By Bartosz Michalski, director, Logistics, Poland, SEGRO


The process of digitalisation is accelerating, and the world is opening up to new possibilities related to AI. Rapid technological changes drive a growing demand for commercial properties designated for data storage. So what’s the best way to leverage emerging trends and opportunities in the Polish market?

One of the most rapidly accelerating trends in the global commercial real estate market is the demand for space needed to store and process digital data. We are currently witnessing the dynamic development of the data centre sector. Experts predict that by 2030, the size of this market in Poland could exceed 500 MW.[1] Demand for server rooms is mainly due to progressing digital transformation, rapid development of cloud technologies, and AI, where tools such as ChatGPT, accessible to all internet users, play a significant role. Increased demand is also influenced by the digital economy, the development of streaming platforms, and commonly used mobile applications. It’s not only enterprises and institutions, but also individual users who generate a massive amount of data that must be securely stored. Meanwhile, in Poland, the majority of data processing centres are dispersed, small facilities, typically under 200m2.

The clients of companies offering the rental of large-scale buildings of this type and related services are mainly domestic and foreign companies from the technology and financial sectors. Although some of them have their own servers, not everyone considers this an optimal solution. The constant need for modernisation involves additional costs and requires tackling challenges such as security and data protection. Therefore, in many cases, a better business decision is the long-term rental of servers in data centres. There is the possibility of expanding or adapting existing buildings to meet individual customer needs, but this is a costly and time-consuming process. For this reason, many companies decide to build new facilities that meet the specific requirements of data centre operators. At the same time, they are flexible enough to be easily rearranged and expanded in the future. Some tenants rent server space, while others opt for co-location of their own hardware in rented buildings, where a team of specialists ensures proper maintenance and protection for a fixed fee.

Designing and constructing such facilities differs significantly from designing and building big box warehouses. When it comes to technical requirements, it’s essential to have sufficient electrical power capacity and proximity to fibre-optic networks. When choosing the right location, attention should be paid to a number of other factors related to potential risks, including proximity of fire hazard zones, flood risks, etc. Additionally, a building of this type must have a higher fire resistance. Also at the design stage, it’s necessary to consider the locations of back-up generators, so the essential services a data centre provides can continue in the event of a power outage.

The first step in the project is to create the plan for building the data centre. It is a standard procedure to conduct an audit of the future client’s needs related to the existing and planned IT infrastructure. Besides planning the power allocation, attention should be paid to the optimal design of rooms, installations, and equipment.[2] Data centres are also very demanding economically. An essential aspect of their operation is energy security, guaranteed by emergency power sources.

Increasing standards of corporate social responsibility prompt customers to pay more and more attention to the impact of their activities on the natural environment.[3] In connection with the non-financial reporting obligation introduced by the EU, issues related to sustainable development currently have a significant impact on the decisions they make regarding rental. This aspect of investment is included in our Responsible SEGRO programme, focusing on three long-term priorities: championing low-carbon growth, investing in our local communities and environments, and nurturing talent. As a leading owner and manager of modern warehouse and production space, we have consistently expanded our activities for several years, including growth in the data centre market. SEGRO’s Slough Trading Estate in the United Kingdom is the world’s second-largest cluster of data centres. We already own more than 30 in that location. Being a leading investor such of facilities in Europe, we have the knowledge and experience, which we will use in the future to grow our business in Poland.

Today, there is an increasing demand for data centres on the local market, and inquiries mainly come from foreign investors. This is driven by the gradually decreasing availability of space suitable for their construction in the FLAP-D markets (Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Paris, and Dublin). What is also noteworthy, in comparison, Poland remains competitive price-wise. Most data centres in the country are currently being built in Warsaw (over 60%), as well as in Krakow, Poznan, and Wroclaw.[4]

I am convinced that it is worth monitoring these extremely rapid changes, spending time analysing them, and including them in planning long-term business strategies. Expanding operations and investing in this sector is a very promising endeavor, and Poland continues to offer attractive locations.


1 PMR Industry Report. Data Centre Market in Poland. Market analysis and Development Forecasts for 2024–2029



4 PMR Report “Data Centre Market in Poland 2023. Market Analysis and Development Forecasts for 2023–2028. The Impact of Inflation and the War in Ukraine” 2023