‘Albanian emigrants want to have a house here’

General Director of Kika Construction

Avenir Kika, General Director of Kika Construction, sheds light on the housing boom, the problems facing the sector and new construction ventures.

What were the drivers for the sudden growth of the construction industry in recent years?

There had been a strong demand for housing together with an increase in land restrictions which led to a boom in the construction of high-rise apartment buildings. Also there has been an upsurge in Albanian emigrants, especially from Greece and Italy, who want to have at least one residence here, and that has been a huge source of funding. Furthermore, people who moved from the north and south into major cities like Tirana and Durres needed housing as well. There has also been a boom in factories producing construction materials, such as concrete, bricks and cement, which has influenced growth in the industry.

What challenges are facing the sector and how are you addressing them?

There have been problems with the land, but new laws are being introduced. For example, we tend to build on the outskirts of Tirana, because there landowners only ask for about 20 percent in exchange for the land, so currently we are building the new urban areas of Tirana, because it is difficult and costly to build in the center. In terms of other infrastructure, roads are in better condition in northern Albania compared to the south. We are currently part of a 50-member consortium getting ready to participate in public tenders for the construction of new roads. Hopefully new projects will take off when there is increased and stronger private-public partnerships.

What other projects are in the pipeline?

We are currently working on building housing complexes with villas just west of Tirana. This is a long-term project that may take seven to eight years during which we will construct 1,500 apartment buildings. It is set to include a movie theater and a covered Olympic-sized swimming pool.