PL

Power is in people

Material partner
SKJB Szybkowski Kuźma Jeleń Brzoza-Ostrowska is a Polish boutique legal practice that’s not only celebrating its 5th birthday this year but also its listing on the Legal 500 ranking.

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It advises real estate investors, developers and financing institutions on M&As, development projects, commercialisation and property financing. So, we spoke to its partners, Agnieszka Kuźma, Anna Jeleń, Wojciech Szybkowski and Anna Brzoza-Ostrowska, about how rocky and rewarding the ride has been so far.

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The SKJB law firm is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. The last five have certainly not been easy years for the market, particularly the last two. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face over this period?

This is true. Our law office has been operating now for over five years and we have been very active since the very first day. With the many years of experience we had gained at international law firms, our personal involvement and the relations we had built up with our clients turned out to be long term and resulted in them turning again to us at our company. It turns out that what counts are people and not the brands under which we offer our services. Of course, some clients have been wary about entrusting a new boutique law firm with their cases, but in most cases it was just a question of time for us them to turn to us. The start of the pandemic came after three years of stable legal business activity that we had been building up until that time. In its early stages there were significant concerns in the legal sector, but we soon adapted to the situation. It’s true that the number of transactions fell and the transaction team had more time on its hands, but the need for a different type of consultancy emerged. As a result, the pandemic actually turned out to be a time of growth and rising revenues for the company. This was mainly due to the fact that we serve the real estate sector and during the pandemic the demand for warehouse and logistics space soared, purely due to the boom in e-commerce. In the first year of the pandemic we advised our clients on projects that resulted in the development of around 330,000 sqm of logistics space. This was a particularly intensive period of work, mainly on BTS projects but also on expansion projects for existing facilities. There was no lack of work coming in from investors to advise them on development contracts or for advising developers on acquiring land for warehouses. International funds also number among our clients and, although they invested cautiously over the period, they nonetheless decided to buy quality assets. The governmental measures to soften the economic impact of the pandemic also generated a lot of work. But the portfolio of clients at our law firm, the size of our organisation, and the appropriate care spent on balancing costs against revenues allowed us to get through the pandemic successfully.

You’ve been building up your team of lawyers since your firm was established. What abilities and character traits are particularly valuable to you? And how do you keep your employees happy in such a competitive market?

‘Strength is in people’ is our motto and we are convinced that our team of lawyers has been largely responsible for the success of our law firm. However, it’s worth pointing out that legal assistants as well as administrative and financial staff are just as crucial to the running of a law firm. When it comes to lawyers, obviously it’s their knowledge that is crucial and legal counsel is the basic competence that we require. We particularly value those who show a great deal of enthusiasm in performing their duties. Such people have a passion for their work and identify with our law firm, thus creating a good team spirit. Such an outlook has played a huge role in building up the reputation of our firm. One very important trait is the desire to work with others and the ability to work as part of a team. The market is indeed very competitive and challenging for employers. We offer salaries at market rates, while we also contribute to employees’ private medical care and cover the costs of applying to the bar. We also pay out bonuses every year. Our firm tries to ensure that working hours do not exceed more than 40 per week, because we all need time for our own private affairs. We hold internal courses on legal topics. Once a year we talk to each individual about their work with us. We also give them feedback and set them further goals. Not so long ago we set up and introduced a development and advancement system, because for many people it is very important to have clear rules in this regard.

How have the services of the law firm developed over these last five years? What have been the most important successes of your team?

We come from the real estate sector and that has been and still is the main specialisation of our business. For our clients in this sector we provide comprehensive solutions that go beyond property law. This is why our practice also covers retail law, construction disputes as well as administrative and court administrative proceedings. We have gradually developed our expertise, adding such complementary practices as M&A, labour law and advice for insurers offering title insurance and W&I insurance. Over the last five years of our operations, we have had the opportunity to advise on the development of large greenfield projects, the construction and commercialisation of logistics centres, as well as the sales of retail centres and office buildings. As is the case with all transactional lawyers, what pleases us most are the large volumes of square metres of new useable space handed over by our clients. However, we regard our team’s biggest success to be the solid relations that we have been able to form with our clients. We are proud of every project we have completed, but are even prouder when our clients come back to us and we receive recommendations from people we have had the pleasure to work with. Among the more measurable successes that also make us fill us with pride are our high standings in the Legal 500 and Chambers Europe rankings. Despite the considerably smaller scale of our operations, we have had the possibility due to our specialisation not only to be involved in the same projects as our colleagues from the large branded legal firms, but also to compete with them in the rankings.

How would you assess – with your many years of experience – the state of the legal services market for real estate in Poland? What abilities and services are in particular in demand from the sector?

The legal services market for real estate is extraordinarily dynamic and is growing together with the rest of the sector. In particular, over the last few years we have seen a lot of personnel changes in when it comes to building up a new team or strengthening an existing one to meet the increasing needs from our clients. Our clients are looking for support in their own competitive markets, which also throws up challenges all the time. Now that the pandemic is over, we face new challenges brought on by the tragic events in Ukraine. The abilities that our clients expect go beyond basic knowledge of the law, which is anyway interdisciplinary to an exceptional extent for the real estate sector. These abilities enable us to shape the process in order to predict it and stay one step ahead of the client, while being able to apply market standards so as to avoid reinventing the wheel. We want to help our clients in their businesses. We always look for solutions as well as safe and effective ways of achieving our goals, whether this is for development projects or sales transactions. This is what we try to guarantee at SKJB and we are pleased when our clients notice it and come back to us with more work.

What are your plans over the coming months? Are you going to enter new economic sectors or geographical regions, or maybe you are going to build up your team further?

We’ve already planned out how we want SKJB to develop over a period of many years. We are going to continue with our growth based on our relationships with clients, which are based on trust. Our clients are what is most important to us. What we do, we do for them and together with them. We believe that clients appreciate lawyers who have practical experience, are fully involved, are focused on results and are easily reachable. This is our key to success. We follow the real estate market and the changes that are happening to it. This is what the services we offer are based on. We have been witnessing a huge growth in the importance of the e-commerce sector and logistics. We advise clients in these sectors, including leading investors, developers and tenants. We are going through huge geopolitical changes, which are directly resulting in investors pulling out of markets to the east of our borders or limiting their activities there, as well as disruptions to supply chains. Paradoxically, Poland could benefit from these tectonic changes in international politics and the international economy. We are a member of Nato and the EU. We are a stable European country with good economic growth prospects and vast human capital. Locating industrial plants in Poland could pay off. As a law firm we are uniquely experienced in creating production capacity together with our clients, including each of its most important aspects: structuring and locating an investment, buying the land, the construction project, and applying for permits. We want to support both old and new clients in these fields. The commercial real estate market is also going through a period of radical change. The repositioning of large shopping centres and the development of retail parks and chains has been creating new opportunities for investors, developers and retail chains. We are going to support our clients in the retail sector with their investments and transactions. Another important trend we have been seeing in Poland is the consolidation of the private healthcare and wellness sector. We are now actively taking part in this area with our clients.

Latest news

Warehouse & industrial

Hungary Aerospace company moves to CTPark Budapest Ecser 

schedule 01 March 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

CTP has signed a long-term lease agreement for 5,590 sqm of multifunctional space at the CTPark Budapest Ecser logistics park with Vilnius-based FL Technics, provider of aircraft MRO services. 

Office & mixed-use development

Poland New city within a city

schedule 29 February 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Echo Investment and Archicom will develop a multifunctional project on ul. Wita Stwosza in Kraków. Five four-storey buildings will be constructed on the site of the former supply warehouses of the Kraków Fortress. The project will be built in stages and is expected to be completed in 2026.

ESG

Poland The shelter in Gniezno as good as new

schedule 29 February 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Panattoni and Dekpol Budownictwo have once again jointly carried out a campaign to help homeless animals, this time supporting a shelter in Gniezno. The facility underwent a comprehensive renovation, and the value of the aid was around EUR 50,000.

Office & mixed-use development

Poland Develia changes its office in Wrocław

schedule 29 February 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Develia is moving its office from Arkady Wrocławskie to the City Forum complex on ul. Traugutta. In the City 1 building, the developer has leased around 1,400 sqm.

Investment & finance

Europe Europe must be ready for "twin transitions"

schedule 29 February 2024
Opr./edited by JC

Erste Group Bank recorded an operating result of 5.5 bln euros in 2023, an increase of 38 pct compared to the previous year. The company expects that economies in CEE region return to growth path in 2024.

Office & mixed-use development

Poland Lixa D has new tenant

schedule 29 February 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

A fintech company has leased almost 2,600 sqm of office space in the Lixa D building, which is under construction near Rondo Daszyńskiego in Warsaw. The new tenant will occupy more than 25 pct of the commercial space available in the building.

Investment & finance

Poland Panattoni builds, Millennium finances

schedule 29 February 2024
Opr./edited by JC

Panattoni has received financing for the expansion of Panattoni Park Ruda Śląska II. The loan of EUR 9.4 mln was granted by Millennium Bank.

Office & mixed-use development

Poland Studio B fully leased

schedule 28 February 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Societe Generale Branch in Poland and SG Equipment Leasing Poland, companies belonging to the French financial group Societe Generale, are moving into the Studio complex in Warsaw, which is being developed by Skanska.

Office & mixed-use development

Czech Republic Heimstaden moves to IQ Ostrava

schedule 28 February 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

CTP has signed a lease agreement with Heimstaden, the provider of rental housing in the Czech Republic, for almost 3,500 sqm of office space at IQ Ostrava. IQ Ostrava was the first office building in Ostrava to be BREEAM Excellent certified ten years ago.

Office & mixed-use development

Poland Saski Crescent Half leased

schedule 28 February 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

The IT company will occupy more than 6,000 sqm, comprising three floors, in the Saski Crescent office building located in the centre of Warsaw. The building is nearing the end of a major modernisation process.

Office & mixed-use development

Poland Two new leases signed at Bonarka for Business

schedule 27 February 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Two new contracts for the lease of office space in the Bonarka for Business complex in Kraków have been signed. A total of 825 sqm of space has been leased.

Eurobuild FM

Poland Joanna Mroczek on the second life of properties

schedule 27 February 2024
Magda Rachwald

How to ensure that older properties don’t lose their value, while at the same time fulfilling the needs of tenants and complying with ESG requirements? – these and other questions are answered by Joanna Mroczek, the head of CBRE's strategic consulting department, in the latest episode of Eurobuild FM!

Warehouse & industrial

Poland First tenants in Panattoni Park Lublin IV

schedule 27 February 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Panattoni has handed over Panattoni Park Lublin IV. The project is a two-building complex with a combined area of 52,000 sqm, built within the Świdnik Economic Activity Zone. The first tenants are now starting their operations in the complex.

Hotels

Romania Bucharest hotel market rebounds

schedule 27 February 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

The hotel market in Bucharest has experienced a moderate annual average growth in new offerings, at 0.9 pct between 2019 and 2023. This modest trend was primarily influenced by the cancellation of Urban Zoning Plans. Between 2024 and 2025, an estimated average annual growth rate of 4.1 pct in the number of rooms is expected, according to data from the real estate consulting company Cushman & Wakefield.

Warehouse & industrial

Poland MLP Łódź has a new tenant

schedule 27 February 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Bohnenkamp, a supplier of tyres and wheels for professional use, will join the group of tenants at the MLP Łódź logistics park. The company will occupy more than  6,000 sqm of space.

Investment & finance

Czech Republic Rebalancing of prices is expected

schedule 26 February 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

According to a survey by Colliers presented at a February meeting of Czech and Slovak investors and other financial experts, active in commercial real estate, investment volumes in CEE-6 fell by around 52 pct to EUR 5.1 bln in 2023, reaching a ten-year low. Czech capital, however, retains strongest position in the region.

Warehouse & industrial

Poland Sweet deal for Eurologis

schedule 26 February 2024
Opr./edited by JC

Agart-Pro has extended its lease of nearly 1,800 sqm of warehouse and office space in Eurologis Logistics Centre. The complex is located 16 km from the centre of Wrocław.

Land acquisitions

Croataia Slovaks invest in Croatia

schedule 23 February 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Slovak investment fund Prvý realitný fond, through its company Logis Rugvica, has acquired a plot of land in the area of the village of Sveta Helena near Zagreb. This marks the fund's debut on the Croatian market.

Office & mixed-use development

Poland New tenants on the horizon

schedule 22 February 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Warsaw's Horizon office complex has gained four new tenants. In total, the companies will occupy almost 2,500 sqm of space in the facility.

Residential

Czech Republic New residential project in Prague's Vysočany

schedule 22 February 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Rezidence Klíčov, a current major SHD Real Estate residential project in Prague, is moving into the construction phase. The project located in Vysočany, Prague 9, is expected to be completed next year.

Latest in Material partner

schedule 12 February 2024

Challenges accepted at MIPIM!

The premier real estate fair of the year is now fast approaching! On March 11–15th, at its usual grand venue of the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, MIPIM will welcome delegations from more than 90 countries to take part in an extended four-day programme of speeches, panels, awards and networking

schedule 15 November 2023

In business, we focus on long-term partnerships

Michał Ptaszyński, Country Manager Poland, Logicor, tells us optimistically about the future of the logistics industry in Poland, the company's upcoming investment plans and explain why it is worth cooperating with local communities

schedule 29 September 2023

Łódź invites you to Munich!

We cordially invite all guests of this year's Expo Real to the events organized at the stand of the Łódź City Hall, "Eurobuild" will also be there as a media patron.

schedule 25 September 2023

Grounded in experience

Justyna Cymerman, the head of the urban planning department of land transaction consultancy Greenfields, and Michał Różycki, its director of the land department – living sector, tell us about the company’s greatest achievements, the state of the market, and what needs to happen next to tackle the housing shortage

schedule 06 July 2023

A solid relationship for years

Operational and financial systems supporting property managers are constantly expanding and changing to keep up with changing market needs. Good relationships between providers and users of these systems and a willingness to face challenges together remain invaluable.

schedule 13 April 2023

Land is the key to success but requires skills

Warsaw is one of the most affordable capitals in the European Union to live in. In order to maintain its competitiveness, it is crucial to expand the availability of plots

schedule 22 December 2022

Biuro Na Miarę - more comprehensive, across Poland

The company has been strengthening its position on the commercial real estate market as a specialist consultancy providing comprehensive tenant and landlord services.

schedule 02 August 2022

New ESG Report – Atrium

Atrium European Real Estate has published its 6th ESG report summarising the company's achievements in 2021. The report details the key initiatives involved in the implementation of the its ESG strategy. The company has set new and even more ambitious medium-term targets for 2030, which include a 40 pct reduction in the carbon footprint of its shopping centres by 2030, compared to 2019 levels. By 2050, Atrium wants to have become a carbon-neutral organisation.

schedule 15 June 2022

Power is in people

SKJB Szybkowski Kuźma Jeleń Brzoza-Ostrowska is a Polish boutique legal practice that’s not only celebrating its 5th birthday this year but also its listing on the Legal 500 ranking.

schedule 04 April 2022

Coworking in Atlas Tower

In the times of uncertainty due to the pandemic situation worldwide and restrictions connected with that, co-working spaces and offices are gaining more and more popularity amongst potential tenants. Flexibility of renting terms plus tax law support for new entrepreneurs are things highly needed for small and medium businesses and these come in handy when cooperating with Twój Startup foundation.

schedule 22 March 2022

Tricity attracts with its Scandinavian climate

It will soon be two years since the first COVID-19 cases appeared in Poland. What can be said about the current condition of the office market in our country?

schedule 01 February 2022

How to return to the office in good health?

Skanska has recently carried out its third survey on the return to the office in four countries – Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and Hungary. While previous studies have focused on the needs of employees and their expectations of offices in the new reality, this time Skanska has focused on the impact that the pandemic has had on the employees’ mental health and well-being.

schedule 08 November 2021

Sustainable attraction

"Our research shows that 65 pct of employees in the CEE region want to work in a certified sustainable office. We expect that tenants will opt to migrate to new buildings that suit their needs better", admits Paweł Warda of Skanska Commercial Development Europe

schedule 20 October 2021

MAPIC returns to Cannes

MAPIC 2021 will be held at the Palais des Festivals from Tuesday, the 30th of November, to Thursday, the 2nd December, 2021

schedule 31 August 2021

It's a comfortable life

Ziv Zviel, the CEO of Atlas Estates, tells ‘Eurobuild’ about the company’s plans for the residential sector, top investments and the future of the market

Edition 1 (285) January 2024

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