Going Vertical for the Future

Nico Purnomo Po, Pollux Properties chief executive. (GA Photo/Defrizal)

By : Eko Prasetyo and Yanto Soegiarto | on 4:10 PM January 10, 2018
Category : Advertorial, Property

Pollux Properties, one of Asia's premier property companies and BCI Indonesia's Top 10 Developer Awards recipient, has been recognized for its portfolio of award-winning residential developments, commercial properties, as well as high standard of corporate governance and transparency. Pollux Properties chief executive Nico Purnomo Po explains his hands-on approach to investment, development and management of the company's global portfolio in an interview with GlobeAsia, setting out his plans for the next decade.

GlobeAsia: What is your outlook on Indonesia's property market in 2018?

Nico Purnomo Po: I think we have to look beyond the next two years. For Indonesia, we need to look at the prospects for the next 10 years. We have to look at our long-term goals, as property developers we should prepare for Indonesia's success within the next 10 or 15 years. Currently, we have big problems in the cities, including Jakarta, as they are not able to sustain so much population growth. These issues range from traffic jams, sewage, water quality, city management and the rise of the millennial population in the country.

We have found two possible solutions as a real estate developer. First we are looking at urban renewal, meaning additional transportation, infrastructure, the MRT, new sewage developments and more schools. But the big question remains: "Is it enough for Indonesia with its very productive population?"

In the next five years, we will have 75-80 percent of our population being productive: working, paying taxes, creating value-added services and building the economy. This is the opposite of Japan, where 60 percent of the population is elderly and only 40 percent is productive. It is the same in Europe, in the United States, where 60 percent of its budget goes to health care subsidies.

Secondly, [we are planning] vertical city developments, or vertical satellite city developments.

What do you mean by vertical city development projects?

We believe this is the only solution for the huge millennial population and growth in the city, by developing new vertical satellite CBDs all around the capital, and we are developing it "technology up." The challenges are to create and ensure harmonious living between senior citizens, the rising millennial generation and the working population. The transformation of society within the next ten years will be radical.

Within the next 10 years, the speed of changes and developments will be five times greater, as the way we live will shift dramatically. For example, Uber is purchasing $2 billion worth of Volvo robotic vehicles to provide a brand new transportation system in the US.

It is basically a big change of mindset in the way people live. Looking at this, we have to keep on researching more developments, as Google did by creating a habitat, a vertical city habitat, as it will be impossible to re-develop an existing city such as the capital.

Pollux is concentrating on the outer parts of the capital. Why is there a preference for eastern parts of Jakarta? What are the potentials?

As a property developer, we observe all aspects of government initiatives, infrastructure investments, population structures, as well as lifestyle trends. We are looking at good catalysts to create successful satellite vertical city developments, as it would be impossible without [supportive] government policies. In our perspective, Bekasi and Karawang have the future catalysts.

What are these catalysts? The first is Kertajati Airport, set for completion in 2019; then the ongoing construction of the elevated toll road to ease the traffic jams; the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train that will stop in Karawang; the double-track railway that ends in Cikarang and will expand to Karawang in the near future; the main roads developed in the Karawang area, like the Thamrin-Sudirman main road in Jakarta. The government is doing a fantastic job to create a balance in industrial developments and a new CBD development, in addition to creating two new toll exits in the area.

With this kind of transportation infrastructure, the largest investment in infrastructure is being developed in Bekasi, Cikarang and Karawang. Soon this will move towards Semarang [in Central Java]. We have the Chadstone development in Cikarang, Gangnam District in Bekasi and Pollux Technopolis in Karawang.

Pollux Technopolis aims to adapt Japan's lifestyle. What does this involve?

We need the right ingredients to build a vertical city. All developers are competing to build the right products to address market needs. In our Technopolis, we see that the entire development is occupied by big automotive groups from Japan, South Korea and China.

We felt that we needed a development that can fit in with this industry. We see many Japanese expatriates, expatriate communities, Japanese mega-investments in Karawang, in addition to the fact that the Japanese culture is something that is very close to our culture based on history.

We try to bring the atmosphere of one of the most famous streets in Japan's Osaka, the Dotonburi shopping street, to Karawang as we relate that to our dynamic and active culture, which is extroverted and hospitable. We are among the most hospitable communities in Southeast Asia.

So, it is a culture that is in synergy with a very active commercial hub. We like to eat outside, we can bring our parents to dine out, bring them to the malls, or go with the elderly and young children together, which are typical traditions of Indonesian families. We feel that Dotonburi Street is a very active commercial hub, where various food and beverages, cultures, as well as traditions will be a great mix in Karawang with its dense and dynamic young population.

How did Pollux Properties grow to its current scale, and what is your leadership philosophy as a member of the younger generation?

My parents started Pollux as they acquired a land bank and developed it over the past 15 years, before continuing to grow further together with Indonesia's fantastic economic growth. From my perspective, I think leadership today is different than my father's era, where everyone had to have the same mindset. Everything starts with the mindset.

Today leadership is not about instructions, but about educating your big family of people. It is only by proper education and discussions that we can achieve our goals together. My leadership style is all about creating the mindset through education, such as training and briefing sessions with the same consistent goals and placing everyone at the same mindset, with the same concept to drive them to the same goals, while really looking at the threats, risks, challenges, opportunities as well as navigating through good and bad times. As long as there is proper risk management, I think we can produce the desired results.

I have good role models, my parents, as they provided me with the right family values, Asian and cultural values that we need whatever the changes in technology or lifestyle, as the foundation to grow all kinds of possible outcomes in the future.

Do you do business based on partnerships?

Not really. We do our own developments, but in some of these strategic locations we also do partnerships with those who have the same mindset, concept and philosophy in creating lifestyle change and solutions.

Pollux Properties has established various projects throughout the capital and other areas of Indonesia. It has the World Capital Tower in Mega Kuningan, and several other buildings in the area. It has other developments outside Java, for example a Mega Superblock in Batam in cooperation with former President BJ Habibie. The company also has several projects in Singapore, including a serviced apartment on Avalon Road and other developments on the East Coast.

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