The biggest shopping mall in Poland opened its doors on 20th November, 2009 in Kraków, in the presence of the ambassador of Hungary and the voivodship and municipal authorities. With almost 100,000 sqm of commercial space, it is home to 270 businesses, as well as a gigaplex with 20 movie theaters and 30 restaurants in a two-storey food court, which resembles a wooden boat skeleton.

How many such new commercial locations did we see open in Poland in the passing year? How much did their social role change – the role they play in the economic landscape of the city?

The infamous „tin valleys” are a thing of the past now as an epitome of bad taste, makeshift architecture and seemingly never-ending traffic congestion due to their construction being in progress. Regardless of the credit crunch reality, widely discussed at any meeting of developers, contractors and property business people, Poland has recently become a place where the most advanced commercial locations are built, complemented by various accompanying facilities – for sports and recreation, educational and sacral purposes. The London-based TriGragnit partners envy another successful shopping mall investment in Poland. We have skipped a level in quality and advancement due to our market’s high sales dynamics and relative ease of commercialization. Hence, in this case, the credit crunch has proven to have many faces. While it is true that the developers and the related construction sector have experienced some difficulties, the commercial and infrastructure sector still shows signs of relative optimism. Particularly, road investments and general technical infrastructure prove to be a stabilizing factor for the construction and contractor companies. Echoes of Poland being granted Euro 2012 have died down now, but the Euro-related investments have been going on according to expectations.

During the opening ceremony of the Bonarka City Center, the mayor of Kraków, Jacek Majchrowski, said: „The fact that – despite the crisis – the completion of this project was not withheld, testifies to the significance of our city. This location used to be the most contaminated area of Kraków. The extent of land reclamation has been massive, including the modernization of the road traffic system. The total cost of investment amounts to about 300 mln euro.

It is one of the largest ones in this region in the passing year”.

Investments such as the Bonarka, or earlier the Manufacture in Łódź and the Old Brewery in Poznań – completed over several years and commercialized efficiently – created new quality in the public domain and became a source of local economic boom for small – and average-size contractors both during its completion and operation. The property market is an important cogwheel of the economic boom and this is the reason for the changes to this market being monitored so closely by analysts and specialists. The source of the current credit crunch has been linked with the situation in the United States market and as such this is where market recovery symptoms should be coming from. The active support policy of President Obama both towards the financial sector as well as the property market should bring about first signs of a long-term market recovery in the coming year. Experts are looking forward to corrections of market supply for office space both in the United States and in Europe. It seems that Poland might be in a more favorable position as the modern office space is used to a large degree by outsourcing companies which emerged in our country in recent years. Poland’s very moderate economic growth in light of other European Union countries makes it possible for us to look at the commercial property situation with confidence.

Jacek Kolibski
President of the European Property Institute
Source: Property Jornal Polska Giełda Nieruchomości 12-01/10