Park Lane: An office building of the future

Albena Petrova: Investing in “smart” systems generates fast ROI

Park Lane Office Center is one of the newest state-of-the-art office buildings in Sofia. Completed in 2021, the building was designed and planned as a fully future-oriented project, requiring integration of cutting edge “smart” systems and technologies to guarantee the comfort of its tenants, owners and building operators for the decades to come. This mission has been fulfilled which has been proven by the prestigious awards, received by the building as well as by the sale of the building to the software giant SAP - only several months after its completion.

To find out more about the project, its implementation, the awards, and the excellent results, we are speaking with three experts, directly involved in the integration of innovative systems in the building. These are Albena Petrova, Technical Director of Park Lane Developments JSC, Georgi Gogov, Key Account Manager at New System Ltd., and Ivan Ivanov, Technical Manager at Electricity Ltd.

Would you please tell us more about Park Lane Office Center project from the position of investor in the building? Please, elaborate on its history and mission.

А.P. Park Lane Office Center is the pilot project of the then newly founded Park Lane Developments company, part of AG Capital, whose major objective is investing in the realization of last generation office and logistics projects. When we commenced Park Lane project, we intended to show our understanding of a high-quality office environment and in that way to set new, higher standards.

 

What objectives were set at the project planning phase? And what about the main challenges you encountered?

А. P. Our objective was to create a unique building, standing out not only with first-class finishing works and excellent interior solutions, but also with cutting edge building technologies and “smart” systems which could guarantee good comfort for the occupants. We insisted on integrating a last generation building management system which could enable us to both monitor and control the different KPIs of the building. One of the greatest challenges we encountered was to choose the best system. 

What future-proof, innovative technologies by Siemens were integrated in Park Lane Office Center?

G.G. The automation and control system of Park Lane has been implemented by New System Ltd. with Siemens solutions: Hardware: PXC controllers and TXM input/output modules and Desigo CC specialized visualization software. The Building Management System (BMS) incorporates AHU, VAV dampers, a VRV system, electricity meters, water meters, monitoring of transformers, sewage ventilation management, garage ventilation management. Other functions are monitoring of systems like drainage pumps, pumps for domestic use, monitoring of the temperature and humidity levels in the storerooms, monitoring of the temperature and sensors for leakage detection in the server rooms, a lift monitoring system. 

I.I.: Electricity, has integrated in Park Lane two systems, based on Siemens technologies – access control system and Cerberus fire alarm system. All systems in the building have been integrated in one platform and in this way, they contribute to the management of the building in a coordinated way. 

Based on your experience, what are the benefits and advantages of Siemens Desigo CC ?

А.P. Desigo CC BMS allows for accommodating the needs and peculiarities of every single building. Systems by different suppliers can be integrated in the BMS and monitored which we consider one of the major advantages of Siemens’ BMS. We have accomplished excellent integration and harmony in the work of the safety and security systems, the access control system, the video surveillance and the alarm and security system. All these systems function flawlessly in a smooth mode of work.  

The integrated system enables us to continuously visualize and manage a lot of KPIs of the building systems. We can monitor and control the climate in the separate rooms of the building. We can also manage the levels of temperature, humidity, and lighting.  For some rooms there are specific humidity requirements, so we have installed humidity sensors there. On the underground floors where the parking lot is located, we are monitoring the levels of carbon dioxide. Therefore, this system enables us to create a safe and healthy environment.

The interface is very easy to use and is available 24/7, which enables building operators and suppliers of different services to continuously monitor their KPIs. This results in less expenses, faster service, and greater comfort for the tenants.

Park Lane Office Center is currently applying for Green Building LEED Platinum Certificate. What are the certification requirements and how could they be met?

A.P. LEED certification was envisaged in the initial planning stages as most of the biggest tenants require that their employees work only in a certified building. Therefore, our goal was to get a LEED Gold Certificate. During the certification process it has turned out that we can meet the requirements for LEED Platinum.  

How can this Certificate enhance the investment value of the building?

A.P. In general, LEED certification and the systems that should be integrated in a building for it to get a LEED certificate, particularly the smart systems, allow for monitoring the expenses against energy consumption, so that the so-called energy management can be performed. In this way LEED certification ensures an increased value of the investment.

In the current context of constantly rising energy prices, energy management is of great importance as it allows for distributing the consumed energy to the separate consumers, whereby tenants are provided with detailed reports of their consumption of energy for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, etc.  In this way energy consumptions gets far more predictable and optimal energy consumption values can be set.

Park Lane Office Center has won many prestigious awards. Would you please tell us more about them and elaborate on the criteria you have met to receive these prizes?

Yes, we have won many awards which we are very proud of. We participated in the International Property Awards in London. There we received the highest 5-star prize. We are pleased that we have claimed the first prize in the 11th Edition of the International Investment Awards in Office Developments category.

At the 20th Jubilee Edition of Building of the Year Contest we were awarded first prize in “Green architecture and innovations” category and the Special prize for office and corporate buildings. We also received the award for creative office space of B2B Media.

 We have obviously set high standards as our first and biggest tenant Allianz moved in the building right after its completion which was the largest deal in the property rental category for 2020.

Last year we completed the deal for the sale of the building to SAP. This has been the largest investment deal in Bulgaria for the last three years and we are very much proud of this accomplishment.

 

Speaking about the deal with SAP, which benefits of the buildings have managed to provoke the interest of the IT giant?

SAP are a world leader in the software business and are known for their high requirements for the building their employees work in. Their team of experts have examined all systems in the building and strictly monitored their operation. The BMS can relieve the work of the facility management company from which the owners can also benefit. We are very pleased that we have managed to meet all these requirements. 

What are the requirements of current buyers from buildings? Is the BMS among them?

In addition to the most common requirements for a good location and a quick and easy access to the respective building, today’s tenants and buyers are more and more getting to show preferences for flexible buildings, but flexible not only in terms of options for reconstruction and transformation of the separate office units and floors, but also in terms of flexible systems and an efficient BMS that can adapt to the new, future needs of tenants and buyers. 

It is important for them to be able to manage the systems, integrated in the building, to monitor and predict the expenses and to react fast in case of problems. They require that the building should be energy efficient and that all processes could be managed in a smart way. 

As investor in one of the most modern business centers in Sofia, what would you advise investors in future buildings? What technological solutions are obligatory to guarantee ROI?

When investors start a project, they should be fully aware that we live in a quite dynamic time with respect to the development of technologies. We all have smart phones and clocks with the newest functionalities. We tend to transfer these requirements to our homes and buildings. We would like them to be smarter and more practical, to have a future-proof Building Management System. Investors should predict the future requirements of tenants, focusing on the technologies which facilitate the use of a building.

This investment in cutting edge technologies generates very quick ROI and guarantees a high-quality comfortable environment which ensures long-term satisfaction of tenants, owners, and occupants of buildings.