There is demand for modern office space from small and medium-sized enterprises in Warsaw and the needs of those tenants should properly be addressed, says Joanna Schönthaler, the CEO at Park Avenue, the developer of the eponymous office project in the center of the city
You have just finished building the underground levels of your Park Avenue class-A office project in downtown Warsaw. When is the scheme expected to be topped out and when will it be finished?
Joanna Schönthaler: Park Avenue is a new A-class office building on Wspólna street adjacent to Hampton by Hilton, next to the Marriott Hotel. Construction has just started above ground and every seven working days a new level is ready, hence we expect the full height structure to be completed by the end of August. The new landmark on the Warsaw map – our 5-star office building – will be ready for tenants in the second half of 2018.
What is the current leasing level in the project? Can you reveal the names of any tenants yet?
We have been surprised by the response from the market. Our project is dedicated to those for whom an excellent location matters just as much as good architecture. We know that it will become the most desired address in Warsaw, as the Park Avenue project provides a new level of quality with the highest standards and great efficiency. We have already signed the first few contracts with our tenants and we are negotiating several space plan arrangements with other clients. At this stage we will not reveal any names, but the presence of Green Caffè Nero with its excellent service is already confirmed. We are talking to financial institutions, law firms, embassies and many other potential tenants.
The office property market in the center of the city has been defined by intense development activity and rising vacancy rates of late. Are you not afraid of the growing competition there?
We are not afraid of the competition. Intense development means more demanding clients, and we are prepared for that. Office space is a living and working environment that should focus on people. All of us require good access to light, fresh air and a comfortable work station, regardless of industry, age or work specification. In competing with others our ultimate goal is to deliver what our tenants need and stay one step ahead of the competition. Quality in the most prestigious location – this is our attitude to the Park Avenue project. It starts with an excellent downtown location with means of transportation, elegant, timeless architecture and the latest technical solutions and services dedicated to our partners. With all this in mind, we cannot go wrong.
The Park Avenue scheme is targeted at smaller occupiers – those looking to lease from approximately 200 sqm to around 1,400 sqm of space. How much demand is there in this segment of the market?
We are very well aware of demand on the market; hence our offer is tailored accordingly. Warsaw is and will continue to be the place for SMEs establishing their base for operations in Central Europe. We believe in this sector – it is our niche and we offer offices of 200 sqm and above for medium-sized companies. Large companies have a variety of office buildings to choose from in the CBD, but for SMEs the selection is limited. They are presented with the so-called “leftovers” in office schemes. In Park Avenue, with a total offering of 14,000 sqm of office space, there will be a number of important medium-sized companies – our responsibility is to satisfy all of their needs. We will not let them feel lost among the big clients on the market. There are a lot of companies willing to be seated in prestigious buildings in great locations such as law firms, start-ups, financial institutions and embassies. We also attract them with short leases – three years instead of the five that is the market standard.