Two decades of the warehouse market in Poland

After 20 years of rapid development, Poland is the leader of the warehouse market in the Central and Eastern Europe with 11.2 million square metres of modern warehouse space according to Colliers International. 2016 was a record-breaking year in terms of supply and demand when 1.26 million sqm was delivered to the market, while transaction volume amounted to more than 3.32 million sqm. Colliers International has a significant share in this success, which after 20 years in Polish commercial real estate and effectively responding to market changes, leads the way among consulting firms in the warehouse market.

The development of the warehouse market in Poland began in the mid-1990s with the construction of two Class A warehouses with a total area of ​​25,000 sqm by two US companies TKG International and Menard Doswell. Despite the rate of $10 per sqm of warehouse space and $23 for office space, both facilities were occupied in the blink of an eye.

Tomasz Kasperowicz, Partner at Colliers International and Director of the Industrial and Logistics Department.

“International companies were already operating in Poland. They were accustomed to Western standards and they sought them out in our country. The success of these projects was a signal for other developers that there was a hunger in Poland for modern warehouse space. In the late 1990s, new companies such as AIG Lincoln, Prologis and MLP Group appeared, and they were later joined by others, including Panattoni, SEGRO and Goodman,” said Tomasz Kasperowicz, Partner at Colliers International and Director of the Industrial and Logistics Department.

During the first years, the main region where warehouses were built was Warsaw and its surroundings – by 2004 supply exceeded 770,000 sq. m., while regional markets amounted to only 200,000 sqm. The first warehouses outside the capital appeared in Upper Silesia, Central Poland and Poznań. A warehouse with an area of ​​8,000 sq. m. was built in Kraków (in 2000). However, until 2006, no new facilities were built there.

The breakthrough for the Polish warehouse market was Poland’s entry into the European Union. In the space of four years (up to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in 2008), nearly 4 million square metres of modern warehouse space was delivered to the market, of which nearly half came in the record year 2008. During this time, the first warehouses were built in Wrocław, Tricity, Toruń and Szczecin. New supply was also recorded in Kraków.

After the collapse in 2008, market supply slowed down. Developers reduced speculative investments, opting instead for BTS (build to suit) and pre-let investments (secured by earlier leases). Stable growth appeared again in 2010, and in 2014 we were seeing impressive increases in supply.

The development of the warehouse market in Poland is inextricably linked to the appearance of professional consulting companies, which from the beginning have played a key role. Over 20 years, however, they have changed the way they operate. When the warehouse market in Poland was still in its infancy, agencies were an extension of developers’ sales departments and they sought customers for their warehouses. Today, tenants are assisted by advisors in finding suitable space on the best possible terms. The record transaction concluded with the help of a consulting company, which was Colliers International, was the acquisition of a building with an area of ​​85,000 sqm in Poznań for Intermarche.

According to Colliers International experts, in the coming years Poland will maintain a rapid pace of development, provided the good market situation is maintained. “The Polish warehouse market has huge growth potential due to its attractive location, lower costs of labour and land acquisition and faster administrative procedures related to permits,” emphasises Tomasz Kasperowicz.

Press Release by Colliers International.

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