Flash of in-spire-ation

Under a cannonade of fireworks and in the presence real estate market players and tenants as well as Warsaw city officials, the Warsaw Spire – Ghelamco’s pride and joy – has been officially opened

The invited guests who flocked to plac Europejski that evening had the chance to absorb the relaxing atmosphere of the venue, where the splashing of the colourfully illuminated fountains was gentle music to their ears. Waiters weaved among the groups of conversing people pouring them an endless supply of champagne to quaff, in a place that seems tailor-made for an open-air standing party.

“This has been one of the best decisions of my life,” said Paul Gheysens in his official speech about deciding to start business in Poland. As the owner and CEO of Ghelamco Group, the 62-year-old Belgian has good reasons to be satisfied. The 25th anniversary of Ghelamco’s activities in the country saw the opening of the three-building complex in Warsaw’s Wola district – undoubtedly the most impressive project by the Belgian developer so far. “On the day of its opening, Warsaw Spire is almost 90 pct leased. Considering it is a 115,000 sqm project, it has already been an unbelievable success. This project is like a towering symbol of the economic power of Warsaw,” enthused Jeroen van der Toolen, the managing director of Ghelamco CEE, in his praise for the development. The project, which broke the bank financing record for the Polish real estate market with a loan of PLN 904 mln, is now leased to such tenants as Adecco Poland, Bilfinger HSG Facility Management, BNP Paribas Securities Services, EU agency Frontex, Goldman Sachs, JLL, MasterCard and Samsung. By the end of the year Ghelamco expects the occupancy level to move up further, to 95 pct.

The official section of the opening culminated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony performed by the impressive retinue of officials on hand. These included Warsaw mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, archbishop of Warsaw cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, the Belgian ambassador Colette Taquet, the president of the powerful Employers of Poland organisation Andrzej Malinowski – and not forgetting the owners and managers of Ghelamco Group and the project’s architects and contractors. The three-minute fireworks spectacular that followed the ribbon-cutting also made a deep impression on those present on plac Europejski. Many had to dust the ash off their suits and foreheads once the cannonade above their heads had finally ended. Those who might somehow have still remained unmoved by all of this could then take a stroll along the Art Walk – the exhibition of modern art installations in the square. The developer is hoping for this to become one of the most attractive features of plac Europejski, which has been designed not only for the 8,000 future employees of the complex to enjoy, but also for local residents and the wider population of Warsaw after work-hours. “This place should be alive, with children and families coming here. This is why we have fountains where children can play and a range of attractive restaurants,” explained Jeroen van der Toolen about the developer’s concept.