Plac Unii – not just for Christmas

Small talk
Bogda Korolczuk of Invesco Real Estate on the transformation that awaits the Plac Unii shopping and office complex in Warsaw.

The Plac Unii mixed-use complex in Warsaw is now about to enter a new stage of life. How are you going to surprise us this time?

Bogda Korolczuk, senior asset management associate, Invesco Real Estate: The property management market is averse to stagnation, but there comes a time in the life of every building when it has to be modernised. Plac Unii is a mixed-use development in the full meaning of the term. It has highly developed retail space, which helps it to stand out from other buildings in Warsaw. As a result of the modernisation planned for the end of 2021, the complex will gain an additional 5,000 sqm of environmentally friendly office space. And due to the fact that the retail is to be concentrated on two floors, the shopping experience will be even more pleasurable and convenient, allowing shoppers to save more time.

Does this mean that the entire character of the centre is set to be transformed?

From the moment it opened, Plac Unii has mainly been an office centre – and we want this to continue with the modernisation. Our centre has many features that make it more comfortable for staff on an everyday basis. After work, they have access to a large selection of stores and services, such the fitness club. Plac Unii is notable for its convenient location near the city centre, which means you can get there by car, bus, tram or metro. As part of the planned renovation work, which will include the entire first floor, the centre will gain additional flexible office space – and this, as I mentioned before, comes to more than 5,000 sqm.

There’s a lot of competition in this market. How will the offices in Plac Unii be able to stand out on it?

Certainly, due to their above-standard ceiling height of 4.8m. The average for most other offices is only 2.8m. Another characteristic feature is the large amount of glazing, which gives the offices more daylight than usual. Of course, this space will be completely functional and can thus be divided up. Plac Unii contains offices designed to fulfil the needs of every tenant. Sustainable development is also very important to us, which is why inside the new offices you will be able to find a whole host of environmentally friendly systems – including energy-efficient lighting and ventilation systems designed for having a number of people in one space. The offices will also have a large number of natural plants, including species that filter the air. In addition to this, the high ceilings will allow us to bring actual trees into the common and relaxation areas. We will also be using a number of different recycled elements. For example, the carpets on each floor will be made entirely out of fishing nets that have been recovered from seas and oceans.

But is this the right time to be making such changes?

We drew up the plan to modernise the building in line with our strategy at Invesco Real Estate in 2019, with the launch of the work scheduled for the end of 2020. So everything is going according to plan without any disruption from the pandemic. The changes are just our response to the demand from the market and our tenants. We wanted to give companies a chance to rent more office space, since they have been asking us for some time about whether any vacant space was available. We are especially pleased to see that our tenants have recently been renewing their leases, in particular such cases as Trigon, R.Power and AMC Networks. Added to that, in Plac Unii’s retail section new stores continue to be opened, such as Wraps and specialist food store The House Of Cheese. Soon Miele plans to re-open it store with an innovative new concept named Miele Experience Center; while Smyk, another well-known brand, has renewed its lease for a few more years.

What do you want from Santa this year – for yourself, for those close to you, and for the whole sector? And where will you be doing your Christmas shopping this year?

I’m sure Santa has been getting a lot of requests for entire families and friends to stay healthy as well as for the whole world to come out of this pandemic and deal with its consequences. Above all, this moment has taught us that we have to be thankful for what we have, such as the love from our families and friends, and those other things in life that cannot be bought with money. Obviously, during the run-up to Christmas I’ll be thinking about what presents to buy to thank my loved ones for being there for me throughout the year. I’m definitely the kind of person that prefers to do their shopping offline, because for me the atmosphere that comes with shopping in beautiful stores is something that can’t be replaced. That’s also why every year I do my shopping at Plac Unii – and I even know exactly what’s going to be put under the tree in the centre. But, for obvious reasons, my lips are sealed about what that might be.

Interviewer: Tomasz Cudowski