Afternoon hours in a business district of an average city. Office employees leave their work stations. Part of them pick up children from kindergartens and go shopping. Others meet with long-unseen acquaintances for a coffee, or search for a quiet and solitary place to read a book benefitting from the last rays of the setting sun.
Picking up your child from school, shopping, meeting with your friends or a moment of relaxation in the greenery does not require standing in kilometers long traffics any more since such activities may be performed in the closest neighborhood of your office. It is thanks to the role of office investments in creating public space. It is not only a gleanings of a new approach to design of investments, which places man and his needs in the center, but it is also the effect of a huge number of office complexes which are realized in close proximity to big cities. According to recent estimates, there are nearly 4.75 million sq. m of offices in Warsaw, and more than 50 projects are currently in the realization process – says Stanislav Frnka, Chairman of the Board of HB Reavis Poland. Office complexes perfectly fitted the local landscape and they constitute an inseparable part of public space and every-day life for great majority of inhabitants living in modern metropolises. Thus, we assume that a modern office project cannot be a closed enclave to which only employees have an access. Quite the opposite, it should serve all inhabitants of the city – adds.
Such approach results from the fact that more and more office investments offer friendly public space – with open courtyards and squares around which there is a rich commercial and service base. Office projects realized in such a way „live” and function no matter of working hours or days off, and thus they perform a citygenic function by reviving areas which have not been available for local inhabitants so far – emphasizes Stanislav Frnka.
What is crucial?
While designing friendly public space, which will meet expectations of both employees and local inhabitants, it is important to conduct an analysis of surroundings in respect of availability to different kind of services or recreation places. It is also essential to know the conditionings of a particular neighborhood and plan concrete solutions adjusted to a chosen place. According to Chairman of the Board of HB Reavis Poland, it is difficult to define a concrete recipe for success. What is perfect for one location, may be not successful in case of the other. Sometimes the attractiveness of a certain location is determined by a rich gastronomic offer, wide range of available service points, and frequently – by specially divided zones for various sport activities – comments Stanislav Frnka and adds: In HB Reavis we look at each project from the perspective of future employees and local inhabitants. We want our investments to fit the neighborhood where they arise and contribute to development of both city and district.
During realization of Gdański Business Center in Warsaw, the company followed the approach saying that citygenic areas adjusted to the needs of employees and local inhabitants should be created in close proximity to office investments. For instance, HB Reavis created a public recreation courtyard with greenery and small architecture around four buildings of its investment, whereas the ground floor of the offices was intended for restaurants, cafes and service points, which makes this place pulsating with life even after working hours. Additionally, we built stairs between one of the offices and entrance to Dworzec Gdański station in order to make life of local inhabitants easier by shortening the time of getting to the metro – says Chairman of the Board of HB Reavis Poland. Furthermore, the company opened a square in front of the complex, where the food truck event "Żarcie na Kółkach" is organized.
However, these are not all activities which are to create friendly public space in the neighborhood of Gdański Business Center. We are aware of the fact that creation of friendly public areas is not a one-shot activity but a multilevel process, which should evaluate in accordance with the existing expectations and needs. Thus, we are improving our project all the time. We are planning to open a small recreation area in close proximity to our investment this year – says Stanislav Frnka.
Creation of friendly and available public area in close proximity to office investments is becoming a standard these days. It is a sign of developers’ care about the needs of all users and inhabitants as well as about development of both city and district. It is also the result of requirements imposed by a competitive market. Times when non-standard solutions were the only factor deciding about gaining valuable investors are gone. More and more often the investment success is determined by care about surroundings. From the investors’ point of view, such parameters as price, location and quality of services used to be of great importance. However, the attention is now paid to quality of performance, and especially to appearance of close neighborhood of the investment – whether it pulses with life after working hours. Investors who ignore this trend will be simply behind the competition – sums up Stanislav Frnka.