Inside Doric – 6 Questions for Christian Heidbrink

Christian Heidbrink has been with the Doric Group since 2013 as Head of Acquisition & Sales Real Estate at Quadoro. He previously managed the Frankfurt branch of KGAL GmbH & Co. KG and was Managing Director of an international property bank, now Aareal Bank. After training as a banker, Christian completed his degree in business administration at the universities of Münster and Passau, specialising in banking, investment & financing and marketing. He started his career in the savings banks and Landesbanken association via various positions at DAL Deutsche Anlagen-Leasing GmbH. Here he worked in the property and financing sectors with a main focus on sales.

1. What do you do in your day-to-day work and what do you like best about it?

Acquisition & Sales serves as the driving force in all relevant real estate markets within our business model. We work with different countries and regions and various asset classes within these regional, national and international markets. Each market presents its own unique challenges. Continuous changes and competition prevail here. But this is what makes it exciting – we cultivate and expand networks, represent the company at both domestic and international events and exhibitions, establish Quadoro's presence in individual markets, pinpoint investment prospects, secure them within the market, and ideally, negotiate their acquisition. In so doing, we lay the foundation for the quality of our real estate portfolio and consequently carry a lot of responsibility towards our investors and our company. In addition, I derive immense satisfaction from guiding, challenging, and nurturing the personal development of each member of our team and observing their subsequent progress within and beyond our organization.


2. What has been your most important project so far and what project are you working on at present?

We have purchased or sold around 50 properties for our open and closed-ended funds. We have also acquired 38 properties for external clients that are not part of our asset management portfolio. There were definitely some highlights here! The reward for all the hard work is usually the notarisation. In Germany – unlike in other countries – the signing is still carried out in person and sometimes still involves negotiations. One particular "negotiation notarisation" has left a lasting impression on me. It was in Berlin at the Gendarmenmarkt with a view of the German and French Cathedrals. We negotiated and finally notarised for over 14 hours and then immersed ourselves in Berlin club life to celebrate. But our successful sales with great results for our investors have also left their positive mark. 

On the market side, we are in the process of closing a QSI [Quadoro Social Infrastructure] acquisition and are in the middle of the due diligence phase for another QSI acquisition, also a social building in Germany with a long-term lease. 

At the moment, we are particularly occupied with the planned structural transformation within the Doric Group.


3. Why did you choose "Market Area/Front Office Real Estate - Finance"? 

Some reasons have already been mentioned above. Success in this field necessitates a wide range of qualifications encompassing both technical expertise and personal skills, starting with good analytical skills based on a broad knowledge of finance and real estate, and extends to the ability to quickly understand and cope with the rapid rate of change in the market. Personal commitment is necessary as you have to be prepared to travel extensively and also the readiness and ability to clinch the deal in the competition for good assets. Negotiation skills and personality play a significant role here. Overall, my job has a wide range of requirements. I found this broad challenge highly appealing and stimulating at the beginning of my career, and it has remained so to this day.


4. What challenges do you face in your daily work? 

I observe and analyse the dynamic market with changes due increasingly to exogenous shocks. This leads to questions such as "What are the consequences for our business?" and "What opportunities arise from this?". Due to our market activities, we have an ongoing and comprehensive overview of existing investment opportunities and potential. It is then a matter of picking out the appropriate opportunities and exploiting them at an early stage. Unfortunately, it is also part of the business to turn down projects and communicate rejections. Overall, we do not proceed with more projects than we can ultimately execute meaning a high tolerance for frustration certainly helps in our daily work.


5. How do you see your future at the Doric Group and for the real estate sector in general? 

The Doric Group operates in the volatile market environment described above, which comes with very high demands. Some things work out, others don't. 

We as a Group must succeed in implementing more things in this difficult market phase, ensure profitability and navigating the next few months successfully. Personally, I envision my future primarily within the Group's real estate division and am prepared to commit the responsibility I currently hold and will hold in the future to the Group's benefit. The real estate sector as a whole, along with the property industry, must swiftly address the challenges posed by ESG, exogenous shocks and shifting investor behavior. Given that the real estate sector's significance is immense – accounting for 10% of all social security-contributing employees, 26% of all companies, and managing assets four times the GDP as of 2022 – it will continue to play an integral role in society.


6. What are you passionate about in your free time?

First let me say that I believe sustained dedication to your job can only work in conjunction with leisure activities that allow you to clear your mind. So in my free time I enjoy outdoor activities such as running and hiking. As a former handball player, I also stay active by continuing to play sports although time constraints currently limit this. In winter, I enjoy skiing and mountain activities, while in summer I prefer being near water. I also enjoy playing musical instruments like the piano and guitar, cooking, and volunteering in our local community.