The World Trade Centers Association’s exclusive World Trade Center branded properties and trade service organisations are located in more than 90 countries around the world. The newest addition, the World Trade Center Gibraltar, is currently under development and will be available for occupation from the end of 2015. Pete Burgess, head of sales and marketing for the project, spoke to The Report Company about what this new development will mean for the jurisdiction.
The Report Company: What is the rationale behind the project in Gibraltar?
Pete Burgess: The World Trade Center has been around and talked about since about 2010 in Gibraltar, which is when the license was purchased. It’s been delayed slightly because of various other projects that the developers, Fairhomes, have been involved in.
It’s a very well-known fact that the Gibraltarian economy has been extremely successful over the last ten years. It’s achieved growth levels that are very high in comparison to the rest of Europe, but one of the challenges that the infrastructure in Gibraltar has sometimes struggled to keep pace. A range of category A professional firms are coming into Gibraltar to operate, but what we don’t have is category A office space. That was the original rationale behind World Trade Center: we need to have in Gibraltar the kind of working environment that matches the quality of the companies that are operating here.
TRC: Who will be the tenants at World Trade Center Gibraltar?
PB: I’ve been working with World Trade Center for 18 months now, and for the first probably 15 months of that we were concentrating almost entirely on Gibraltar. As a result, it’s 85 percent full already; we have less than 2,000 square metres still available. Despite that, we started recently to market the World Trade Center internationally, at events such as the European World Trade Center meeting in Istanbul in April.
Historically, the connections with the World Trade Center tend to go very much into financial services, and financial services forms a major part of the Gibraltar economy.
The benefits of Gibraltar are very well known and there’s a definite combination of the fiscal benefits that Gibraltar has to offer and the lifestyle benefits. There are e-gaming companies whose employees have an average age of around 24 who come in on a Monday morning and talk about the waves they were riding in Tarifa at the weekend. It’s not just the youngsters either; we have 100 golf courses between here and Marbella and the sun shines 300 days a year. It’s not too hard to sell because they have these fantastic facilities right on the doorstep. As well as having the fiscal benefits that their company can access through the Gibraltarian jurisdiction, our tenants also can offer their people a fantastic lifestyle.
“World Trade Center will provide an essential part of the infrastructure that will allow Gibraltar’s economy to continue to grow and succeed at the rate that it has done for the last ten years”Tweet This
TRC: How large an investment does the project represent?
PB: It’s about a £45 million investment. We were offering 20 percent discounts to early adopters, which were starting at around £280 per a square metre. Those 20 percent discounts have now been withdrawn. As soon as we start promoting World Trade Center internationally, I’m not selling World Trade Center; I’m selling Gibraltar. Everything that we are doing is about promoting Gibraltar internationally as a business and a relocation jurisdiction.
TRC: What will the World Trade Center do for the Gibraltarian economy?
PB: I think the first thing it does is gives a huge amount of credibility because it is a highly-respected global brand. The mere fact that there is a World Trade Center operating in Gibraltar and that you can say to a major company that this brand was willing to come here says all the right things about the confidence in the Gibraltarian economy. I would say that the brand is a quality guarantee. People come into World Trade Centers because they know what they’re going to get: there is going to be a specific quality level and it’s going to say the right things about you as a business.
I think the World Trade Center will become the hub of Gibraltarian business. Deals will be done in the corridors and cafes in World Trade Center and if you’re not in there, then you won’t be involved in those deals. That, as an argument, has resonated with a lot of businesses here.
TRC: Will the building enhance the skyline of Gibraltar?
PB: I think it absolutely will enhance it because it’s an iconic building. You will not be able to get in or out of Gibraltar without seeing the World Trade Center. It’s a really interesting design.
Every building has to be built on solid foundations and every successful economy has to be built on solid infrastructure. And when I talk about infrastructure I’m talking about everything goes to support a local economy. For me there’s no doubt that what World Trade Center will do is provide an essential part of that infrastructure that will allow Gibraltar’s economy to continue to grow and succeed at the rate that it has done for the last ten years.
“The original rationale behind World Trade Center was that we need to have in Gibraltar the kind of working environment that matches the quality of the companies”Tweet This