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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » February 23, 2010
Agricultural Property Agency
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State Land Waiting for New Owners
February 23, 2010   
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Tomasz Nawrocki, Ph.D., president of the Agricultural Property Agency:
If we evaluate companies by how they are coping in the tough economic situation in Poland and the world, I can proudly say that the Agricultural Property Agency (ANR) deserves at least an "A" in this respect. The year 2009, by many called a year of crisis, was very good for us. We sold more than 100,000 hectares of arable land and about 1,000 hectares of investment property worth over zl.160 million. We earned more than zl.1.3 billion, of which zl.721 million will go directly to the state budget and about zl.652 million to the Compensation Fund from which compensation is paid to people who lost their property east of the Bug River after World War II. Furthermore, we helped many local governments by giving them some real estate free of charge. This is an extremely important issue at this time of the country's rapid development and infrastructure development across the country which began with Poland's European Union entry.

Fortunately, this year is looking very optimistic for entrepreneurs interested in Poland. Our country ranked sixth in the Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index league table compiled by AT Kearney. This means huge opportunities for the ANR to show what it is capable of, since we have the most exclusive and diverse portfolio of real estate for development at our disposal. At present, in Poland we have almost 100,000 hectares of land earmarked for industrial, retail and service, residential and sports/recreation projects. Of this, about 66,000 hectares lie within the administrative borders of cities and can be used for new greenfield projects, technology and industry parks as well as logistic, retail and business centers and modern residential estates. These data make us stand out among the competition.

Prospective investors should be encouraged by the extremely attractive locations of our real estate, its regulated legal status and transparent acquisition procedures. We have plots for sale in Warsaw, their value growing year by year. Maybe it is worth following the example of the Lidl supermarket chain, which purchased several hectares from us late last year. We have real estate in leading urban centers in western Poland, in Szczecin in the north and in Wroc³aw in the south. These plots include a lot of land within industry and technology parks as well as recreational plots, many of them very close to the sea. This has encouraged companies such as General Motors, Opel, Sharp, LG, Toyota, Michelin, Electrolux, Isuzu, Viessmann, Lidl and IKEA to invest in our land in the past at tangible business benefit.

Last year we signed an agreement with the Polish Agency for Information and Foreign Investment to set up a National Database of Real Estate Available for Development (KZNI). The KZNI will include large plots (over 50 hectares) from all over Poland that can be used for industrial projects. Real estate found in the KZNI meets the main criterion, namely it has an attractive location close to major transport routes, such as highways, railway junctions, and international airports, and large urban centers. This guarantees access to a qualified work force and research infrastructure. Obviously, this kind of real estate should be free of any claims from former owners or long-term leases.

I am convinced that our proposals will also be of interest to anyone fascinated with historical buildings, manor houses and palaces with beautiful parks. Taking over real estate from former state-run farms, the agency acquired several thousand palace-and-park complexes. Many of them have already been sold or transferred to new owners for free, which has unquestionably increased the prestige of the regions where they are located. Historical buildings are a good investment all over the world. They require a prospective investor to commit funds to redevelop them. The ANR currently offers a 50-percent discount on the auction sale price, which is certainly an added incentive for investors.

With Poland in the EU since 2004, foreigners who are citizens or entrepreneurs of the European Economic Area's member countries can purchase nonagricultural land, including land for industry, construction and also historical buildings, without having to obtain permission from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration.

The main method for selling state-owned real estate is through an open bidding procedure. The agency usually holds oral auctions aimed at securing the highest price. Auction participants may include private individuals and corporate bodies who pay the required deposit and appear at the designated place. Information on the timetable of auctions, the available real estate and announcements as well as canceled auctions is published on the ANR website www.anr.gov.pl

Complete information about the agency, and primarily about the real estate on sale, is also available from the website www.anr.gov.pl. The most attractive pieces of real estate are additionally listed on the site tabelaofert.pl/anr. Information provided there includes the area, price and assigned purpose of the property. Maps are also available as well as any other detailed data a prospective buyer might need to make the right decision.

I am confident that the investment opportunities described in these pages will encourage those interested to check the complete range of real estate offered by the Agricultural Property Agency, through the website www.anr.gov.pl
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