EXPERTS DISCUSSED THE URBAN DEVELOPMENT OF WARSAW AND MUCH MORE AT THE “URBANIZATION-INNOVATION” DEBATE
Another club meeting organized by Executive Club took place at the Regent hotel in Warsaw on September 26. This time its title was “Urbanization-Innovation. Challenges for the Real Estate market in Poland”. The speakers talked about the development of the commercial real estate market, sustainable urbanization, and opportunities for dialog between entrepreneurs and public institutions.
The meeting was opened by Michał Olszewski, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw, who talked about the priorities of the town hall in the context of the development of the capital and preparation of a study concerning the conditions and directions for the spatial development of Warsaw in the years 2020-2030. “Warsaw will have to face many challenges. The better we are doing, the more challenges appear” – said the Deputy Mayor. He also pointed to the growing importance of the Polish capital on the continent. “The main advantage of Warsaw is its constantly improving quality of life and developing market, which attracts new investors. We (the Town Hall), together with business and the society, made our city a leader in Eastern Europe, which was not that obvious a decade ago. In comparison to such capitals as Prague or Budapest, we doubled our office space twice during the last 10 years” – stated Michał Olszewski optimistically.
The meeting raised a lot of interest among the participants, especially those who live in the capital, and resulted in a discussion concerning the infrastructural solutions in the business district of Mokotów – which is the official name used by the Town Hall for the popular “Mordor”.
The next item on the agenda was a presentation concerning the Polish real estate market given by Mira Kantor-Pikus – Partner, Head of Equity, Debt & Structured Finance, Capital Markets, Cushman & Wakefield, who talked about, among others, the most important current investment projects, such as the Varso or Warsaw Hub office complexes. “The office space market is growing very dynamically, and Poland is among the leaders of Central and Eastern
Europe. The Polish capital city is attractive for foreign investors, which results in a very significant inflow of capital from the USA, Asia, and Africa. Regional cities, however, don’t want to be left behind and try to keep up with the commercial real estate market of Warsaw” – she said.
The highlight of the event was a discussion panel moderated by Grzegorz A. Buczek – city planner and architect from the Warsaw University of Technology, concerning, among others, smart city solutions, progressive urbanization, and cooperation between private investors and cities.
Piotr Sawicki, Deputy Director of the Architecture and City Planning Department of Warsaw, when talking about the direction of spatial development, mentioned the importance of flexibility at the very basic level of spatial and functional city planning as well as resistance to economic and climatic changes. The priority is to both revitalize and transform the existing structures, especially the industrial areas located in the center. “The city is growing very fast. Trends are changing and certain unexpected things are happening. We are now developing and supplementing the existing housing resources and establishing new housing areas for future development” – he said.
Maciej Markowski, Head of Workplace Strategy, Cushman & Wakefield, referred to smart city solutions, providing the example of the Anglo-Saxon countries, which significantly improved the quality of life in their cities using frequently very simple solutions based on the cooperation of the public sector with business. “Smart Cities often have less to do with technology and more with a smart approach. It is important to analyze the available data, because every area of human life where more and more detailed data and information appear very quickly becomes revolutionized” – he stated.
“We discovered a new area in Warsaw, near the Gdański Railway Station, which, from the perspective of commuters, has one of the best connections in the entire city. As a company we choose those locations which are able to service all customers who come to the capital” – said Stanislav Frnka, President of the Board, HB Reavis.
President of the Board of EmiTel, Przemysław Kurczewski, stated that the quality of life in Warsaw improved greatly in recent years, but in order to maintain this improvement it is necessary to manage the city in small areas where significant problems occur. The previously mentioned Mordor may serve as an example with its disorganized infrastructure and inefficient traffic control. What can be achieved with the use of teleinformatics systems in terms of smart city solutions should be defined by answering the basic questions of how the city and certain crisis situations should be managed.
Bartłomiej Zagrodnik, Partner at Walter Herz, emphasized the importance of good practices
in the context of real estate market activity. A well-designed city and space inside and outside an office building constitutes a certain value which, when combined with professionalism, translates into good practices. This is something that we will encounter more and more often, because the immature Polish real estate market is constantly developing.
“The real estate market is the Eldorado for those innovative investors who are not afraid of change, competition, especially in terms of the quality and complexity, multifunctionality of real estate products, as well as new supralocal, regional, climatic, and demographic challenges, or a dialog with local communities supported by education” – summarized the moderator, Grzegorz Buczek.