The Belgian-owned Atenor real estate development company has been operating in Hungary for 13 years and is responsible for such mega-projects as Váci Greens, which was completed this year, and Aréna Business Campus, with the first building finished. The office space completed until now and the developments planned over the next few years will result in nearly 230,000 m2 of certified disability inclusive premises, for which they have partnered up with Access4you.
“There is nothing to consider here, this is something that everyone deserves,” said Zoltán Borbély, Atenor’s Country Director, in relation to accessible buildings at an RICS event held in early 2020, featuring a roundtable discussion on inclusive real estate development. Human-centred design is one of the pillars of Atenor’s vigorous international corporate culture, aiming at the implementation of environmentally-conscious real estate investments that are in harmony with the city and which serve the comfort and well-being of the people using the property. Atenor has a clear approach in this regard – when it comes to people, the company takes everyone into consideration, including people with special needs. People with special needs represent 15% of society: wheelchair users, people with restricted mobility, audio-visual disabilities or cognitive impairment.
Why is it important to establish accessible facilities for people with special needs?
Globally, there are 1.2 billion people with special needs, including 120 million people in Europe and 1.5 million people in Hungary. Their integration is of unquestionable importance from the standpoint of human rights and equal opportunities, yet developing and incentivizing the establishment of a universally inclusive environment also offers economic and business advantages for enterprises. People with special needs have an annual purchasing power of USD 8 billion and an even greater significance on the labour market. The intellectual capital, talent and knowledge that people with special needs possess may serve as one of the pillars of companies’ sustainable development. As a sign of this, the growing international trend of global companies focusing on strengthening their inclusive corporate culture is emerging. The presence of people with special needs in all aspects of life is ensured by inclusive properties.
Authentic accessibility, at the highest level
Atenor aims for the highest level of certified accessibility in all its projects. In the case of the 50,000 m2 Váci Greens E and F Buildings and of the entire 72,000 m2 of Aréna Business Campus project, accessibility has been in focus since the beginning of the design phase. Atenor has involved rehabilitation engineers in the development of the engineering plans and has adopted Access4you’s accessibility criteria for 8 different special needs groups. The requirements examine the usability and accessibility of the built environment, including entrance, orientation and available services. Beyond the basic accessibility features for people with restricted mobility, Atenor aims to fulfil the requirements to all groups concerned. Therefore, after the evaluation of the properties, all completed projects may receive an Access4you Certificate of gold level accessibility.
The method will not change
Despite the fact that many companies are reconsidering their office strategies in the current pandemic period, Zoltán Borbély remains optimistic and, instead of a crisis, he foresees the completion of the developments. The long-term plans include identifying tenants who adopt a responsible, sustainable approach to recovery. The company continues its 15,000 m2 RoseVille project on Bécsi street, as well as the 17,000 m2 BakerStreet project, both of which are designed to comply with Access4you’s highest, gold level accessibility certification.
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