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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » December 30, 2010
The Real Estate Voice
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Glass Sail Rises
December 30, 2010   
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After an almost two-year hiatus, construction work has resumed on Warsaw’s most luxurious building, the Z這ta 44 skyscraper in the city center. The tower, being developed by the Orco Property Group, is expected to open in 2012. The luxurious apartment tower will rise to 192 meters and 54 stories above the ground on Z這ta Street in the very heart of Warsaw. The building was designed by Daniel Libeskind, an internationally acclaimed, Polish-born American architect whose other designs include the famous Jewish Museum in Berlin. Libeskind has also been selected as the master plan architect for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site in New York City.

The Warsaw skyscraper was announced to a lot of media hype not only because of Libeskind’s renown, but also due to the unconventional shape of the building. The tower was nicknamed “Glass Sail” for its light form, bright, almost transparent facade and a characteristic, steep roof. To a large extent, the Z這ta 44 design is allegorical, as Libeskind wanted it to depict Warsaw as city with a rich history and tradition, but also a dynamic and modern one with many aspirations.

The “Glass Sail” will house a total of 251 apartments of various sizes. Located higher than any other apartments in Warsaw, they will be the most luxurious ones in the city, according to the developer. The lower part of the tower will house retail space with general access. The building will offer a swimming pool, a sauna, a spa center, a sun deck, a fitness club with a yoga room and concierge service. It will also have space for celebrations, complete with house catering services.

Work to build the skyscraper began in 2008, but as it reached the 17th floor in mid-March 2009, it was put on hold. The initial reason was financial problems faced by the Orco Property Group. The developer then found a new funding source and wanted to resume construction, but the process got stalled when in July that year, the Province Administrative Court in Warsaw revoked the developer’s building permit. The decision was the result of a protest filed by nearby residents who claimed the tower could not be built on that site because the design provided for too few parking spaces, among other shortcomings.

In October last year, the Mazovia province governor decided that the building permit issued to the Orco Property Group was valid and that the company had met all procedural requirements. That opened the way for the developer to resume construction.

In December, the Orco Property Group selected a new general contractor for Z這ta 44. Through a bidding procedure, the company chose a consortium of two Italian companies, Inso and Consorzio Cooperative Costruzioni. This quick choice means that work will be resumed still in January and the facade of the skyscraper may be completed by the time the Euro 2012 soccer championships begin in Poland, the developer said.

“We all want this deadline to be met,” said Jean Francois Ott, the founder and chairman of the Orco Property Group. “For this reason, the pace of construction work was a major criterion when we chose the general contractor, as we cannot afford any stoppages.”

So far 88 of the tower’s 251 apartments have been sold, which, according to Ott, is a “very good result” given all the commotion around the project.

“I also expect that the price of the apartments in the tower will rise, as this is the only project of its kind in Poland and its location is unique,” Ott said. “Investment in this type of apartments is becoming increasingly popular around the world. My analyses indicate that this is the best bargain for a high-end apartment tower in the world.”

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