The office sector is expanding in Katowice, mostly due to the city’s convenient location and numerous professionals in the field who live there. Katowice boasts developed transportation and communications systems, which provide the access to three international airports. Moreover, the city offers modern office space.
Katowice as the major city of the Silesian Metropolis, which has a population of 2 million, is a strong economic and academic centre of Poland. In the past, Katowice was solely associated with heavy industry; today, it is undergoing a complex transformation and becoming an attractive destination for the business services sector. Katowice, with key assets such as its pool of highly- skilled employees, scientific and technical potential, strategic location, well -developed infrastructure, extensive support from city authorities, access to modern office space and high quality of life is now considered an excellent destination for new investment projects. The city was selected by leading global companies, including advanced business services sector representatives Capgemini, Unilever, Ericsson, Oracle and PwC to name but a few – says Patricia Lannoije, Head of Research and Consultancy, Jones Lang LaSalle.
What is vital for the investors is the city’s support. Katowice allocates 30% of the city budget in investments. The choice of location is a highly complex process that depends on a variety of factors. One of the key criteria influencing the decision on location is the availability of public aid and the scope of long term cooperation between the city and the company involved. Katowice offers a comprehensive support system to companies either planning to invest or willing to expand its operations in the city. Investor care in Katowice is provided by the Strategic Investors Assistance Centre specialists. The city also implemented such forms of support as real estate tax exemptions, financial help and employment support from the District Labour Office and Katowice Special Economic Zone operations. It is also worth stressing the university authorities openness to cooperation with investors, as well as other investment incentives including marketing support, providing accommodation for strategic investors’ employees and office facilities for recruitment and training purposes as well as public transport system adjustment in accordance with the investor’s needs. It should be added that besides factors analyzed by investors – human capital, infrastructure, quality of life as well as incentives offered by the city and local universities –a growing importance is ascribed to the supply of green, energy-efficient office space that helps reduce operational costs. – informs Mateusz Skowroński, Mayor’ Plenipotentiary for Strategic Investors, Katowice City Hall.
Agata Piątek Delivery Manager, Hays Poland, comments: International companies from the BPO/SSC sector have acknowledged the large pool of highly skilled specialists with a good command of foreign languages. In 2011, nearly 123,000 students in the Silesia Metropolis were studying at 28 tertiary institutions. In Katowice alone, more than 76,000 people attended 15 universities. One third of students chose courses key from the business services sector companies’ point of view like business and administration, Information Technology, engineering and other engineering-related skills. In the same year, the number of graduates in Katowice was 22,000, with a total of 35,500 for the whole region. As for foreign languages, more than 90% of students in Katowice declared they spoke English. Knowledge of French and Italian are the highest in the country. The large number of SSC/BPO centres clearly shows that Katowice offers not only a large pool of candidates for entry-level positions, but also many experienced professionals capable of managing teams and whole processes.
In 2012, ca. 51.400 sq m of office space was leased, which is 43% more than in the previous year. Most signed leases were new deals, including pre-lets and expansions. Among the largest was Unilevel’s pre-let of 5.400 sq m and Tele-Fonika Kable’s new deal for 3,280 sq m and an expansion for 1,500 sq m.
Total new supply reached 20,650 sq m, more than double copared to the 2011 completions. Currently, around 32,500 sq m of modern office space in Katowice is at the construction stage, of which 77% will be delivered in 2013. Further development plans include Silesia Business Park, A4 Business Park II & III and further stages of GPP Business Park.
The vacancy rate at the end of 2012 stood at approximately 10% (29,000 sq m). Rents have fallen over the last couple of years to €12.00 to €13.50 / sq m / month.
Rafał Oprocha, Head of Office, Kraków and Katowice, Jones Lang LaSalle, comments: “Katowice, with approximately 290,000 sq m of modern office space, is the fourth largest regional office market, outside Warsaw. Until the late 1990s, office supply in Katowice consisted mostly of refurbished tenements, redeveloped low class office blocks and owner-occupied developments. Currently, Katowice is well prepared to meet the needs of new companies starting their operations in the city, and to provide expansion possibilities for enterprises already operating in the city. More projects are appearing on the market in response to the growing activity of international companies who expect high class office buildings”.
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