Leading the way in luxury

Image : Photographs by Agnieszka Kara

More than six months after the launch of the No. 44 long-term luxury rental service in Warsaw’s Złota 44 tower, its owner remains highly optimistic about the prospects for this nascent real estate sector in Poland and is planning further investment in the country

By Victor Epstein

A number of developers have announced premium rental apartment projects in Warsaw in recent months, with experts predicting that the emerging institutionalized long-term rental market has a bright future in the city. Until recently this kind of service has been virtually unavailable in the Polish capital, and German investor Catella’s 2017 acquisition of 72 units in the iconic Złota 44 building in the downtown of the city marked the birth of what is a completely new real estate sector in Poland.

The residential skyscraper is home to an array of very high-end living spaces for those looking to live in the most luxurious of apartments in Warsaw. It contains an apartment owned by Polish football star Robert Lewandowski, an example of the prestigious reputation that the building has established. The No. 44-branded long-term luxury rental service that was launched at the property in Q3 2017 now also provides a solution for those who would like to live in one of the Złota 44 units while staying in Warsaw but are not willing to commit to purchasing an apartment. This service is especially appealing to wealthy individuals who normally reside outside of Warsaw, both in other parts of Poland and internationally.

No. 44 is looking to take this market out of the niche category, hoping to become a pioneer in its expansion both within the Polish market and throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The target group is not as narrow as one might think. Probable tenants range from diplomats, expats and international businesspeople to celebrities, politicians and domestic executives. Towards the end of last year, the brand proudly announced the lease of a spacious apartment to well-known Polish American model and actress Joanna Krupa.

With monthly rents starting at some €2,000 and a minimum 12-month lease, No. 44 assures its demanding clients access to consistently high-class services in a respectable environment that meets the standards of other luxury penthouses already established in large cities throughout Europe. The tower’s ideal location in the center of Warsaw gives residents convenient access to restaurants, venues, transportation and public events along with a prime view of the sprawling city landscape just outside their window. The interior of each unit is designed by a respected Swiss design studio and has the unique feature of being somewhat of an art gallery, with modern art pieces adorning the units’ walls. No. 44 also offers such services as access to several high-class business lounges and an entire recreational floor with a 25-meter indoor pool.

WIDER STRATEGY

Several factors went into Catella’s decision to venture into the institutional lease market for penthouses in Poland. The country’s promising market is expected to generate lucrative returns due to No. 44’s offering of a tailor-made service that has been, until now, missing in this part of Europe. Catella intends to stay ahead of the market for a long time, though they are aware that several investors are following the same trend and expect many more to follow suit in the near future.

“We have a clear vision to develop an institutional, long-term letting market similar to the trend that started two decades ago for office and retail space,” said Xavier Jongen, Catella Real Estate. “We started by entering the same kind of prime market, but we intend to follow a much deeper and wider strategy moving forward.”

This strategy for the future goes further than just Złota 44. “We have already purchased two other assets in complementary segments in Warsaw and Kraków. Our base of international clients is very diversified and gradually expanding. Our vision is that of an institutionalized rental product, which is already common and available in Western Europe, but also becoming competitive and in high demand in this part of Europe,” Jongen added. In the next few years, they plan to go even further than the leasing of penthouse apartments, with intentions to erect their own apartment buildings with premium homes for rent in Poland as well as in Central and Eastern Europe in general.

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