The master thesis “Real Estate Investments in Post-Communist Countries” provided the impetus for the founding of Tanax GmbH in Hamburg. Heskel Nathaniel completed his MBA in the UK and moved to Germany shortly afterwards to gain a foothold in the real estate business. Working together with a friend from Israel, the idea was to bring real estate and investors together and generate added value.
1990 | 01
1990 | 02
Tanax’s first venture was a project at Hausvogteiplatz in Berlin. The young entrepreneurs planned to revive the area and create a contemporary fashion and textile center. Prior to WW II, many renowned companies of the German textile industry were located here, most of them owned by Jewish families.
Two years of hard work and enthusiasm followed; the DM400 million project grew and investors from the US and Israel were found. Finally, three companies were invited to jointly buy and develop the plot. But the project failed. Two years of work had been invested in vain and the company folded.
THE FOUNDING OF E.D.R GMBH
Heskel Nathaniel and Daniel Avner have been friends since their youth in Haifa, Israel. Independently of Heskel, Dan had also moved to Germany, to Frankfurt. They decided to open a business together with the project at Hausvogteiplatz as reference, despite it never having been realized.
On their quest for financiers they stumbled upon Dr. Marcus Bierich, at that time chairman of the advisory board of Robert Bosch. He agreed to provide financial support for a real estate company in Berlin – E.D.R. Eastern Development & Real Estate was born. Dr. Bierich’s son Robert, a university friend of Dan Avner’s, joined Heskel and Dan as a business partner.
THE BOETZOW PROJECT
A plot of land for a housing development project in Boetzow, in the northwest outskirts of Berlin came to the attention of the E.D.R. entrepreneurs. The initial plan was to find a buyer and resell the property at a profit. However, several hurdles arose and various adaptations of the business model were necessary over a period of two years. To make a very long story short: Heskel, Dan, and Robert decided to develop the plot themselves and build 52 family houses.
A NEW PARTNER AND FIRST BANK LOAN
Roman Krulich joined E.D.R., now becoming the fourth partner. Roman’s previous experience in the real estate industry made the financing of the Boetzow project by the Sueddeutsche Bodencreditbank possible.
After countless consultations with banks to secure finance, the four ultimately found an institution which had confidence in their ability to build the new Boetzow quarter. In 2000, six years after initiation, the project was completed, every home sold and a moderate profit made.
ZEUTHEN AM SEEGARTEN
E.D.R. grew slowly and won the federal government’s bid for a large lakeside project in Zeuthen, Brandenburg. Seegarten Zeuthen, once the only diplomat leisure club in the former GDR, was acquired. 89 family homes and a marina were built under the auspices of the Federal Republic of Germany. In the doom and gloom of the real estate crisis of the late 1990s and early 2000s it took them five years to complete the project Zeuthen am Seegarten. Many companies capitulated during those years, but E.D.R. pulled through.
2004 | 01
MOVING ON FROM E.D.R. TO ARSAGO
By 2004, E.D.R. had built 250 residential units totaling DM150 million after sales. Among the highlights were two award-winning residential projects in collaboration with the German Federal Ministry of Finance for employees of the German government.
Despite discontinuation of active business, E.D.R. remained a going concern until 2014 in order to be able to fulfill any warranty claims from buyers up to 5 years following the final sale.
Now it was time to embark on a new venture: arsago Alternative Capital Management.
2004 | 02
ARSAGO PARTNERS WITH MORGAN STANLEY
Whilst Heskel Nathaniel concentrated on winding up E.D.R., Daniel Avner, Robert Bierich, Roman Krulich, and Dr. Claus Löwe, the vice chairman at JP Morgan Europe, set up arsago Alternative Capital Management, an investment platform for German residential properties. Thanks to Robert Bierich’s contacts, the partners were able to welcome the real estate investment arm of Morgan Stanley as a major investor and active partner.
The business model focused on raising capital from institutional investors in order to acquire, manage and build an attractive residential real estate portfolio. A total of 15,000 residential units were purchased throughout Germany, several of which were completely derelict. These were later fully restored. Additionally, arsago operated as an asset manager for third parties and financial institutions such as Credit Suisse. The total asset volume exceeded the €1 billion threshold.
2010 | 01
THE BIRTH OF TROCKLAND
The global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 affected many companies, including Morgan Stanley. This brought about the end of arsago’s partnership with the US-based financial organization.
With a clear vision for development and construction, Heskel Nathaniel was ready for a new challenge. In 2010, he left arsago, by now a successful incubator with reliable partners and a stable income. In Berlin-Schoeneberg, Heskel found a residential turn-of-the-century house in Nollendorfstrasse. He and his university friend, Neophytos Stylianou, purchased the house together.
The two embarked on a new adventure and founded a new company with the objective of refurbishing and revitalizing distressed and dilapidated properties. Due to a tight deadline set by their banking partner they accelerated progress by activating a company Phytos had founded earlier in Cyprus. The name: Trockland.
2010 | 02
TROCKLAND COMES OF AGE
By the end of 2010, following the purchase of two more properties in Berlin-Neukoelln and one in Mitte, Trockland’s assets exceeded €10 million. The young company’s timing was excellent; in the wake of the financial crisis, several distressed properties were on the market, ready to be refurbished for the coming years.
2010 | 03
THE GOLDEN RULE
Klaus Diederichs, former chairman of investment banking Europe at JPMorgan and Heskel Nathaniel’s friend Mike Fliderbaum convinced the Trockland partners to open up for external investors. The next property was already on the horizon and the two new investors joined the project. This partnership proved very successful and is still active today.
This partnership was also the foundation of Trockland’s golden rule “Never lose your investor’s money”. This pledge is the basis of Trockland’s ongoing growth …
2012 | 01
MOVING ON WITH PARAGON
Trockland’s first full-scale development project was the acquisition and conversion of an old hospital in Prenzlauer Berg into a contemporary lively quarter. The concept was multi-facetted, from the formulation of a vision statement to refurbishment, new construction and letting. The dimensions of the project were impressive and the team was expanded.
Following project completion, Paragon’s architecture and development has received wide recognition such as:
- the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Official Selection 2016 in bronze in the category “Residential” for outstanding project development
- nomination for the “DAM Preis für Architektur 2017”
- nomination for Deutscher Bauherrenpreis 2018 in the category “Residential Conversion”.
2012 | 02
A NEW “OLD” PARTNER
Daniel Avner joined Trockland as managing partner and chief operating officer. Dan had worked with Heskel Nathaniel and others before when managing Trockland’s predecessors, E.D.R. – Eastern Development Real Estate GmbH and arsago Alternative Capital Management.
2012 | 03
DESIGN PARTNERSHIP WITH GRAFT
2012 marked the start of the cooperation with GRAFT, the internationally acclaimed architects and designers. Trockland commissioned GRAFT with Paragon Apartments in Prenzlauer Berg.
In the following years, there were further projects: BRICKS Berlin Schöneberg, Charlie Living, Charlie Hospitality, and Eiswerk.
NEW BASE FOR TROCKLAND
Trockland acquired a historical commercial complex located between Hauptstrasse and Belziger Strasse in Berlin-Schoeneberg and refurbished the former post and telecommunication offices. With BRICKS Berlin Schöneberg, as the ensemble of buildings and courtyards is known today, Trockland’s assets reached the €100 million threshold.
The listed monument is now Trockland’s headquarters, the home of its expanding team.
FURTHER PARTNERS FOR TROCKLAND
Starting as private investor, the former CEO of VTB Capital plc, Vladimir Sokolov, resolved to join Trockland as a partner, assuming the role of head of corporate finance & investor relations. Additionally, Danielle Shapira and Fabian Frohne, both members of the senior management, became partners.
2015 | 01
CHECKING IN AT CHECKPOINT CHARLIE
With the announcement of its plans for the former allies border crossing, Checkpoint Charlie, Trockland generated a great deal of attention in Berlin and beyond. The checkpoint is not only a symbol of Germany’s divided past, it is also the place where American and Russian tanks faced each other, prepared to fire on October 27th, 1961. Fortunately, the incident ended peacefully and today Checkpoint Charlie is one of Berlin’s most frequently visited sites.
Trockland intends to transform the site and make its history tangible for Berliners, visitors, and future generations. The concept foresees a heterogeneous blend of utilization, including a Hard Rock Hotel, a museum, and rental apartments.
2015 | 02
CHARLIE MEETS ZÜBLIN
The project Charlie Living close to Checkpoint Charlie was the kick-off to Trockland’s partnership with Ed. Züblin AG, one one of the most respected names in building construction and civil engineering in Germany and across Europe. Founded by Swiss engineer Eduard Züblin in 1898, the company has built its success on innovative strength as expressed in intelligent design, new building materials and advanced construction methods. Ed. Züblin AG, a member of globally operating STRABAG SE, owes its success above all to the creativity, hard work and dedication of its 14,000 employees.
Over time, Züblin was involved in further Trockland developments. These include Eiswerk, Charlie Experience, Charlie Hospitality, and PIER 61|63. Züblin’s partnership-based cooperation concept works well with Trockland’s understanding of collaboration.
2015 | 03
A NEW HOME FOR THE KABBALAH
The Kabbalah Centre Berlin at BRICKS Berlin Schöneberg opened towards the end of 2015. In close cooperation with GRAFT Architects, Trockland induced the creation of this new home of the ancient wisdom. The open, bright space with its remarkable, refurbished adorned ceiling is an ideal place for people to study and meet.
Kabbalah is deeply rooted in a mystical understanding of the nature of the universe and the world. The literal translation of Kabbalah means “to receive”. It may be understood as a set of teachings which explore how people can find fulfillment in their lives.
GRAFT won gold for the design of the Kabbalah Centre Berlin at the 10th International Design Awards 2016 in Los Angeles.
2017 | 01
RIDING ON THE CREST OF A (SPREE) WAVE
In 2017, two new and unusual projects were added to Trockland’s portfolio: EISWERK stands on the grounds of a former ice factory at River Spree in Berlin-Mitte and will be transformed into a new urban hub offering a convergence of living, working, and cultural opportunities.
PIER 61|63 at East Side Gallery along the River Spree. Very few projects enjoy a more sought-after, prime location in Berlin. The building fully facing the waterfront will comprise two segments: a hotel and rental apartments.
With both projects Trockland’s asset portfolio reached over €1.2 billion.
2017 | 02
KLAUS & CLAUS AND OTHER PARTNERS
With Marcel Gmerek, Trockland’s chief financial officer, and Dr. Konstantinos Dikeos, the company’s chief technical officer, two more employees became partners.
Additionally, Dr. Claus Löwe, former vice chairman at JP Morgan Europe, who was already part of arsago Alternative Capital Management as well as Klaus Diederichs, former chairman of investment banking Europe at JPMorgan and Trockland investor, became partners, too.
POTSDAM IS CALLING
Trockland goes … no, not international. Not yet! First of all, we are focussing on the metropolitan region of Berlin-Brandenburg and we have just announced our first project outside Berlin; in Potsdam, a hub of digital transformation will be created on the site of the former Reichsbahn repair shop RAW, very close to the main train station. Completion is planned for 2021.Young and old, digital and analog, past and future will meet here and form a synergetic new center.
THE FUTURE BEGINS NOW!
Resting on the laurels would be untypical for Trockland. We intend to increase our unusual portfolio of unconventional residential, commercial and hospitality assets in prime locations and enhance value through dynamic, active management. At the same time we will continue to aim for true excellence. For us, this means continual progress; being better today than yesterday and being better tomorrow than today. To achieve this ambitious goal, we compare our progress against our own track record and personal potential rather than against that of others.
By 2022, we aim to build an asset collection worth €3 billion and to play a significant role in shaping Berlin’s city skyline and investment industry.