The city remains high in the international rankings of attractiveness for locating new businesses (it’s globally in ninth place in the Tholons ranking for the best locations for locating BPO/SSC centres, and number one in Europe). How’s the process of development going and what can be done to keep the good score, and attract more investors? This was discussed during the numerous panel discussions that were held during the conference under the direction of the leading partner – Cushman & Wakefield.
The conference was been opened by Urszula Kwaśniewska, the BPCC’s regional director and Leszek Romanowski, business development manager EMEA at Nowy Styl Group. Mr Romanowski, with his long track-record of experience in providing training sessions and moderating conferences, chaired the event. His experience of combining training sessions skills and his extensive market knowledge made him an ideal moderator for the conference.
The first point of the agenda was the presentation of Cushman & Wakefield, Kraków in comparison with other European cities given by Julie Archambault, senior negotiator, and Michał Galimski, associate. Their analysis of the office space market shows that the ratio of the rented office space (with provided office space at about 80,000m2) against the vacancy rate between 2009-2016 has varied and now is about 6%. (See the attached presentation).
The first panel discussion described the current situation of the Kraków metropolis. The investors looking for new locations ensuring the return on investment, usually look for places that are strictly with a city’s business centre. Kraków, however, is a diverse city, on the map of which many ‘business islands’ are being created around the newly built office buildings in different parts of the city. “Kraków has been always opened to foreign investors since mediaeval times,” said Leszek Jasiński, an architect from the city hall’s revitalisation team, “one can look at some quarters of the city of Kraków to find out the traces of foreign capital”. Mr Jasiński also drew attention to the fact that Kraków is a private city. Only 16% of the property belongs to the municipality, which is a challenge for the property management. This panellists from city hall and Cushman & Wakefield were joined by Kamil Krępa, leasing director in TDJ Estate, and Bartosz Budnicki, managing director in Commerson.
Michał Galimski from Cushman & Wakefield, said that only the further professionalisation of services related to leasing of office space and delivering solutions that meet the needs of HR departments will lead to the development of a stable market. “This is a signal to incorporate a HR aspect into discussion and start talking about modern arrangement of the office space that meet the expectation of employers and employees,” he said.
After the coffee break, the next panel discussion was presented. The panellists discussed the HR aspect, employer branding and tools needed to retain the best people by providing them the competitive conditions at work. This panel consisted of Maciej Markowski, partner and head of workspace strategy CEE in Cushman & Wakefield, Tomasz Tylec, senior manager in Reesco and Agata Matuszczak, operations manager in a rapidly growing IT company – Grid Dynamics. All of them emphasised the changing expectations of the employees from their employers, as well as different approach of different generations at work, including the millennials just entering the labour market. Sebastian Osuch from Nowy Styl Group explained on how much the services offered by the firm have been changed over the years, from simply delivering desks and chairs in early years to fulfilling the complex needs of modern tenants and providing them with a comprehensive range of solutions.
The next panel discussion focused on issues related to the finance risk and securing the rights of all parties taking part in the process of lease. The leading panellist of this session was Maciej Gliński, legal advisor from Wardyński i Wspólnicy, who said: "as a legal firm, we notice an increased number of investments in real estate projects, including those financed by investors who are making their first steps on the real estate market. We also notice the growing demands of the tenants for fitting out the offices, ways of financing it, way and terms of finalising them as well as increasingly complicated law regulations and numerous doubts about how to interpret them. The complexity of the projects from the technical and legal point of view creates the need to engage the proper advisors both on the side of investor and its client. Failure to employ specialists with the proper knowledge can result in long and costly negotiations, that in pessimistic scenarios can break down, leaving both parties with their business objectives unmet. Joanna Kędzierska, managing director of Maylane Real Estate Partners, described the types of risks that are being taken into consideration during signing the contracts with investors. She also noted that the mere fact that the professionalisation of real estate services is being discussed makes a strong statement about the professionalisation itself.
After the sessions, a short video film produced by Kraków’s city hall was presented to show the qualities of Kraków. The discussions among the guests and panellists continued during the lunch prepared by Centrum Targowo-Kongresowe EXPO Kraków, the host of the conference.