Business services companies remain core office tenants in Wrocław, setting new market trends and trying to attract top talent. Michał Grabikowski, Head of the Wrocław Office of real estate advisory firm Cresa Poland, talks about the key strengths of Lower Silesia’s capital city.
What attracts businesses to Wrocław?
Michał Grabikowski, Cresa Poland: Wrocław has a strong educational potential. It is ranked third in Poland, after Warsaw and Cracow, in terms of the number of business-relevant IT, Science and Technology students: more than 30,500, accounting for 23.4 percent of all students in the region. That’s why there are many BPO/SSC companies (HR, IT, accounting and financial services), a growing number of start-ups and small, local businesses opening offices in the city. This has led to a rapid growth of the local office market which has more than doubled in size in the last five years and is expected to gain further momentum going forward.
What is important to potential office tenants intending to expand into Wrocław?
First of all, they try to figure out whether they will be able to hire suitably skilled staff within a required timeframe. Wrocław has been a leading BPO/SSC location in Poland for years, offering top talent, both lower-skilled workers for easier processes and more experienced staff for more complex functions. However, availability of technical university graduates with a strong command of English is a key factor and is one of the city’s competitive advantages. Wrocław has been recognized as a business friendly city coming second in the Top 10 mid-sized European Cities of the Future 2018/19 ranking in the latest report by the fDi Intelligence division of the Financial Times.
Wrocław-based IT businesses are competing increasingly aggressively and successfully for workers with those located in Warsaw, aren’t they?
Yes, that’s becoming more and more common. IT specialists will relocate to Wrocław because they are offered not only better employment conditions, but also broader professional development prospects. According to the latest report “Activity of Professionals and Managers in the Labour Market in Poland,” Wrocław is ranked as the top city for relocation by managers. It is also seen as the best city to live and work in by expats. Businesses are encouraging IT experts to relocate by offering housing lease financial contributions and pre-school care.
What office locations will be targeted by businesses operating in Wrocław or planning to enter this market?
There are two emerging office clusters in Wrocław: the surroundings of the Main Railway Station (Wrocław’s Central Business District) and the neighborhood of Legnicka and Strzegomska streets (Western Business District). The city centre is home to the biggest number of new office buildings including Wroclaw 101, Komandorska 12, Wroclavia, Sagittarius Business House, Retro Office House and City Forum. The developments under construction in the city’s second office destination comprise Business Garden Wrocław, Cu Office, Diamentum Office and Carbon Tower.
Does it mean that older office buildings in secondary locations will see an outflow of tenants? There is already vacant space in older and technologically outdated buildings with poor lighting, inefficient ventilation, run-down lobbies and frequent interior fit-out issues. Therefore, many office buildings will be thoroughly renovated and refurbished to meet the requirements of increasingly demanding tenants.
Several office buildings have been recently knocked down, including Cuprum to make room for the Cuprum Square complex and PZU’s office building to be replaced by a modern scheme soon. In addition, Nowy Targ is being developed at the site where Naviga and Navicentrum once stood to provide 22,000 sqm once fully built-out. We expect that due the paucity of development plots in Wrocław’s prime locations, demolition of older and non-functional buildings will become an increasingly more common option.
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