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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » February 25, 2011
The Real Estate Voice
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The Gdańsk Dream
February 25, 2011   
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Paweł Adamowicz, mayor of Gdańsk reelected for a fourth term last year, talks to The Real Estate Voice.
What are the priorities of Gdańsk for the next four years when it comes to capital expenditure and major municipal projects?
One of the city’s largest long-term capital expenditure plans to date will be launched this year. EU funds available for municipal projects will present an opportunity to speed up work on infrastructure such as roads and other projects, in addition to spending on culture.

The city will continue work to carry out New Operational Programs. Two of the most important ones aim to improve transportation in the city and stimulate business partnerships. Then there is the Innovative Gdańsk program and a community program that involves projects in healthcare, education, the social sector and efforts aimed at removing social problems and barriers. The program aims to create instruments to foster a civil society.

The city is preparing to be a venue of the Euro 2012 soccer championships. This involves the need to ensure smooth transportation for thousands of soccer fans. It is vital to provide a steady traffic flow in the city and ensure good transportation links with other Euro 2012 venues and the rest of Poland. All projects related to the championships will cost over 1 billion euros, the most expensive one being the new stadium, which will cost an estimated zl.627 million. The stadium will be finished this year, prompting construction of retail and service facilities in the neighborhood. This will further boost the city’s economic development.

Are there any new promotional campaigns for Gdańsk in the pipeline? What is the target audience and what advertising methods will be used?
After last year’s successful image campaign called “Gdańsk. Touch the Freedom,” we will continue promoting Gdańsk as a brand. In the coming years, we want to retain our position as pioneers in innovative city marketing and promotion and build the image of Gdańsk as a city of freedom. The stakes are high, because Gdańsk has a chance to be granted that prestigious title of European Capital of Culture 2016. Besides, the city will be a venue of the European soccer championships. Just now we are launching a two-year image campaign with a budget of around zl.8.5 million. The campaign will involve both traditional media and modern forms of advertising such as a special online campaign at community networking websites, events in the streets, viral videos and other forms of viral marketing. The target of the campaign are young, active, mobile and open-minded people. The campaign will extend to Gdańsk and the greater Gdańsk area as well as the rest of Poland and Europe.

Are EU funds the main source of funding for the projects, or will that be funds from local businesses, foreign partners and city coffers?
We will have all sorts of funding from public funds to money from the central and local governments, including EU funds, to money from sponsors and private investors. The city is aiming for projects carried out as part of public-private partnerships and so private sources will account for a large part of the funding.

As far as real estate in Gdańsk is concerned, what are the most important projects to be carried out in the near future? Do the plans feature new buildings, complexes and other facilities that might become new landmarks of Gdańsk in the future?
The most notable project is the redevelopment of Wyspa Spichrzów (Granary Island) which the city will carry out with an investor as part of a special-purpose company. We are planning an urban complex with service and retail outlets, hotels, apartments, offices and entertainment facilities. The new buildings will include the future home of the Museum of Amber. The project is scheduled for completion at the end of 2013. The investor, which is the Polnord SA company chosen in negotiations, will redevelop a part of Wyspa Spichrzów together with the city. We will sign the partnership agreement in the first quarter of this year and establish a special-purpose company to carry out the project.

In another major project, the Targ Sienny and Targ Rakowy areas will be redeveloped in a similar fashion to Wyspa Spichrzów. An international competition for potential investors in the project was launched in September 2009 and the winner is the Multidevelopment company. The partnership agreement will be signed this quarter and the project will be completed in 2015 or 2016.

Finally, we are planning to expand the city’s Lech Wałęsa Airport to include a second terminal in a project that will increase the airport’s capacity. The airport is carrying out a zl.455 million capital expenditure program for 2009-2015.

What are your dreams and aspirations when you think of Gdańsk four years from now?
Gdańsk in 2015 will be a completely different city—a modern city of new technology. We will solve a number of key problems by then. Traffic in the city will flow smoothly and preschool education will be provided for all little children. I also believe that by then we will be finalizing our preparations to assume the honorable title of European Capital of Culture.

I have a dream for Gdańsk to become a city of social capital where residents trust one another. We are working hard to achieve this goal and the effort has to pay off.
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