Warsaw City Hall leases 12,000 sqm in central office building

View of the Palace of Culture & Science from Widok Towers, photo courtesy of S+B Gruppe
View of the Palace of Culture & Science from Widok Towers, photo courtesy of S+B Gruppe
Warsaw City Hall’s 12,000 sqm lease in Widok Towers office building in Central Warsaw comes at a time of the lowest demand for office space in Warsaw for over 10 years due to the effects of COVID-19.

The following news items appeared in PT Weekly, Poland Today’s weekly business newsletter, on Friday 16 July – free to register here

Warsaw City Hall takes space in Widok Towers office scheme

Warsaw City Hall will take approximately 12,000 sqm spread over 10 floors of the 27-storey, 35,000 sqm Widok Towers office project in Warsaw in a 5-year deal. The scheme is owned by German investor Commerz Real and was developed by S+B Gruppe from Austria. The deal comes in the context of COVID-19 and the lowest demand for office space in Poland’s capital on a quarterly basis since 2010, according to international real estate consultancy JLL. In Q1 2021 there were 420,000 sqm of office space under construction in Warsaw, the lowest figure in 11 years. Vacancy in Q1 was at 11.4%, the highest figure since 2017. The limited pipeline, however, should positively offset the vacancy rate in the coming years, said JLL. According to Cushman & Wakefield, total office stock in Warsaw and the 8th largest regional markets in Poland combined totals 11.9 mln sqm, of which almost 6 mln sqm is in Warsaw, population approx. 1.76 mln. By way of comparison here are some other city office figures (approximate) for European & Polish cities:

  • Berlin: office stock 19.4 mln sqm, population 3.65 mln
  • Paris: 18 mln sqm, pop. 2.16 mln
  • Madrid: 15 mln sqm, pop. 3.2 mln
  • Munich: 14 mln sqm, pop. 1.47 mln
  • Hamburg: 14 mln sqm, pop. 1.84 mln
  • Vienna: 6 mln sqm, pop. 1.9 mln
  • Budapest 3.9 mln sqm, pop. 1.75 mln
  • Prague: 3.7 mln sqm, pop 1.3 mln
  • Bucharest: 2.98 mln sqm, pop. 1.8 mln
  • Kraków: 1.55 mln sqm, pop. 770,000
  • Wrocław: 1.24 mln sqm, pop. 640,000
  • Tri-City: 890,000 sqm, pop. 750,000

(sources: Colliers International, Cushman & Wakefield, JLL, Knight Frank, Savills)


Increase of Poles’ household disposable income fourth in OECD global ranking

Poles’ household disposable income increased by 6% in 2020, the fourth highest increase among the 37 most developed economies of the OECD, according to OECD figures. In 1st place was Costa Rica, at 7.5% annual growth, followed by Canada, Estonia and Lithuania. Germany’s figure did not change, while in Italy, disposable income fell by -2.1%. The data includes wages and salaries, minus inflation and taxes.


Warsaw ranks second in country for COVID vaccinations

As of 12 July, Poland’s capital, at 56.8% of the population vaccinated – or 1,019,729 inhabitants – comes just behind the small nearby town of Podkowa Leśna (57.7%), according to Polish press agency PAP. The lowest figure – a town in Małoposka Voivodeship – is at 12.8%. In total across the country, 15,181,701 people have been fully vaccinated out of a population of just over 38 million, meaning they have taken either the one jab of Johnson & Johnson, or the two jabs of the others available. According to data from Our World in Data, as of 16 July, 15.9m Poles are fully vaccinated, which is 41.9% of the population.


Poland’s poor showing in complexity of doing business ranking

Poland is in second place in Europe – after France – and 10th in the world among countries with the most complex business regulations, according to the “Global Business Complexity Index 2021” report published by international administrative services company TMF Group. “This is Poland’s worst result to date in terms of the ease of doing business,” said TMF’s Managing Director in Poland, Joanna Romańczuk, quoted in Business Insider. “This results from frequently changing laws, low transparency as to their application rules and a smaller package of amenities for foreign investors than in other countries. The pandemic did not help either, but all countries were struggling with this difficult situation, and unfortunately we did not fare well against them.” Brazil is the hardest to do business in, according to the report, followed by France, Mexico, Columbia and Turkey. In Europe, it is easiest to run a company in Denmark, Ireland and the Netherlands, and most difficult in France, Poland, Greece, Italy and Belgium. The main challenge for Poland, the report states, is to “simplify the administrative requirements for enterprises and take steps towards full digitization and unification along the lines of the Nordic countries”.

The report analyses the key trends affecting three business areas in 77 jurisdictions around the world: accounting and tax, global entity management and HR & payroll.


Grave implications of Poland’s Supreme Court ruling that EU Court’s measures are against the country’s constitution

Interim measures imposed on the Polish judicial system by the European Court of Justice are against the Polish constitution, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal said on Wednesday – deepening the political conflict between Warsaw and Brussels, reported news channel TVN 24 – which itself has come under renewed attack by the Polish government. Earlier that day, the EU’s Court of Justice told Poland to immediately suspend all activities of the Supreme Court’s disciplinary chamber. The ruling is one of two that will be handed down by the tribunal this week, according to TVN 24, calling into question the legitimacy of EU law in Poland.

“With the best will to interpret the constitution, it is impossible to find in it the powers of the (EU) Court of Justice to suspend Polish laws concerning the system of Polish courts,” said Constitutional Tribunal judge Bartłomiej Sochański. This ruling came as a result of proceedings initiated by Brussels against Poland, as part of which the EU Court of Justice told the Polish government last year to suspend a panel it had created to discipline judges. The panel – the Polish Supreme Court’s disciplinary chamber – asked the tribunal whether such a suspension was constitutional. Shortly before the ruling on Wednesday, the deputy head of the CJEU again told Poland to immediately halt all activities of the chamber – comments echoed by EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders.

Poland’s ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party says the EU is interfering in its right to make its own laws by challenging its judicial reforms, which it says are necessary to make courts function more effectively and remove the remains of communist influence. According to TVN 24, opposition parties and human rights groups say the reforms aim to increase political control over the courts. “We are in the process of a legal Polexit which happens step by step and we will see where it will lead us,” said Human Rights Ombudsman Adam Bodnar, who has just stepped down today (Friday 16 July) having reached the end of his term.

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