Krakow - leader in quality of life

Interview with Maciej Gołębiewski about tenants' preferences and about the opportunities and threats of the office market in Krakow
Maciej Gołębiewski
Maciej Gołębiewski

Maciej Jakubowiak speaks about the tenants' preferences and about the opportunities and threats of the office market in Krakow with Maciej Gołębiewski, director of leasing for Avestus Real Estate.

Maciej Jakubowiak: Which factors are most important for tenants when choosing office space?
Maciej Gołębiewski: Tenants, with the development of their businesses, analyze new office buildings primarily in terms of the standard, location, communication, and the cost of the lease.Currently, office space standards are going in the direction of improving the efficiency and comfort through more efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning and providing the best possible access of natural light. More important is that the building meets the principles of sustainable development, that is to use the least energy and be more eco-friendly than ever before.
Does the location still plays a major role in the office selection?
Yes, the location, for tenants, is a very important part of the selection an office. They take into consideration the availability of public transport and if it is possible, in several variants: tram, bus and train. At the same time they expect good access for cars and bikes. The location should also be clearly visible, because tenants often expect the ability to identify their company.
So one can say that tenants are becoming more demanding?
Yes, now tenants are familiar with the standards of leasing the office space, leasing costs are therefore examined as a whole, and thus taking into consideration not only the rent and maintenance fees, but also the cost of the arrangement and equipment. An important factor is also the efficiency of the surface, which can significantly affect the reduction of the operating costs.
Do you think that Krakow has the potential to become an attractive alternative to the Warsaw office market?
Warsaw as the capital city and headquarters of many institutions and companies is, of course, the largest office market in Poland. The supply of modern office space there is currently 3, 46 million square meters.Krakow, however, is the largest regional market in Poland after Warsaw. The current supply stands at about 450 thousand. square meters and will probably grow. Krakow attracts a lot of new business from abroad, especially in the BPO sector, SSC, IT and R & D, which does not require location in the capital, but they need appropriately qualified staff and a good quality of life.We can say that on this area Krakow is a leader in Poland, and I think that this position will continue for the next few years.
Which companies are most interested in leasing office space in Krakow?
Krakow is one of the leaders at the European level in the field of BPO and SSC companies. Most companies present here are organized in a rapidly acting Aspire organization, which expects about 50 per cent. growth in the next two years. In addition, there are new multinational corporations, seriously considering Krakow as a city to locate their facility.
What can we do to effectively encourage them to do so? How to increase the attractiveness of the Krakow office space?
In my opinion a city itself should play a big role in this area by creating a reasonable urban policy. The basic tool of this policy is the creation of local plans, in which there should be a description of the scope and manner of use of land in a given location. An example would be the area Zabłocie and Plaszow, recognized by the municipal authorities as a key to the development of the city. City is planning to build there some services, offices and housing. This is a big advantage for companies that do invest in such places as they are guaranteed that no one will build in front of their window, for example, a factory or logistics center that generates large noise and traffic. When such a cluster of offices appears, it attracts new tenants, as seen with the Służewiec which was industrial in past, London's docks and many other business centers created on former industrial areas.
What are the biggest threats to the development of the office market in Krakow?
The biggest threat is limited funding sources. Recent economic crisis has forced banks to reduce lending and the expansion of the conditions necessary to obtain financing for developers. In near future there will probably be less office projects than in 2006-2008, and the developers will seek anchor tenants to be able to start building. On the other hand, the threat may have the advantage that the banks will be willing to finance only those projects that meet the high quality requirements.
Thank you for your time.

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