Visionary leadership

Piotr Kaszyński, the managing partner of Newmark Polska, tells Eurobuild in an exclusive interview about the general sentiment at the recent MIPIM property fair, analyses the current financial market situation, announces plans to launch a new service line in Poland, and explains his fascination with Elon Musk’s ingenuity

Tomasz Cudowski, ‘Eurobuild CEE’: Well, here we are in early April, so your memories of MIPIM must still be fresh. What impressions did you take away from Cannes?

Piotr Kaszyński, Newmark Polska: From a business point of view, it was a feeling of déjà vu for me – it was my twentieth time at Cannes, counting both MIPIM and MAPIC. Above all, MIPIM is about business networking – and this year it was certainly marked by differences in the assessment of the economic, geopolitical and financial situation. There was certainly discussion among both those who want to sell and those who want to buy, as well as investors looking for opportunities to access affordable financing. Overall, the real estate sector is doing well, but Central and Eastern Europe is close to the front line, which translates into some investment risk. Let’s wait until the end of the year to see how things play out, because everyone is talking about a rebound in commercial property investment in 2025. But no one is sitting idle – everyone is doing their thing and moving forward.

Newmark recently opened a new office in Paris, so the event in France was all the more important for you.

That’s right. I’m pleased to say that Newmark France is already a known entity on the market – and also at MIPIM. The new recruits for the French office are market-leading, high-calibre professionals, which made us a centre of attention. This marks another impressive step in Newmark’s continued European expansion. Last year, Gerald Eve, a leading UK property consultancy firm with almost 100 years of history and over 600 first-class professionals, was acquired by Newmark. It is great to be part of Newmark’s rapid global growth and to support it, especially given our ambitious plans.

And how are things at Newmark Polska?

Well, we too can rightly be proud of our successes: positioning our brand, securing new business, opening our Warsaw branch and three regional offices, and hiring experienced professionals. We have wide-ranging plans for further growth across all the property sectors. And we’re still looking for top-class expert brokers who are ready to be active on the market and who look forward to new opportunities and challenges.

It’s being rumoured that you are also planning to launch a capital markets department. Is this true?

I am pleased to say, yes. Remember that in 2023 the total commercial real estate investment volume in Poland was just above EUR 2.1 bln – the lowest figure since 2010. This is a sector that requires a lot of patience, caution and planning. But we’ve already set a preliminary date – we’d like to launch Newmark Polska Capital Markets next year and are already taking concrete steps towards it.

And what would you say about your last year’s performance across all your core business lines?

We have reasons to be very happy about it – we are a top three firm in terms of industrial and warehouse brokerage services. We’re also growing in the office sector, which has evidently matured and become more competitive and relational. And we’re continuing to strengthen the market position of our property valuation team.

Are there any market property segments that are still unchartered territory? In other words, are there any areas of the market or geographical regions that look promising and are set to experience a boom?

Retail still has great potential. The retail park market remains a growth area and is a long way from saturation point – so there’s still plenty of room for new projects. It’s an interesting market because large corporations are competing on a level playing field with small, local companies that have the advantage of a better understanding of local conditions. The industrial sector is also red hot and will, I think, continue to power ahead over the next decade or so. Its growth is organic – manufacturing, warehousing, logistics and e-commerce are all in expansion mode, with some market players relocating to Europe, a place of simple, business-friendly structures, innovation and enterprise. In Poland, we don’t live off assets that have been performing well for centuries. I think that the residential market also has significant potential – it’s a real promised land.

But which part of it, exactly? Student housing, PRS, the development market?

Both the development market and the private rented sector – due to the acute housing shortage. Newmark in the US is ranked at number two for multifamily capital markets and is a top investment broker in financing large multifamily housing.

You recently told me that you are fascinated by Elon Musk. Do you think such a genius would like to invest in any market in Poland?

We are probably too small a pond for such a big fish. In fact, I recently listened to the audiobook of his biography relating his business story – and this man is a true visionary, but rather complicated. The overall message from his biography is straightforward: in business you either make decisions or there’s no business at all. You need to be bold and take responsibility, especially if your investment were to fail, which is often the case; but if you make no decisions, you simply won’t move forward. All of this is borne out by Elon Musk’s story. But Space X is his most interesting project to date. It’s incredible that he came up with this idea and persuaded the government – which has NASA, Boeing, the Cape Canaveral base as well as all the infrastructure and scientists at its disposal – to outsource the construction of rockets and satellite launches to a private company. I’m sure that Poland has more than one Elon Musk waiting in the wings to solve many more problems – for example, with accessing capital or demonstrating their unique approach to the whole world. But we may need to be patient and wait for that leader to emerge.

A billion in the bag

Piotr Kaszyński, the managing partner of Newmark Polska, has over 25 years of experience of working in the real estate market. Previously, he was the managing partner at Cresa Poland, which he successfully established and led for more than four years. He was also employed for 19 years by Cushman & Wakefield, where he was an equity partner, the head of the retail department and the head of capital markets in Poland. Piotr has led development consultancy and space leasing for over 60 prominent retail properties in Poland as well as investment transactions worth in excess of EUR 1 bln.