Part-Argentine, part-French, Francisco Villamayor is 44 years old and married with three children. Until he moved to Barcelona a year and a half ago, he had lived all his life in Buenos Aires. In 2011 he founded Bresson Realty & lifestyle in Buenos Aires, a high-end boutique property agency that today boasts 40 agents and 250 of the most exclusive properties in the city. In 2017, he opened the first real estate Concept Store in Argentina in which his offices share space with an art gallery open to the public, a restaurant, and an events room. He is, currently, in the process of opening the first Concept Store in Barcelona and training the Bresson Realty Barcelona sales teams. He is also an amateur artist and lover of architecture.
Why did you choose Barcelona?
My eldest daughter wanted to study in Europe and my wife, who had grown up in Mallorca, missed the Mediterranean. The company was also ready to go international and I had long dreamed of the challenge. Barcelona was the perfect location for the family’s goals and the perfect place to develop the Bresson brand and style.
What do you see as the city’s strengths?
My company sells high-end properties so it is impressive to see the quantity, diversity and good taste of properties in Barcelona. The city encourages entrepreneurs and the Barcelona lifestyle is ideal for a business. That is all about the synergies between the properties and the lifestyle of the city. I would also point out the Catalan entrepreneurial ecosystem’s commitment to digitalization is a benchmark in this respect. As businesses need ground-breaking technology, there is nothing better than being in a city that is thoroughly up to date and already working on its future.
What needs to be improved? How?
The marvels of the historic center of Barcelona, and other local towns are not equaled by the buildings on the outskirts. There are numerous buildings and villas from the 80s or 90s that were built more out of economic than architectural criteria. And in the months in which I have been looking for a place to build my own house. I have personal experience of existing bureaucratic limitations.
Many of my friends have given up the idea of building, which is sad, as most of them dreamed of creating signature avant-garde buildings. The type of buildings that have made Barcelona the city we love. I would also add that there need to be changes to tax laws to help Barcelona become more competitive and develop its full potential.
What do you think will help the city to overcome the Covid-19 crisis?
The wide range of people living in Barcelona, will come up with a wide range of solutions. The hard-working attitude of the Catalans is bound to give direction and the city’s privileged location will attract new businesses that are likely to head the field in the decade to come.
What challenges does the city face now that the Covid emergency appears to be abating.
The biggest challenges are to motivate ourselves again, change our thinking, plan ahead, reestablish faith in ourselves and undertake new projects. Many people have been badly affected by their personal or financial losses and will need to get back on their feet again in order to face a new, uncertain and different reality. It has been really tough, but the main challenge now is psychological.
What are your expectations of Barcelona in the coming years?
I am what Barcelona Global calls a «Barcelonian by choice». I expect the city and the region to allow me to develop my ideas, dreams and projects because they offer innovation, work and growth. Entrepreneurs offer a win-win situation in places in which we invest our time, ideas and money.
Which town do you think of as your own? What do you miss the most?
I am a «porteño» (the name for a person from Buenos Aires), but if you take the word literally (someone who lives in a port), I could also be from Barcelona, right?
I don’t tend to look back. I share Jorge Luis Borges’ quote that «You don’t need to be with friends all the time.» Besides, new technologies allow me to keep in touch with my loved ones and with my company teams in Argentina. What I miss most is my childhood, but since I can never go back there, I focus on the future. And today, my future is by the Mediterranean Sea, where I now have new friendships that I hope will last forever.
Read the interview in El Periódico.
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