us, therefore we made ourselves available at both locations, Varaždin and Zadar. Our Varaždin office is a great location for our buyers from Poland and Hungary and has quick and practical access to administrative or legal assistance. Our associates are also located in these two cities where we have building sites, the architectural office Cubus is in Varazdin and Maria Francesca Gotovina is in Zadar.
In that sense, we are particularly glad to have the opportunity to work with local professionals on our designs and projects.
What were your market findings, and why did you focus on Zadar and the surrounding area?
Privlaka, which is close to Zadar, is the place where I bought my first weekend house. On the one hand, I am emotionally attached to that part of the Adriatic, while on the other hand, Zadar has numerous beautiful attractions and a great geographic location as well.
It’s in central Dalmatia, well-connected to Zagreb and the southern coast, close to many wonderful islands and national parks, with lots of sun, clear sea, and a rich gastronomic offering. All that makes it a great area for this type of real estate.
Which areas did you find the most difficult to source talent for when assembling your team?
With the increase in workload, we were looking for a larger number of quality workers and construction and architecture experts. Formally educated people with experience are hard to find, plus there’s a lot of construction happening on the coast, especially in Zadar.
We plan in advance what type of person and expertise we might need, and we carefully select our workers and associates to make sure we can deliver on our promise of a high standard in each segment of our work.
Can you tell us a bit about projects on the coast and their estimated finalisation dates?
We have a plan with around thirty objects on the Zadar coast, Varaždin and Zagreb area.
The first Adria Europe Group’s project, Villa Blumarina in beautiful Sukošan near Zadar, is in its final stages, and we have two apartments still available for sale.
After Blumarina, by the end of next spring, Villa Golden Sand in Ljubac should also be completed.
What do you think is the reason that Zadar county has a lack of luxurious accommodation locations?
Zadar and its surrounding county, just like the whole of Dalmatia, show great potential for building this type of real estate. Not just properties to live in, or secondary homes, but also investment properties.
In 2020, London Post declared Croatia the number one country to invest in, and Investopedia called it a ‘rising star’ when it comes to buying a second property.
It seems to me that we are just now realising our potential and all the benefits that building luxury real estate could bring. From attracting buyers with greater financial power, increasing budget income, and encouraging growth in other industries.
Executing such a high standard of build is not an easy job, but it is a challenge we decided to tackle, and we have faith that we will live up to it.
What will be the key features of your Social responsibility plan?
Social responsibility is of extreme importance to us. We want to contribute to the community in which we build and create, and just like in our business, we strive to improve the standard.
We are preparing a plan of socially responsible activities that will support projects in Zadar County that are trying to push boundaries in their field, like art, culture, and ecological sustainability, which we find very important. We also cooperate with Zadar’s animal shelter, and we hope to continually support their selfless work.
You’re originally from Varaždin, Northern Croatia; what are the projects you are planning for that region?
Varaždin is such a fantastic city to live in, with excellent traffic connections to numerous European cities, rich cultural and gastronomy traditions still being preserved through numerous events.
The luxurious apartment building in Varaždin is a project in process and at the beginning of next year, we’ll start with the construction of another one. In that project, we are focused on small luxurious apartments since we noticed the need for them in the Varaždin area.
Robert notes that their buyers are usually people who recognise and seek real estate of the highest standard, mostly foreign and local businessmen and families that value great quality, comfort, aesthetics, but also the location of the property especially when buying a second home.
Anyone interested in luxury real estate on the coast or in the continent can contact the Adria Europe Group team via their contacts published on the webpage and find more information about projects, translated to Croatian, English, German, Polish and Hungarian.