Its location in the heart of Poland, with easy access to specialists, a wide range of modern office space and affordable living costs all mean that Łódź’s business potential is growing year by year, and the Łódź region is considered one of the fastest growing in the country. In recent years, the city has evolved from a production centre into one of the main outsourcing and logistics hubs in Poland, which attracts not only large tenants and developers, but also investors – according to the latest report ‘The future begins here … Łódź’, prepared by Colliers International and Łódź City Hall.
Łódź shows that systematic and consistent implementation of a strategy brings results. On the one hand, smaller projects are being built, while at the same time key long-term plans for the city are being implemented. The changes are huge, multidimensional and affect every area of life. Economic development, community integration and changes taking place in Łódź clearly affect the quality of life of its inhabitants, as well as the perception of the city by tourists and potential investors.
Over half a million square metres of modern offices in Łódź
“The Łódź office space market has already reached half a million square metres and is still blooming. Due to the ongoing development strategy, the city is attracting the attention of an increasing number of developers as well as tenants from the BPO/SSC sector. It is estimated that 40% of existing office space is less than five years old, and new office investments are changing the appearance of central parts of the city. Modern office projects that take into account the needs of local communities fit into the fabric of the city and have full infrastructure – public transport stops, bicycle rental stations, medical services as well as culture and entertainment options. A unique feature of Łódź’s architecture is the combination of modernity with industrial tradition,” says Marcin Włodarczyk, regional director of Colliers International in Łódź.
The largest urban development project in the history of the city is New Center of Łódź. Forming the main modern office cluster in the city, it covers an extensive post-railway and post-industrial area, which has been undergoing extensive restructuring since 2007. It is now a key space for the contemporary development of the city and its most attractive investment area.
“New Center of Łódź is the largest infrastructure project in Central Europe, combining business, retail, culture and transport. It is located in the very center of the city and covers an area of over 100 hectares. Due to the railway lines being moved underground, a huge area in the city centre has been recovered, which can now be used for new office projects that create attractive jobs. The construction of a new business and residential district, along with the key transport project Łódź Fabryczna station, aims to raise the rank of the city as well as promote and revitalise historical buildings in the area, stimulate the urban economy and create a new place attractive for business, residents and tourists,” says Hanna Zdanowska, Mayor of Łódź.
Potential of the Łódź labour market
The Łódź Metropolitan Area, one of the largest urban agglomerations in Poland, has over 1.1 million inhabitants, creating a huge availability of labour. In Łódź itself, among nearly 700,000 residents over 57 percent are of working age. The unemployment rate at the end of the first half of 2019 was the low level of approx. 5.1 percent. The developed industrial sector employs around 50,000 people. The IT, logistics, R&D and home appliances sectors are also thriving. Noteworthy are the high number of business service (BPO) centers.
Around 72,000 students study at 22 universities in Łódź. Most of them study business and administration as well as engineering and technical faculties. In addition 4,000 study information technology and nearly 3,000 study in language faculties. Universities in Łódź are placing an increasing emphasis on cooperation with business, especially BPO service centers. Business and administration, linguistics, IT, engineering and technical faculties, which are the most popular among students in Łódź, offer excellent prospects to graduates. The demand for specialists in the IT, engineering and technology and BPO/SSC sectors is constantly growing, which is forcing employers to increasingly search for staff among final year undergraduate or graduate students.
“Due to competitive living conditions compared to other large cities in Poland, as well as the large number of students and qualified staff, many companies from other regions of Poland are moving to Łódź. The consequence of this is the migration of employees encouraged by the lower cost of living and increases in salaries,” explains Marcin Włodarczyk.
Łódź as Poland’s logistics hub
The central location of Łódź means it has excellent transport links with the rest of the country. The city is located a short distance from the intersection of the A1 and A2 highways, which cross the country east to west and north to south. The S8 expressway connecting Białystok with Wrocław is also of key importance. Łódź has good railway connections with the largest cities in Poland and the International Reymont Airport operating within the city has regular flights including to the UK, Ireland, Greece and Germany.
Due to its central location, logistics and transport remain the driving force behind the development of the local economy. More warehouses are appearing around the city, and a direct railway connection with China drives is driving the development of e-commerce across the country.
The Central Poland region is one of the three largest warehouse markets in the country, right after Warsaw and just before Upper Silesia.
“The very good location and well developed road infrastructure mainly attract investors with foreign capital. The close proximity of the intersection of pan-European transport corridors is an ideal location for companies in the production and logistics sectors. The direct cargo rail connection between Łódź and China shortens transport to two weeks, which is exactly half the time needed for the delivery of goods by sea,” says Dominika Jędrak, director of the Research and Consultancy Services at Colliers International.
Logistics centers in the Central Poland region are being built by the largest developers in the warehouse sector. Due to the strategic location, both logistics parks and investments in the BTS formula are being carried out here, mainly for tenants from the commercial, logistics, production and e-commerce sectors.
Global challenges and local conditions have a significant impact on EXPO Łódź, which will take place in 2024 from April 27 to September 28. It exhibition will focus on improving the quality of life in cities and their sustainable development through revitalisation, respect and conscious use of the environment, as well as social commitment. These issues are reflected in the main theme of the exhibition: “Nature of the City. The idea of a modern city.” A special topic on which EXPO 2024 will focus is the introduction of green solutions in historic city centres. The exhibition will present the principles of sustainable development, such as ecology and environmental protection, sustainable mobility and cheap and energy-saving housing, as well as Smart City solutions that allow the latest urban infrastructure technologies to be implemented.