Służewiec in need of fresh ideas

Służewiec - a district in Warsaw and one of the largest and most prominent business districts in Poland, currently offers nearly 1.1 million sq m of modern office space.

According to recent estimates, there is approx. 87,000 office personnel employed in the area. As the needs of staff and residents of the city change, there is a groundswell of opinion suggesting that this part of Warsaw needs a new strategy and a fresh action plan. What activities would contribute to the improved functioning and more favorable perception of this district as well as maintaining its attractiveness as a key business hub?

Nonetheless, the dominance of the office sectors in Służewiec has a number of consequences such as the district’s insufficient integration with the rest of the city as well as the district being fairly quiet after office working hours.
 
“Służewiec is an extremely important area for Warsaw as it plays host to companies that employ thousands of people and generate significant tax revenue for the city's coffers. Therefore, we want to improve its functioning, both through investing in infrastructure and by improving the functionality and aesthetics of the location. The reconstruction of Marynarska Street is coming to an end, and by 2020 one will be able to access Służewiec directly from Ochota thanks to the extension of Woronicza Street. There are also plans for developing a tram route along Aleja Wilanowska Street. We also recognize that a concentration of office buildings in one area can have a detrimental effect. We will strive to ensure that Służewiec becomes a fully multifunctional district, which will be achieved by introducing more residential use accompanied by schools, kindergartens and shops. Thanks to these activities we believe that the perception of this part of Warsaw will improve”, says Michał Olszewski, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw.

Slużewiec in need for a change

According to the “Służewiec 2.0” report by JLL, factors that contribute to the development of such a business hub in Służewiec include the abundance of post-industrial land, an attractive location which lies between the city centre and Warsaw Chopin Airport. It is also in close proximity to popular middle-class neighborhoods such as Mokotów, Ursynów, Wilanów, In addition, Slużewiec boasts rents lower than that of the Central Business District.

“However, the development of office space in this area has for a long time been excluded from the urban planning framework, which has led to a series of negative consequences that the district faces today. These include the area not being well-served by public transport. As a result, the local road system, ill-suited to supporting thousands of cars a day is under enormous strain”, says Jan Jakub Zombirt, Director, Strategic Consulting, JLL.

In recent years, the situation has been further exacerbated due to the prolonged rebuilding of Marynarska Street. As a result, part of a tram line has been out of action for a long time. Fortunately, the renovation is now coming to an end and the situation will also improve thanks to an additional connection between Służewiec and Ochota along the newly extended Woronicza Street, which should be completed by 2020. In the same year, the GDDKiA is planning to commission the S2 Southern Warsaw Bypass between Puławska and Lubelska Streets, which will significantly reduce transit traffic on both Marynarska and Rzymowskiego Streets.

Another factor contributing to the perception of this district is its mono-functionality. The predominance of office use is rather unfavorable with regard to employees and visitors. Therefore, the area has been perceived as a place to which one merely goes to work. Although the northern and southern ends of the district offer residential premises, its central region remains strictly commercial. As a result, a large area of Służewiec lacks permanent residents leading to low civic participation. This means the area comes way down the list of participatory budgeting.

More diverse – more attractive
Experts from JLL point out that the opportunity to increase the prestige of Służewiec will also improve its aesthetics and functionality with the construction of high-quality public spaces connected by footpaths. The challenge, which Business Mokotów has to face, is to provide employees from local businesses with places where they will would like to stay after office hours.

“For more than two years, our association has been seeking ways to create attractive public spaces in Służewiec, which are needed by both staff and residents. For this purpose, we established co-operation with the Board of Greenery, which took over areas along the railway tracks in order to create a park. The project, which was presented by officials, looks very promising. There is a chance that in the summer of 2020, the residents of Służewiec will be able to enjoy attractive green areas. In addition, we are also working with the city and owners of buildings located in the Domaniewska – Suwak – Konstruktorska – Postępu Streets quarter so as to create a green zone for recreation. We are extremely happy that this office district is changing into an area with residential blocks, services, cafes and well-designed public areas”, comments Karina Koziej, Better Służewiec Association.

Although Służewiec needs multi-purpose projects, as results of analyses conducted by JLL indicate, there is less and less undeveloped land, which may mean a change of use of properties already developed in Służewiec.

“Meanwhile, existing local plans exclude the possibility of developing residential areas in many places across Służewiec. The introduction of mixed functions - both commercial and residential - would allow for a partial reversal of the heavy traffic volume to and from the area, reviving the district after working hours, increasing demand across local retail and services premises as well as contributing to an improvement in safety. All these elements would, on the whole, have a positive impact on the perception of Służewiec and improve its reputation. If this is accompanied by specific targeting strategies aimed at solving transport problems, Służewiec will have a good chance of maintaining its position as one of the most attractive business areas in Warsaw”, indicates Jan Jakub Zombirt.

Keywords JLL