Andrés Gómez
President and CEO
GVA
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View from the Top

Predicting Residential, Commercial and Tourism Trends

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 14:28

Q: How does GVA differentiate itself from competitors?

A: Throughout our 50-year experience in the market, we have had the opportunity to participate in a wide array of sectors, from tourism to commercial. We have offices strategically located in Latin America, in Mexico, Panama, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and in London. We are used to breaking paradigms to create innovative and profitable developments. We consider ourselves business partners to our clients on every project; we provide leadership and solve each situation in a creative way. We are not afraid to stray from original plans and question developers in an effort to change structures that will improve user experience and satisfaction.

We have a multicultural and multidisciplinary team that ensures the inclusion of many perspectives into our designs. Our team is made up of professionals spanning several generations and that gives us an advantage in the way we perceive and filter the contemporary world. We have vast experience but we preserve a flexible structure that allows us to evolve.

Q: What are the most important projects you are developing?

A: Two of our biggest projects are Arkansas State University Querétaro and América Centro Mundial de Negocios, which is being developed in Bogota. We are also designing a themed all-inclusive hotel, a mixed-use resort with a casino and restaurants that will revolutionize the guest experience. This project is expected to create new benchmarks for the hotel industry in Mexico.

The University of Arkansas is disrupting the concept of education because it is the first time that a public university in the US has established a campus outside the country. It is a significant achievement that it chose Mexico as its first international campus. The university’s educational model is quite innovative because it had to blend the US and Mexican schemes into one campus and it allows students to obtain a degree that is valid in both the US and Mexico. Although it is a traditionally highly subsidized state university, it is private in Mexico, which implies higher profits.

Q: What are the main challenges you face when creating a blueprint?

A: Through our blueprints, we prove our commitment to creating projects that are responsible and promote a better quality of life within cities. The idea is to make sure that 70 percent of a person’s daily movement is within walking or biking distance. We develop integrated districts that can meet the needs of its inhabitants. We strive to go beyond location, and ensure that projects have additional characteristics that make them unique and attract visitors.

It is a challenge to find the balance between human interaction and the business model; we always aim to create added value for our clients. With each project, we strive to design quality of life with creative solutions that are respectful and in harmony with the environment. It is a big challenge to shift the mindset of clients that are not in tune with sustainability. It is much easier to create an entirely new neighborhood, as is being done at the University of Arkansas. When we are renovating an area, we have to make sure we sufficiently understand the needs of the district. Either way, we are always working in a complex ecosystem.

Q: How are you changing the concept of public spaces?

A: The designs of new shopping centers are blurring the boundaries between commercial and public spaces. Streets are becoming an extension of shopping areas, creating a better experience for visitors, who can socialize and interact. I believe rather than changing the concept of public spaces we are bringing back the essence. The streets and public plazas are the true and original mixed-use spaces were people find solutions to multiple needs, where we meet people, interact with the environment, where we find local identity, where we should feel safe and in contact. We are trying to bring back those experiences.