It’s become pretty commonplace to say that Warsaw’s office market is in trouble, that the pipeline is just too big and that the country’s economic boom was all just an offshoot of a binge of EU-funded road-building. The truth will turn out to be far more subtle and complex.
As we’ve been told ad naseum, Poland is long in smart, ambitious young people with highly marketable skills in finance, technology and languages, it’s also just plain big. European-big. And this is part of the reason the Warsaw Stock Exchange has quietly become one of the more attractive markets in Europe. Immofinanz didn’t just double-list there for marketing purposes, after all. It wants Polish pension fund money.
Anyway, the next time someone tells you Warsaw’s office market is past its peak, send them to links like this article.
Record stock sales and a growing economy are helping Poland solidify its position as central Europe’s busiest financial center, even as euro-area neighbors struggle to shake the sovereign-debt crisis. UniCredit SpA (UCG), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Societe Generale SA (GLE) are establishing investment-banking hubs in Warsaw, where equity sales of 15 billion zloty ($4.6 billion) this year exceed the $490 million in the rest of central Europe.
Get it? If that doesn’t make the doomsayers think twice, give them the link to this article: SocGen’s Russian Unit Said to Cut Hundreds of Jobs in Moscow.
Following a severe storm and what from pictures looks like at least localized flooding, there’s been a partial roof collapse at Galerie Gniezno. The building’s operator Apsys said that water had collected too quickly to allow drainage, leading to some portion of the roof caving in. The building was evacuated and has been closed to the public, with structural experts now in the process of determining the full extent of the damage. In a statement, Apsys says the building, which was opened in 2005, undergoes technical inspections twice a year, and is managed according to the requirements of Polish law. Something, however, must have gone amiss for such an even to take place, though there’s no way to even begin speculating what that might be without further information. Some initial images available here.
What’s most important, of course, is that at this point no one seems to have been hurt, but once again, a good deal of luck seems to have been involved. It would be naive to keep relying on good fortune, though, as supplies are notoriously limited.
Savills announced it has been selected to manage two Warsaw office buildings, Harmony Office Centre and Tulipan House, by the German fund Commerz Real Investmentgesellschaft. Its team will work with the buildings’ existing occupiers and will assist in finding new tenants for remaining vacant space. Harmony Office center is a 19,267 sqm building almost entirely leased to Millenium Bank, while Tulipan House, an 18,600 sqm office building in Mokotów, currently has 1,302 sqm available for new tenants. For both properties Savills property management team will coordinate technical services, commission work and repairs, manage rent and service charges and monitor insurance issues.
Hines has closed its most recent property investment vehicle focusing on Poland and Russia, a €900m Luxembourg-based fund that’s been collected €390m in capital. The money’s come from a range of financial institutions, sovereign wealth funds, pensions, trust and other investors from around the world. The fund will take advantage of Hines’ local teams. Its Polish office led by Mietek Godzisz, while Lee Timmins leads the Russian operation. Around 20 percent of the acquisitions are planned to be made in Poland, with the rest to take place in Russia. Equity has already been placed in three Russian assets.
In what can only be called an epic fail, the city of Warsaw has fired the architect of the city’s new museum of modern art. Swiss Christian Kerez won the competition way back in 2007, but somehow the project got bogged down in regulations and even plumbing permits.
Kerez blamed the delays on city officials who he said obstructed his work or made impossible demands. He also said it was city authorities’ responsibility to get permission for plumbing, electricity and other installations.
We don’t claim to have the inside scoop (yet) on how this all came about, but it seems a pretty lame way to get fired from a job in one of Europe’s most ambitious, dynamically developing cities. If we remember correctly, the whole sorry affair was a series of contractual spats where Kerez was unhappy with his fee, and to be fair, the city wanted changes made to the original design. Still, it looks like it probably was time for Warsaw to move on. The word you always read by critics of Kerez’s design was the word “supermarket”…as in, they thought it looked like one. Whether fair or now, the city will be holding a new tender, for a new architect and a new design.
In other words, back to the drawing board.
Galeria Neptun, located in Stargard Gdanski, has secured the building permit it needs to move forward, meaning construction should begin in April. Completion of the 25,000 sqm GLA project is expected by spring of 2014. Cushman & Wakefield will be the exclusive leasing agency for the project. It’s also been retained to prepare needed zoning planning changes and the completion of a comprehensive building permit design.
DSV Group extended a crucial lease at Panattoni Park Teresin, news that will be welcomed by the park’s owner Standard Life Investments. After all, the company has no less than 35,600 sqm of space under lease in the scheme, developed by Panattoni Europe, from where it conducts business in logistics and transportation. The lease contract, mediated by Colliers International, has been extended by another 5 years. In all, DSV occupies 55,000 sqm of space at other Panattoni logistics parks in Pruszków, Kraków and Łódź.