Intense Year Ahead
January 31, 2013
Interview with Peter Obernhuber, member of the management board at developer UBM Polska.
What kind of projects are you planning to focus on in the near future?
This year promises to be very intense for our company, because we plan to carry out projects in three cities—Warsaw, Cracow and Wrocław.
Let me start with our newest project—Times II. This is an exceptional project. A few months ago we won a contract from City Hall, securing a unique plot in the center of Wrocław, less than 500 meters from the city’s historic Market Square. We plan to construct two office-and-service buildings there with an extended parking function, including public parking spaces. The buildings will be constructed in between the existing architecture. The two buildings will offer a combined 18,000 square meters of modern grade-A office space, and on the ground floors there will be 1,500 square meters of retail space. The total number of parking spaces will come to about 400.
We plan to start construction soon after we receive a building permit, which, according to our plans, should take place at the end of the second quarter or the start of the third quarter this year. This will be a landmark project because the architectural studio APA Hubka, with which we are partnering, has come up with an innovative—and for some even futuristic—design.
This is not UBM’s first project in Wrocław...
Indeed, Wrocław is a very important city in terms of our portfolio, alongside Warsaw and Cracow. In 2002, we constructed the Radisson Blu hotel in the city center; the hotel has more than 160 rooms. Over the past several years, we have also completed the first phase of the Ogrody Bielańskie project—27 apartments in a cozy neighborhood in the Bielany Wrocławskie area. Soon we plan to begin phase two of that estate, which will deliver another 27 apartments.
We also have an office in Wrocław—based in an office building next to the Times II project.
You’ve also mentioned Cracow. What are your company’s plans for this city?
In September last year, we started building a 14-story office building on Pilotów Street in the Prądnik Czerwony district. The building will offer a total of 10,000 sq m of office space, of which 5,000 sq m has already been leased to the Alma Market SA company and its subsidiaries, and hence the word “Alma” in the name of the project. We plan to complete the building in May 2014. It will meet grade-A building standards, plus we are flexible when it comes to the specific technical requirements of individual customers.
What about your projects in Warsaw? What’s the story with Poleczki Business Park?
In June last year, we completed phase two of the Poleczki Business Park project, comprising buildings B1 and C1, which together provide more than 21,000 sq m of office space. We are currently in negotiations with several tenants involving major leases. We are preparing to start work on the third stage of the project; however, when that stage is completed strongly depends on the level of rental. In addition to construction work, we are intensely working to improve the way in which the complex will be connected to the city center and major transit hubs. Beginning mid-December 2012, the first shuttle bus line, which provides free transportation between Poleczki Business Park and the Imielin metro station, was joined by another line that carries our tenants to Okęcie Airport and the SKM (Fast Urban Railway) station there. In April, a bicycle station will also be launched as part of the city’s Veturilo system, thanks to which it will be possible to get to another station on Puławska Street or the Imielin metro station in 20 minutes free of charge.
Do these projects have something in common—some signature features of UBM?
Without a doubt, one such feature is our environmentally-responsible approach to our investment projects. All three facilities I have mentioned are being carried out in accordance with the guidelines and principles of the LEED system for green building certification, which means that we have been using top-quality products, thanks to which the projects will serve their users for many years. All the projects will be carried out together with the PORR company, the general contractor, with which we have worked on many other projects as well, and which gives us the certainty that the work will be carried out with the utmost care.
Are there any other projects that you’re planning to launch in the near future?
If the Alma Tower project is rented out within the established time frame, we do not rule out building Alma Tower 2—another office project in Cracow, on a plot near the Alma Tower building. But we will be able to say more about that project only after we’re almost done on Alma Tower. We are also analyzing the potential of the city of Sosnowiec, where we are planning to build a shopping center.