Splashing out on Luxury
October 31, 2013
Despite the crisis, the market for premium apartments is doing well in Poland. New projects continue to be undertaken, and there is no lack of affluent customers willing to splash out on luxury.
Luxury apartments are usually found in small buildings that are several stories high, with just a few apartments on each floor. High-rises in city centers are an exception. Such apartments usually feature open-space designs, enabling an easy division into a night area, accessible to residents only, and a day area intended for guests.
Buildings containing luxury apartments usually have a reception desk and lobby for guests and an underground garage for residents. Facades and shared areas are finished with high-standard materials (natural stone, wood, brass). The buildings commonly include facilities such as a spa center, a gym and swimming pool. A concierge arranges for additional services for residents such as shopping and cleaning. Round-the-clock security and a monitoring system are standard. The largest apartments usually have terraces or gardens.
Luxury apartments are often located in a renovated historical tenement building, in a former factory, or in a skyscraper. Construction has begun over the past decade on several unprecedentedly tall buildings around the world. Residential space will constitute a large part of them, with prices as high as the buildings. The trend for residential towers has also reached Poland, with several projects launched.
One of these is the most luxurious building in Warsaw, Złota 44. The skyscraper, developed by Orco Property Group, is located in the heart of Warsaw. It is 192 m tall and has 54 floors. It was designed by a renowned American architect of Polish origin, Daniel Libeskind.
The building, dubbed “the Glass Sail,” is the tallest residential building in the European Union. It houses the most luxurious—and highest—apartments in Warsaw. There are 260 apartments of various sizes in the building: 72 apartments with one bedroom (including two studios), 66 apartments with two bedrooms, 90 apartments with three bedrooms, and 32 apartments with four or more bedrooms. The apartments range from 62 to 454 sq m in size and are on floors nine through 54. The lower floors will hold services accessible to the public. This will be the first top-standard luxury residential building in Warsaw, with a swimming pool, a sauna, a spa center, a sun terrace, a gym with a yoga room, concierge services, and space for holding receptions, with internal catering services. The gross prices of finished apartments range from zl.25,000 to zl.65,000 per sq m.
Several other high-rise buildings with apartments are under construction in Warsaw. Cosmopolitan Twarda 2/4 is a 160-meter, 44-story building (formerly known as Hines Tower) at the intersection of Emilii Plater and Twarda streets. The high-rise was designed in 2006 to complement a string of tall buildings along Emilii Plater Street. Initially, the Shalom Foundation planned to construct the building; it commissioned a design and secured a permit to go ahead with the project. But it turned out that the foundation did not have enough funds to complete this huge project. It sold the lot to the Tacit Development company, which commissioned Hines Polska to handle the project. Currently, the investor is Tacit Development Polska JS sp. z o.o. sp.k.
The Cosmopolitan building has been designed by world-renowned architect Helmut Jahn, who has also designed the European Union headquarters in Brussels and the Sony Center in Berlin. The Cosmopolitan building offers 252 fully furnished apartments ranging from 54 to 198 sq m in size as well as penthouses of up to 480 sq m. The ground floor is designated for retail and service outlets, and floors one through three for office space. The fourth floor is a common recreation area for residents, with a well-equipped gym, a sauna, jacuzzi and massage room, in addition to several meeting rooms, a club room, and a terrace with a green garden commanding a view of Emilii Plater Street and Grzybowski Square.
The apartments are being offered on a turnkey basis, fully finished and provided with all the necessary furnishings except furniture. The non-residential part of the building is designated for offices, a restaurant, cafes, stores and service outlets. There is also be a four-level underground parking garage in the building. The Cosmopolitan is currently being completed. The first residents will move in next May. Prices per square meter for apartments in this building, with full finishing and fixtures, start at zl.22,000 gross.
High-rise buildings represent only a fraction of the luxury housing market in Warsaw. Most often luxury dwellings are offered in smaller buildings. Several dozen such projects have been started in the city over the past few years. The most luxurious projects include the next stage of the Opera complex—next to the historical Saski Garden—being developed by Dom Development. The same company has built an apartment building nearby, Grzybowska 4, that is gradually filling up with residents.
Another luxury housing project is the recently completed three-story Willa Krasicki apartment building on Krasickiego Street in the Mokotów district of Warsaw. It holds seven spacious apartments, ranging from 70 to 300 sq m and costing from zl.17,000 to zl.25,000 per sq m. In addition to a meticulously landscaped garden, the project offers a reception desk, an underground parking garage with 14 parking spaces and storage units for residents. The building features the finest quality materials such as stone, steel, marble and wood.
Meanwhile, the Na Powi¶lu development at the intersection of Kruczkowskiego and Ludna streets is entering its last phase. This is a complex of six-story residential buildings with a total of 139 apartments ranging from 37-sq-m studios to 140-sq-m dwellings with several bedrooms. The design is by architects from the Kuryłowicz & Associates studio and includes references to art déco and another trend known as Warsaw modernism. Adding elegance to the estate are features such as skylight ceilings and granite and veneer in the elevators. The apartments will be three meters tall and feature large wooden windows.
Other luxury apartment projects in Warsaw include Apartamenty Trio developed by Grupa Eco; Restaura Górskiego by Restaura; Nowe Powi¶le by Menolly; Puławska 111 by ECC Real Estate; Belgravia Residence by Belgravia Polska; Rezydencja Foksal by BBI Development; and Klimt House by Echo Investment.