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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » September 29, 2014
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Office Space from Echo Investment
September 29, 2014   
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Developer Echo Investment has six projects under way that will provide almost 140,000 square meters of state-of-the-art office space in total in some of Poland’s largest cities, and is planning further projects.

Rafał Mazurczak, the head of Echo Investment’s office and hotel department, says the company has two projects under way in Warsaw and another four in the major regional cities of Cracow, Wrocław, Gdańsk and Katowice. “We are talking large-scale projects with cutting-edge technology and in very good locations,” said Mazurczak. “We started building some of them last year and we are keeping up the pace. We have plans to start new projects in ŁódĽ, Poznań and Wrocław and another one in Warsaw.” Mazurczak adds that his company is focusing on Poland because the office segment here offers huge potential for further development.

Echo Investment’s most spectacular project in Warsaw is the Q22 office tower in the city’s business district at the intersection of Jana Pawła II Avenue and Grzybowska Street. Construction of the 155-meter skyscraper, the company’s largest and tallest project to date, began last year and is going according to plan, with work on the underground section scheduled for completion in early October. The design is the joint work of renowned architecture studio Kuryłowicz & Associates and Buro Happold Polska, while the contractor responsible for the shell of the building is the Modzelewski & Rodek company. The Q22 tower is scheduled for completion in 2016. Echo Investment has signed a contract with the ThyssenKrupp corporation, which will fit the Q22 tower with a cutting-edge TWIN elevator system. This will be the first time the system is put into use in this part of Europe. The TWIN system optimizes passenger traffic in buildings by placing two cabins in a shaft, one above the other and capable of moving independently in opposite directions. Supported by a central control system with patented safety features, TWIN elevators significantly shorten waiting and traveling time for passengers.

Another Echo Investment project in Warsaw is phase two of the Park Rozwoju office complex on Konstruktorska Street. Offering state-of-the-art office space, the first building was ready for use at the beginning of this year and its tenants include Schneider Electric. Phase two, scheduled for completion in the first half of next year, will have more than 16,000 sq m of space.

Echo Investment has also been busy in the southern city of Katowice, where work continues on the A4 Business Park on Francuska Street. The company will complete phase two of the project in the final quarter of this year, while the whole of the business park’s first building, 9,000 sq m in size, has been rented to the IBM corporation. When it was still under development last year, the first A4 building received a BREEAM Interim certificate with a Very Good rating, scoring an impressive 64.62 percent.

The A4 Business Park was designed by the DDJM architectural studio from Cracow. The second phase of the project will offer a similar amount of space to the first.
In the western city of Wrocław, Echo Investment is building an A-class office building called West Gate with 16,000 sq m of office space. This project is located near Lotnicza, Na Ostatnim Groszu and Legnicka streets and tenants who have rented space in it so far include Deichmann and Enel-Med. Designed by the Arcad studio in Kielce as an L-shaped structure, West Gate will have six floors with offices and a parking garage on two underground levels. The building is scheduled for completion at the end of this year.

Earlier this year, Echo Investment launched construction of the Opolska Business Park at the intersection of Opolska Street and 29-go Listopada Avenue in Cracow. This office complex will offer a total of 57,000 sq m of office space in three 12-story buildings. It also comprises a street-level parking lot and an underground parking garage. The project has been divided into three phases and the first building with over 18,000 sq m of space will be completed in the final quarter of 2015.

The last of Echo Investment’s current construction projects is located on Jana z Kolna Street in Gdańsk, near the European Solidarity Center. Called the Tryton Business House, this office building will offer over 24,000 sq m of leasable area. The project also includes a public parking lot. In order to conform with BREEAM certification requirements, the building will have an area with roofed stands for 72 bikes complete with showers, locker rooms and clothes drying facilities for employees who cycle to work. Designed by the Arch-Deco studio from Gdynia, the project is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2015.

In the meantime, Echo Investment has announced plans to start construction of several new office projects. They include an office building called Aurus in ŁódĽ, an office complex in Poznań, an office building on Ta¶mowa Street in Warsaw and a project in Wrocław.


Opinion
Magdalena Terech, head of the Leasing Department Office at Capital Park Group:

Poland has for several years been highly regarded as a market by foreign investors. Warsaw is particularly well regarded. The Polish capital is a key market in Central and Eastern Europe, ahead of Prague, Bratislava, Budapest and Bucharest. Poland’s main draws include relatively low rents compared with those in other European countries. Transactions on the market for commercial real estate in the first half of this year were worth over 25 percent more than in the first half of last year, according to the latest figures. The office space market performed best of all. The most recent lease transactions on this market and forecasts of more to follow testify to a revival phase.
The following trends have emerged: foreign capital is increasingly interested in the Polish market, transactions have been growing in number and value and supply has been rising rapidly. This year alone, Warsaw will gain 330,000 square meters of new office space.

Capital Park is concentrating its operations on Warsaw, which is the most rapidly growing market. We have three key office projects under development in Warsaw: the Eurocentrum Office Complex, Royal Wilanów and ArtNorblin. The first of these three stands out with the green technology it employs. Royal Wilanów, meanwhile, is being built in a prestigious location and will offer a public square and retail space. ArtNorblin, in turn, is a renovation project that like no other project in Poland will combine office space with stores, service outlets and an open space for cultural events.

As we seek occupants for our office buildings, we have seen an improving mood among tenants. Apart from leasing space and optimizing its utilization, our tenants are keen to increase the amount of space they are renting. Most tenants in Warsaw come from the IT, financial, pharmaceutical and fast-moving-consumer-goods (FMCG) sectors.
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