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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » August 2, 2010
Warsaw Residential Real Estate Guide
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Atmosphere and Aspiration
August 2, 2010   
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Though it lacks a metro line, Warsaw’s Praga Południe district is becoming increasingly popular: it is teeming with life, has an atmosphere of its own and draws people who have a stake in the country’s future, Jarosław Szanajca, president of Polish residential real estate company Dom Development, tells the Voice’s Magdalena Fabijańczuk.

In the past 12 months Dom Development started building two large residential projects in Warsaw’s Praga Południe district—the Saska and Adria housing estates. What’s the situation like on the right bank of the Vistula river?
Praga Południe is a very attractive district—it is strongly connected with the left bank of the Vistula because it is close to downtown Warsaw and the Mokotów district, with three bridges linking it efficiently with the left bank. Praga Południe is a better location than the neighboring district of Praga Północ to the north, although the latter is also seeing a lot of change. But Praga Południe definitely does not have the bad reputation which still weighs down to some extent on its neighboring district to the north.

Praga Południe is becoming increasingly popular. Its most prestigious part is the Saska Kępa neighborhood. The Gocław residential area of Praga Południe was once a high-rise housing estate. But today, with new residential buildings and increasingly good architecture, it is turning into a nice place, which attracts many new residents. Finally, there is the Gocławek neighborhood, with its low-rise buildings and tall trees, and Grochów, with its originality, unique atmosphere, lots of old pre-war buildings and a city look and feel. These features are becoming increasingly important for people and this is why they want to live here.

Who specifically wants to live in Praga Południe? What buyers do you have for your apartments?
Most of our clients are people who appreciate the excellent location, good access to the center of the city and the atmosphere of the right-bank part of Warsaw. What is important for these people is also the quality of architecture and the public space where they are to live with their families. At the same time, these clients do not want to pay the kind of high prices charged for apartments in the Mokotów district or in downtown Warsaw.

Which age group do these people fall into?
The strong point of these locations, both the Saska estate on Bora Komorowskiego Street and the Adria estate on Jugosłowiańska Street, is that they attract all sorts of people. Among our clients are people of all age groups—from young couples to the elderly.

What is it that draws residents and developers, including your company, to the Praga district?
During the boom years of 2005-2007, the right-bank part of Warsaw was a more difficult place for residential projects because it did not offer high margins for developers. This is the reason why fewer “artificial” housing estates—that is, estates built with nobody in particular in mind, with most apartments being bought speculatively—were constructed in this part of the city. Most of such estates are in the left-bank part of Warsaw.

In the Praga district, people buy apartments for themselves and their families. Praga Południe is now one of the most aspirational districts. It moved ahead of Wola and similar districts a long time ago. It is now Praga Południe’s time. The people who will be the key players in the changes that Poland will continue to undergo over the next two decades live in this district.

You are full of superlatives about Gocław, Grochów and other residential neighborhoods of Praga Południe. What minuses do they have?
The municipal transport is at decent, but the district lacks a metro line and I don’t think it will get one soon. I think that a metro connection could significantly enhance the attractiveness of the district.

What about other amenities needed by residents?
Luckily, the district has always teemed with life so there are schools, kindergartens, health centers and stores here. It is a real city. Praga also has the Skaryszewski Park, which in my view is the most beautiful park in Poland. And a national soccer stadium is under construction in the vicinity.

Do the district’s Saska Kępa, Gocław, Gocławek and Grochów neighborhoods still have space for new residential estates?
They definitely do, though of course not as much as the Białołęka district does. Several vacant sites can still be found here, there are plots for “infill” buildings, and allotment garden areas, which will probably be put to a different use in the future. There will still be a lot of things happening here. Praga Południe is becoming increasingly elegant and prestigious. It will certainly be the first district to catch up with the left-bank part of the city and start competing successfully with Mokotów and the old part of the Ochota district.
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