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The Warsaw Voice » Real Estate » September 30, 2011
The Real Estate Voice - Special Edition EXPO REAL 2011
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New Era of Skyscrapers in Warsaw
September 30, 2011   
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Several new skyscrapers will appear in the Warsaw cityscape over the next few years. One of them may become the tallest building in Europe.

A company owned by Jan Kulczyk, one of the richest men in Poland, plans to build a more than 282-meter skyscraper in the center of the city, near Zawiszy Square. Originally, the project was scheduled to get under way in 2009, but air traffic safety restrictions stood in the way. Under the regulations at the time, buildings taller than 130 meters could not be built in this area, which is in part covered by the Okęcie airport protection zone. However, the regulations changed recently, and today there are no formal obstacles to issuing a permit for a skyscraper to be constructed there.

The Kulczyk Tower is expected to be 282.4 meters tall, almost 52 meters taller than Warsaw’s Palace of Culture and Science and nearly 24 meters taller than the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt, Germany, which is currently the tallest high-rise in Europe. The Kulczyk Tower will be almost 81,000 sq m in area and host a service complex, hotel rooms, apartments and garages.

The area where the Kulczyk Tower will be built will become the “Warsaw Manhattan” in the future. Many developers are interested in constructing tall buildings in this area. One ongoing project is the Warsaw Spire skyscraper, which is being built on Towarowa Street. The office complex will comprise three buildings: a 220-meter tower and two side buildings, each with a height of 55 meters. In all, the project will offer about 100,000 sq m of office, service and retail space. The developer is the Ghelamco Poland company, which also plans to construct a tall building on Zawiszy Square, one rising to 130 meters. It unveiled the idea at a real estate fair in Cannes earlier this year.

A few years ago, Spanish developer Torca bought a large plot on Towarowa Street, hoping to build 200-meter skyscrapers. The plot currently hosts the Jupiter shopping center and several other buildings. Local officials recently permitted the development of two towers there, one with a height of 170 meters and the other rising to 130 meters.

The area around the Marriott Hotel and the Warszawa Centralna train station will host another cluster of tall buildings in the future. A 260-meter skyscraper, designed by acclaimed architect Zaha Hadid and called Lilium, is expected to be built there. However, the project, which has already been approved by the Warsaw authorities, has been put on hold due to the crisis. In the immediate vicinity, on Emilii Plater and Nowogrodzka streets, two 218-meter towers will be built in a project that will be in harmony with the skyscraper designed by Hadid.

The Twarda Tower, being developed by the Hines company, will be 160 meters tall. Located in the very heart of Warsaw on Twarda Street, it will hold a hotel on the lower floors and apartments on the upper floors. Nearby, on ONZ traffic circle, a 150-meter Dipservice skyscraper will be constructed. Dipservice is part of the Grupa Polski Holding Nieruchomo¶ci real estate corporation.

At the beginning of the previous decade, developers worldwide started constructing many tall buildings with luxury apartments. The global fashion for residential towers also reached Poland. Several such projects were started and a number of others were on the drawing board. However, many of these projects were later discontinued due to the crisis. Some of them have been completely abandoned, others have stalled and still others have been redesigned to suit new market needs.

After an almost two-year hiatus, construction work has resumed on Warsaw’s most luxurious building, the Złota 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 Złota Street in the very heart of Warsaw. The building was designed by Daniel Libeskind, an internationally acclaimed American architect of Polish extraction.

The tower, nicknamed the “Glass Sail” for its light form, and bright, almost transparent facade, 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 studio and concierge service. It will also have space for celebrations, complete with house catering services.

Warsaw is not the only city in Poland where skyscrapers are being built. Investors in other cities are also aiming high, as exemplified by the Sky Tower under construction in the southwestern city of Wrocław. Initially, it was to have 51 floors and 203 meters, but after the complex was redesigned its height increased to 258 meters including the spire. Construction started in April 2008, but in November the investor, Leszek Czarnecki, one of the wealthiest people in Poland, put the project on hold. Work was resumed in October 2009. The skyscraper will be 212 meters tall, making it the highest residential tower in Poland. But inside, there will be fewer apartments than the initially planned 900 and more office space, in addition to boutiques, delicatessens, a medical center, a sports center, and a spa.
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