ECO Preferences of office space leaseholders

Picture shows office furnished by JAGA company
Picture shows office furnished by JAGA company
Empty space, employee free of having one assigned space, lower presence of cables, thanks to development of mobile devices, social rooms for personnel and readily available relaxation utilities – that's the vision of future office already appearing in some corners of the world. Not in Poland though

Leaseholder groups

Leaseholders in Poland generally can be separated into two groups: international corporations and big companies or small and local companies. Corporations have very precise needs. They take interest primarily in buildings of A class or higher, located in Centralny Obszar Biznesu ( COB, Central Business Sphere). At that, they expect large modular spaces. The second group prefers B or B+ class offices situated outside COB in Warsaw. In regional cities ( such as Cracow, Wrocław, Poznań, Łódź or Tricity) companies from the second group are – thanks to moderate costs – also being located in the city centers. Corporations generally pick A class office buildings.

Corporation calculates the costs

Because of the associated prestige and brand, corporations prefer Warsaw's COB, in which the rates vary around 25-27 Euro per meter. Buildings in COB offer high work comfort and all amenities, including the standard 30 second maximum waiting time for lift. These leaseholders, however, also ask for amenities from the area of modern technologies, which are only just being introduced in our country. This includes for example a data room system implemented through Share Point, or an accounting-financing system for handling lease of space, which serves not only the owner of a property.

Data room allows to gather and make available in digital form all of the property's technical, legal and financial documentation, which also allows leaseholder to easily access necessary information. Thanks to that he can more efficiently control costs of activity, while the accounting systems enables easy monthly and yearly settlement as well as checking, whether service charge rates are being calculated right.

Several years ago few companies paid attention to exploitation costs and often changed location. Currently, great majority of them carefully examines and evaluates buildings' technical and design solutions, which have an influence on BREEAM and LEED certificates. Thanks to the solutions applied it is possible to cut costs by 5 to 10%. As such, a certificate becomes a building's added value. Additionally, leaseholders currently prefer locations which do not require signing long-term contracts – even though these are the most profitable for property owners ready for financial concessions in return for five- or ten-year deal. Such contracts are being terminated since the beginning of this year though, mainly because of the growing demand, special offers, amenities and participation of the building's owner in costs of the move ( especially in the most attractive locations).

Another solution expected by corporate leaseholders is BMS ( Building Management System). It helps in monitoring all devices in a building and controlling them – from managing electricity, through air supply to monitoring of water meters. BMS helps in limiting utilities expenditure. That's why it's becoming an element expected by leaseholders – especially by those, who hire many employees while leasing significant office spaces. In the case of corporations they usually amount to at least two thousand square meters.

Outside of Warsaw, corporations and large companies usually expect A class area of 1 to 3 thousand sq m ( Wrocław and Cracow), while in Poznań or Katowice – from 700 to 2 000 sq m.

Smaller company also counts

Because of the rapid progress in outsourcing services and explosion of BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) centers or SSC (Shared Services Centers), in regional Polish cities arose a demand for areas of around 500 meters, usually B+ class. The owners reckon with them, as the outsourcing industry in Poland occupies 800 000 sq m of office space in total.. In some cities that's almost a half of modern office space.

For these companies, however, location in city center isn't a necessary (or, in fact, desired) requirement, because of the well known rule, that the farther from the center, the cheaper it gets. Because of the large number of employees, factors such as easy access and sufficient number of parking spaces are becoming more and more important. Pro-ecologically inclined leaseholders also ask for amenities for employees who ride bicycles to work, as well as for a number of parking spaces intended for their vehicles. Offices located outside the city center also meet the lower price criteria thanks to the lack of paid parking zone.

Small does matter

The market currently records sudden demand for small offices with an area of 100 – 200 square meters, situated in city centers and downtowns. This phenomenon can be observed both in Warsaw and in regional cities. In centers, renovated townhouses and historical buildings one can find leaseholders, who aspire to promote their image of stability and professionalism ( e.g. Legal practices, advertising agencies, consulting firms ). This group expects office at minimum B+ class and higher. Offices of this kind are being offered primarily in Warsaw. As such areas are usually in poor supply, their price often reaches 25 Euro per meter.

In regional cities leaseholders often settle for B+ class, but with so-called feel, a place's unique atmosphere, which for example distinguishes Poznań's Bazar.

Local firms and smaller foreign companies accept compact office buildings located outside the center, or even downtown, driven primarily by lower price criterion. They also expect functional, small area solutions, without open space type applications. This group also contains leaseholders, who don't intend to pay more than 11 -12 Euro per meter and expect class no higher than B. These are usually local, several-people firms, forgotten by developers focused on profits coming from A-class offices. Their owners prefer locations outside city centers but within downtown, with no exceptional amenities, with basic - but high quality - IT infrastructure. They usually find opening a window sufficient and have no need for air conditioning.

Ever more expensive future

Although Warsaw alone has 3.68 million sq m of office space, and another 180 000 meters are under construction – these are still insufficient amounts compared to needs. That is why – even though 1 million sq m of area is currently being built in the entire country – analysts estimate that rent costs are going to rise by the end of the year. Another argument speaking in favor of such forecasts is the increase in the value of transactions in year 2012 by one fifth compared to year 2011, which was considered a record one.

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