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The Warsaw Voice » Other » March 28, 2007
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Lure of £ód¼
March 28, 2007   
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W³odzimierz Tomaszewski, deputy mayor of £ód¼, talks to Konrad Bagiński.

More and more investment is flowing into £ód¼, involving big business, significant investors and hundreds of millions of zlotys. What is so special about £ód¼ that makes it attract investment on such a scale?
£ód¼ largely benefits from its location in the center of Poland and Europe. This is a big asset for £ód¼, making the city a hub of major transportation routes, both planned ones and the ones that are already there. The city has qualified staff, prices that investors find enticing, especially the real estate prices, complete with a broad public aid package. Investors make their decisions because they appreciate the professional investor's service provided by individual assistants and they like the city's unique atmosphere and postindustrial architecture that makes people refer to it as "Poland's Manchester," the festivals and its other cultural events. Of course, those who fall in love with £ód¼ become our ambassadors among their business colleagues.

How do you create an investor-friendly atmosphere?
The crucial thing was to make international opinion-shaping circles realize that £ód¼ is a place that is open to the world. These people used to have a bad impression of £ód¼ but now the city's image has changed completely. Today, people talk about £ód¼ with astonishment. The strategy of the city's growth, developed in cooperation with McKinsey & Company, anticipates intensified activity in all sectors connected with investment in our city. The Investor Service Team seeks to provide the best professional and complex investor service (individual proposals for investors, assistance in the preparation of land for investment, assistance in recruitment). Investors in different sectors are offered a broad public aid package in the form of exemptions from real estate tax. We are working to adjust local human resources to what investors need. We collaborate with schools and institutions of higher education to adjust syllabuses to the requirements of the labor market.

Have you managed to significantly reduce unemployment in £ód¼? Not so long ago, the city was top of the unemployment league.
When we started preparing the city's development strategy in 2005, the unemployment rate in £ód¼ was 20 percent. Today, just a year since the strategy was put into action, the rate has fallen to below 14 percent.

Which investments in £ód¼ do you consider the most important and promising?
All investments that create new jobs are important to us, but those that we believe have the best prospects are the ones which build up our priority sectors, that is, BPO and IT, household appliances and logistics. The main companies in this area include Dell, Philips, Accenture, Bosch, Indesit and DHL. Their expansion will bring their subcontractors to our city and create new jobs.

£ód¼ has always been strongly associated with art. Does the city's film school or the alternative theaters influence investors' perception of £ód¼ as a city with good prospects?
Aside from purely economic factors, investors who are looking for a place in which to invest consider other factors that make the location a place in which they want to live and spend their free time.

£ód¼ has 12 movie theaters, 58 galleries, over 200 pubs, discos and clubs, five pool clubs and three bowling alleys, six dance schools, nine horse riding clubs, over 20 fitness clubs, 10 tennis and squash courts, 10 swimming pools, 30 parks, a zoo, botanical gardens and an aviation club, soon to be joined by a modern aquapark and a multifunctional arena.

The city offers a wide selection of cultural events dealing with music, theater and cinema. They include Camerimage, the Festival of Pleasant and Unpleasant Arts, the Festival of the Dialogue of Four Cultures, the £ód¼ Biennial, the £ód¼ Ballet Meetings, the Tansman International Festival and Competition for Musical Personalities and the European Cinema Forum. Many of these are unique events tied with the city's multicultural traditions.

Thanks to the redevelopment of postindustrial areas such as Manufaktura, lofts, EC-1 and the upgrading of Ksiźæy M³yn, £ód¼ residents and visitors to the city can admire rare 19th-century buildings adapted to new functions. £ód¼ fascinates many outstanding creative minds such as David Lynch and Rob Krier, which draws the attention of others to the city.

Are there any structural projects planned or under way in the £ód¼ region to further increase the city's opportunities and boost its development-like freeways or bridges?
The W³adys³aw Reymont Airport is being enlarged and the number of flights it handles continues to increase. The construction of the A2 freeway in the north and plans for the A1 freeway east of the city will be part of the beltway of £ód¼. This will complement the S-8 expressway in the south and the S-14 in the west. The modernization of the Warsaw-£ód¼ railway line has begun and then there is the planned fast train link from Warsaw to Wroc³aw via £ód¼, which has already been assigned EU funds.
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