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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » February 25, 2011
The Real Estate Voice
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Garden City in Northern Warsaw
February 25, 2011   
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A unique new housing estate called Rezydencje Le郾e (Forest Residences) is under development in the M這ciny neighborhood of northern Warsaw. The project is inspired by the “garden city” concept developed in the 19th century by Ebenezer Howard, a British visionary and urban planner.

Plans to build a residential quarter in M這ciny reflecting the Howard philosophy date back almost a century to 1914, when the first attempts were made. The motto of the project was to “live in the country, work in the city.” Howard believed that people should live in places that combine the advantages of city life—high salaries, many career opportunities and a wide choice of entertainment—with the benefits of living in the countryside—natural surroundings, picturesque landscapes, fresh air and low costs of living.

“The Kingdom of Poland has not so far possessed a genuine garden city,” said a 1914 pamphlet about the unusual project. A special expert group concluded: “In search of the right location for a model settlement like that, the Warsaw Health Society’s delegation for garden cities has found M這ciny to be the most suitable area.”

An innovation unheard of in Warsaw or other Polish cities, the M這ciny project was close to becoming reality when history intervened with World War I. The idea has been now revisited by the Echo Investment developer, which is working on the Rezydencje Le郾e housing estate. An exclusive estate of single-family homes is being prepared at the junction of W雡cickiego and Dankowicka streets in northern Warsaw, amidst the forests of the Bielany district.

The Rezydencje Le郾e project is designed for those who appreciate daily interaction with nature and the comfort and peace of natural surroundings, but do not wish to give up the opportunities and amenities that a big city can provide.

Echo Investment’s project delivers a complete architectural concept based on offering full technical infrastructure. When a client buys a plot of land in Rezydencje Le郾e, they are also provided with a comprehensive developer product with which the dream of having a home of one’s own is quickly realized. The package includes the complete design as agreed with the buyer, including a plot with full infrastructure—driveways, sidewalks, lighting, utilities—and, naturally, all building permits. Once a plot has been purchased, the buyer only needs to decide when to begin construction. The task can be carried out by the buyer alone or assigned to a contractor of the buyer’s choice. It is all up to the purchaser, depending on plans and financial resources.

At 1,500 to 2,200 square meters in size, plots sold by Echo Investment are large enough to build residences housing from 300 to 700 sq m space. This is the type of houses the developer proposes as part of the project.

Following the guidelines drawn up by Howard, the priority for the architects is to underscore the natural beauty of the surrounding forest. The slender residences, with slanted roofs and irregular window arrangements, echo the best architectural tradition of the M這ciny neighborhood from before World War II. Such architecture makes the most of the wooded parts of the plots. The residents gain peace and a sense of comfortable seclusion, but at the same, the project is arranged so they can easily stay in touch with their neighbors.

On the ground floors, the houses will have a living room, a kitchen, a pantry, a dining room, an office and a walk-in closet. The first floor will feature three bedrooms with bathrooms and walk-in closets, a laundry room and in some of the residences, a room over the garage to be used by guests or a housekeeper.

The Rezydencje Le郾e estate was designed by the Stomm architectural studio of Maciej Stoczkiewicz. Construction is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of this year.

Commentary: Tough Selection
Pawe Grz帳ka, CEO of CEE Property Group:
The year 2011 will be a year of tough selection that will show which developers have found a way to survive and expand in a situation when they are having difficulty financing their projects. Some companies, which have gotten accustomed to easy and cheap investment loans, are waiting for an improvement in the business environment and in access to credit for the construction of apartments. However, these changes are slow in coming, as a result of which the ability of developers to carry out new projects may be limited. Developers taking an active approach to funding new projects and treat it as a challenge rather than a problem will win. Proposing business partners or future home buyers various forms of joint project financing will make it possible to start new projects, with a smaller supply of housing from companies struggling with liquidity problems.

Developers are returning to some of the projects that they put on hold at the time of crisis, but the new projects differ significantly from what was originally planned. Developers are paying far more attention to making their apartments and projects more attractive than what the competition offers on the local market. This creates an opportunity that the new apartments will better meet the current requirements of buyers.
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