WBJ sat down with Artur Tlustochowski, the CEO at developer Terra Casa, to talk about the inspiration for the company’s Art Deco – Wola Apartments project in Warsaw and its further plans in the housing property market
WBJ: You have just completed the Art Deco – Wola Apartments scheme in Warsaw, whose architecture – as the name suggests – was inspired by the architecture of the 1920s and 1930s. Why did you choose to make reference to that particular style?
Artur Tlustochowski: We wanted to reference the historic heritage of the Wola district, especially since the site houses a pre-war building that has now been renovated and is an integral part of our project, and there are other historic properties in the area. There were many examples of Art Deco architecture in Warsaw before WWII, but very few have survived. In addition, I was inspired by the Art Deco-style buildings of Chicago, and I thought we could build something similar here. Interestingly, another developer is now completing an office scheme located on an adjacent plot. It will involve the renovation of modernist buildings, so this part of Wola will soon feature new developments inspired by two architectural styles that were typical for inter-war Warsaw.
Are there any other new Art Deco-inspired residential projects in Poland?
We have visited Gdynia, which has rich Art Deco traditions – after all, the city was built from scratch in the inter-war period – to see a number of interesting schemes. However, in some places the inspiration was actually only reflected in the name of the investment.
Do buyers appreciate such original architectural solutions in new residential projects?
Yes, very much. The commercialization of Art Deco – Wola Apartments has been very successful – more than 90 percent of the 71 apartments available in the scheme have already been sold. We have just put the most attractive units in the development up for sale.
Why did you wait with that until the very end of the construction process?
We used a similar strategy as in Chicago. Clients prefer to see and touch what they are actually buying, and Art Deco – Wola Apartments are now ready. Moreover, the prices of apartments in Wola have been going up and they have also grown significantly in our project.
The residential boom in Wola has largely been driven by the recent emergence of the district as one of the biggest office locations in Warsaw. Do many of the buyers of your apartments indeed work in the new office towers in Wola?
We targeted the project at the managerial staff of the companies leasing space in the office buildings in Wola. We selected Strabag as a general contractor due to their extensive expertise in revitalization as Terra Casa has always been focused on the sustainable development of cities. We knew that the office boom in the district would generate significant demand for housing. However, now that the investment is almost complete, we can see that many of our buyers are actually people who have lived in Wola for many years and wanted to move to an attractive investment. Definitely, the construction of the second subway line has given a boost to the area – the existing Rondo Daszyńskiego stop is located within walking distance of our project and another subway stop – Płocka, set to be completed next year – will be just 200 meters away.
Investors are increasingly interested in Wola apartments, too…
There were many investors interested in buying ten or twenty units in our project for investment purposes, but we did not agree to that as package sales are not in line with our business model.
What are your current plans in the housing sector?
At the moment, we are strongly focused on the completion of our NY Residence Wrocławska 33 project in Kraków, which is scheduled to be delivered in six months and in which more than 70 percent of the apartments have already been sold. As for future schemes, we are now preparing to launch an investment that is located near Al. Niepodległości in the Mokotów district of Warsaw and is similar in size to Art Deco – Wola Apartments. We expect that construction work on the development will be started in early 2019.
Is there any interesting architectural inspiration for the Mokotów investment?
Our new Mokotów investment is specifically inspired by the architecture of California and Los Angeles motifs and lifestyle based on the work of the American architect Richard Meier. We are looking for sunshine there, so the scheme will have huge windows and lots of balconies, terraces, all in white.