PAULO MARTINS: CONTINUES TO BELIEVE IN THE CITY OF AVEIRO
It is only three years old but its youth has not stopped it from helping to change the face of the city of Aveiro (and now also of Ílhavo). Ponto Urbano’s work is becoming increasingly visible: old buildings have been renovated and new constructions are dotting the centre. At the head of this company is 46-year-old Paulo Martins, a businessman who prefers to name an entire team when asked about the secret of success. Born in Mêda, Guarda, but living in Aveiro for more than 20 years, he confesses that he feels like a true “aveirense”, despite his mountain origins.
Told in the first person, the story that led to the affirmation and growth of Ponto Urbano seems simple. With “more than 20 years” experience working in the area, Paulo Martins then added a team of “experienced, dedicated and energetic collaborators”. “A young team, but with the will to work and learn”, specifies the businessman, who makes a point of naming them one by one. Starting with the young architect Mário Alves, Pedro Oliveira, Sofia Costa, Pedro Fernandes and Bruno Paiva – who had already worked with him in previous professional projects -, and ending with João Queirós, the most recent addition.
To maintain team spirit, Paulo Martins makes a point of having lunch every Friday with his collaborators. “I like them to discuss the work, visit each one’s work and inspect each other’s work,” reveals the businessman.
More than 30 million investment
At this moment the company has eight projects in hand (Puro Homes, Puro Tower, Cinco Avenida, Lux, Porta 10, Spot Building, Garden and Point – the latter, in Oporto). All told, there are 32 million euros of investment underway, with one thing common to practically all the developments: a large part of the apartments are sold well before the work is finished. The reason? “Location is the most important factor in real estate”, he reveals, adding the importance of the “quality of the project” and “the quality of the work”.
Confident that “there is still room to grow”, Paulo Martins reveals that Ponto Urbano has three more projects in the pipeline, to be launched in the city of Aveiro. Even so, he guarantees, the growth will have to be sustained, allowing the company to “adapt” if the “real estate market starts to cool down”. “We don’t only do real estate promotion; we also do works for third parties, as is the example of the requalification of Bairro de Santiago, for the Aveiro City Hall”, he exemplified.
Changing the office for the works
Paulo Martins is not given to spending much time in the office. He does not like to be closed in and behind a desk – which means that this photo does not correspond to his day-to-day life. “I feel good on the building sites, next to them, seeing how they grow, correcting, drawing attention to them”, he testifies. “Even for the cleanliness of the work because nobody can do good finishes with dirty work sites”, he exemplifies, confessing that he is also especially demanding with safety issues at work.
He chose Aveiro as his “city”, but continues to maintain his connection to his homeland, where he keeps “vineyards, olive groves and a small winery”. “I worked in Coimbra and Viseu before coming to Aveiro, I have done work all over the country, but Aveiro is an exceptional city”, he says. He still believes in it and its development and is determined to assume his share of responsibility for this growth as an entrepreneur.
New construction projects have been interspersed with urban regeneration operations – the renovation of the Tear building on Avenida Lourenço Peixinho is one example – an area to which the company wants to continue paying special attention. With this caveat: “rehabilitating is not just cleaning what is there and leaving it. You have to rehabilitate well”. “Often, the foundations are materials that are very difficult to sustain, they are already very degraded. And there is always a resistance in replacing a façade for a new one, exactly the same, with the same features, but with materials that may last longer”, he argues.
Paulo Martins gives the example of the case of the tile panels that “don’t have the capacity to be renovated”. “It would be much more sustainable – if entities would allow it – to collect these tiles, recuperate them and place them in spaces where they could be conserved. And, at the same time, make new, aged tiles, the same as the previous ones, and place them on the new façades”, he exemplifies.
He defends the need to increase communication between “entities and real estate promoters”, in order to encourage and speed up rehabilitation projects, giving new life to abandoned buildings in city centres. And speaking of abandoned buildings, Paulo Martins believes that Avenida Dr. Lourenço Peixinho has all the conditions to be reborn and become noble once again. Proof of this is the Cinco Avenida project, already underway, and the prospect of another, to be launched later this year, but which the businessman prefers not to reveal.