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“Lisbon has become a start-up city” – Interview with Rui Coelho, Executive Director at Invest Lisboa

Why do you like attending EXPO REAL?

Rui Coelho: A few years ago, when we decided we wanted to promote Lisbon, we talked to experts and they were unanimous in recommending EXPO REAL as one of the fairs we should attend. I visited Munich to see what it was like and decided we should try it.

The first time we attended, we were still finding our feet, but nowadays we have a much better understanding and companies in Lisbon have shown real interest in joining us at the stand. For 2016, we’ll be taking a 50 square meter space – our biggest ever at EXPO REAL – and we’re partnering with seven companies. These include Baía do Tejo (Lisbon South Bay), Bprime Real Estate Consultants, Castelhana Real Estate Agency, MLGTS Lawyers, BAS Lawyers, PLMJ Lawyers, and Infante & Riu Real Estate Agency.



What is the current real estate situation in Portugal?

Portugal has been going from strength to strength in the wake of the economic crisis. Changes made to the lease laws in 2012 have had a considerable positive impact. Add to that the fact that Portugal’s tourism industry was always strong and you currently have a very interesting situation. In the last couple of years, tourism has been growing by 14% annually and our golden visa scheme for non-EU residents has attracted talents. Furthermore, tax incentives for the rehabilitation of old buildings and to attract new fiscal residents – the latter applicable to anybody who wasn’t a taxpayer in Portugal in the last five years – are contributing to the boom.

Lisbon has become a start-up city, and it shows. Apart from having been designated as the European Capital of Entrepreneurship in 2015 by the European Union, the city was also chosen to host the Web Summit for the next three years. Furthermore, the Mayor of Lisbon and the Prime Minister of Portugal recently signed an agreement to develop Europe’s largest entrepreneurial hub in an old industrial area very close to the river and the city center, so we continue to go from strength to strength.


Will you be holding any special events at EXPO REAL this year?

We will be hosting a special event at Room B13 on October 5th from 3.00pm to 4.30pm. This will be to promote Lisbon City Council’s new project to create 7000 brand new homes with affordable rents. The City Council is providing the land for this program as well as some buildings for refurbishment. The long-term prospect for this project is excellent. Some parts of it will need big and experienced players in the area of affordable rents, and since in Portugal we don’t have many companies experienced in this kind of business, we will try to find them at EXPO REAL.

Another project we will be promoting is Lisbon South Bay, the brand adopted for the region along the south bank of the Tagus River. The region includes a large plot of land facing the center of Lisbon, which has been designated for a real estate mix-use development that will include a marina. Investment consultants, lawyers, and officials responsible for the City Council’s affordable rents project as well as the state-owned Baía do Tejo will all be on hand to take questions and talk to potential investors.

More on this subject: Lisbon at EXPO REAL: Confidence in Portugal’s realty sector


Rui CoelhoRui Ramos Pinto Coelho is the Executive Director of Invest Lisboa, Lisbon’s investment promotion agency. Invest Lisboa is a partnership between the Lisbon City Council and the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Rui Coelho is responsible for international investment promotion and various economic development projects. He is the author of various articles published in leading Portuguese newspapers.

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