Poland Land is the key to success but requires skills

Material partner
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

Will land get cheaper?

Aleksandra Wołodźko, CEO of consulting firm Greenfields: The last time we saw a decline in land prices was after the global crisis in 2008. Plots were getting cheaper and cheaper, the European economy was going through a deep recession, and real estate companies were conducting massive layoffs. Today, we are lucky to have no layoffs, and employers are not cutting wages. I don’t see any reason for a drop in plot prices. Nevertheless, we have recently heard during negotiations: “if inflation is going up, land should get cheaper because otherwise, the developer will not make the desired profits.” We wouldn’t bet that this economic theory is going to stick with private landowners, as we know from experience that they would rather eat dry bread for the rest of their lives than sell land at a price they consider unfair.

So should we expect plot prices to continue to rise?

I don’t want to make any strong predictions on how the coming months will look like, but I can confirm that we’re already investing in land more heavily than ever. Mark Twain once said, “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore,” and we are fully committed to this principle. There is no real estate asset that returns as high yields as land over the long term. It is not what you will hear at MIPIM or Expo Real because property funds don’t buy plots. Land doesn’t generate annual returns that can be shown to investors in Excel. More importantly, buying commercialized buildings requires mainly financial skills, while buying and converting land requires negotiating, architectural, legal, and engineering competencies. We do have such competencies. We also have a feel for the market and a vision, plus we accurately identify locations gaining value.

Developers, especially in Warsaw, complain about delays in administrative decisions. Where is the problem?

Our company is efficient in obtaining decisions, as we know the market very well, our employees have extensive experience, and we stay in constant dialogue with the Warsaw authorities.

Still, I confirm that obtaining zoning decisions and building permits in Warsaw is a major challenge, and applications take years to process. In addition, it’s just ridiculous that local plans are adopted based on a 20-year-old land use plan that doesn’t respond to the current needs of the city. Other cities show that a smooth change of the land use plan is possible. In Gdańsk, the new document was enacted in 2 years and 8 months. In Wrocław – in 3 years and 6 months.

In Warsaw, protests also cause problems. According to the law, an official should include the neighbours in a building permit procedure only if the project affects their property. The projects we advise on are built in such a way as to avoid this. But some officials, even today, keep on including the neighbours in the procedures without having any reason to do so, and the neighbours keep on protesting against the permits, demanding money from the developers to stop protesting. And those protests often take years to resolve, and in 99 pct of cases, they are dismissed by the courts. It is not a precedent but actually a practice to the extent that communities and some law firms specialise in articulating demands to developers. And the developers, in order to maintain schedules, give in to such unjustifiable wishes.

Let us remind you that Warsaw is one of the most affordable capitals in the European Union to live in. Numerous corporations want to locate their businesses in the capital city of Poland. To continue being competitive, we need to increase the offer of land. We believe that in Warsaw, in urbanised areas, there are enough plots of land. We just lack agility in transforming existing land and obtaining zoning and building permits.

What else causes you difficulties?

Inflexible spatial planning. We believe that the local plan should define public areas and road infrastructure as well as height, volume, maximum building area, environmental areas, etc. But it should not determine the intended use, but just exclude harmful functions. The question is how one may predict the needs of a given plot of land in 20 years’ time? Predicting whether we will need more offices, apartments, hotels, elderly care centers, or data centers in the future is a bit like fortune-telling. Planning should be more flexible as only then will it serve the city, developers, and residents well.

Is it true that you have had plenty of disputes with the City of Warsaw due to their refusal of some of your applications?

Yes, that’s true. We have had about a dozen or so appeal proceedings following the refusal to issue zoning decisions. We’ve won most of them. We were successful in receiving positive decisions in the appeal procedure, but it delayed the whole development process by several years. What hurt us the most was the fact that the municipal officials perceived us as opponents for quite a long time, so basically, after the first appeal to the Local Government Appeal Board, we kept getting negative decisions from them.

Is it still like this?

Luckily for everyone, we have put a stop to this situation. We changed our approach to a more conciliatory and empathic one, which has allowed us to unblock a number of procedures, including the processing of our application under the special purpose housing law for the development on ul. Gdańska in Warsaw, which was initially rejected by the city. Thanks to constructive dialogue with the authorities and the architectural and construction administration bodies, the relevant resolution was adopted at a second attempt, opening the door to the special purpose law for other developers.

We are aware that the work of officials is more difficult than we think. At the same time, we believe that unfavorable court decisions made the city authorities realise that it is worth listening to the developer’s arguments to avoid lengthy appeal procedures.

So will it be easier than before for developers to obtain decisions in Warsaw?

I didn’t say that, but we’re seeing real progress here. Anyway, we have clients from all over the world, and although they all complain about how confusing and unpredictable it is to obtain permits in Poland, they also admit that their own countries aren’t much better in this respect.

Coming back to the project on ul. Gdańska, you submitted one of the first applications in the country under the special purpose housing law in Warsaw. This development was given the green light by the authorities, but the decision was preceded by a court battle.

Unfortunately, mainly for political reasons, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the new regulations. However, we have seen great potential in the special purpose law right from the beginning. We are pioneers, for sure. But when it comes to the first project, on ul. Gdańska, we had to go through the entire appeal process to get the City of Warsaw to agree with us.

But has much changed since then?

Today I don’t think anyone doubts that the special purpose law is a good tool that helps to transform neglected areas of our cities. We knew this right from the beginning, and we are glad that now the City of Warsaw also fully supports this law. We lost 5 years fighting in court that we could have used to have a lot of new land for residential use ready.

The special purpose law brings benefits to the entire district. It requires the investor to finance the construction of public services such as schools, kindergartens, roads, parks, or other green areas. In addition, it is a good alternative to outdated zoning plans.

Are the first effects of the special law already visible?

The first two projects are being developed under this procedure in the district of Praga Południe.

As for the location on ul. Gdańska that I mentioned before, Greenfields is working on a building permit. We’re coordinating the construction of an intimate residential estate with green areas and services. On ul. Bieżuńska in the district of Targówek, we are preparing a residential project with a public kindergarten and green areas. This is also an area that is in urgent need of transformation. Bieżuńska is a post-industrial rift in the compact urban fabric rather than a showpiece of the district.

We’re working intensively on several other projects in the best locations in Warsaw. We’re making efforts to obtain the required decisions for land on which some 2,200 apartments will be built. More details will be provided soon.

We’re not limiting ourselves to Warsaw. In Płock, we’re transforming a post-industrial site of 6.5 ha. This is one of the largest projects of this kind in Poland. The project involves the construction of: 1,400 apartments, recreational areas, services, a road, and a kindergarten. The new development will change this part of the city in a fundamental way, as it covers an area where there were numerous buildings housing poultry processing plants, causing major inconvenience.

It is worth emphasising that all developments will be in line with the popular concept of the 15-minute city, involving the construction of public infrastructure such as kindergartens, crèches, green areas, parks and roads.


Aleksandra Wołodźko – has several years of experience in the land market. Since 2005, she has been CEO of Greenfields, a consulting firm with transactions covering the sale of more than 1.2 mln sqm of land in total and the construction of more than 17,500 apartments. She has advised international developers, investment funds, and developers of warehouses, hotels, data centres, and the PRS sector on land purchase and sale transactions and the coordination of the development process. She graduated from the University of Warsaw. As the CEO of Greenfields, she has participated in the preparation of resolutions under the special purpose housing law, e.g., for one of the largest projects of its kind in Poland: the Kostrogaj estate in Płock, comprising 1,400 apartments.

Latest news

Warehouse & industrial

Poland Construction work begins on Panattoni Park Gdańsk City Airport

schedule 27 May 2024
Opr./edited by JC

Panattoni has begun work on Panattoni Park Gdańsk City Airport, a new project in the district of Pomerania. The development is being built on a speculative basis and will comprise two distribution buildings with a combined area of over 18,400 sqm.

Material partner

Poland Excellent Fern at Off Piotrkowska

schedule 04 April 2024
Eurobuild CEE

Intensive commercialization of the multifunctional Fern building under construction at Off Piotrkowska Center has begun. A modern building, the construction of which will start at the turn of 2024/2025, offers 4,700 sqm of service space and 2,700 sqm of office space.

Investment & finance

Poland Metron changes hands

schedule 27 May 2024
Opr./edited by JC

Alides Polska, a subsidiary of Belgian developer Alides, and Aya Properties Fund, have announced the joint acquisition of the Metron office building located in Warsaw from a Polish SPV held by Patrizia Frankfurt Kapitalverwaltungs.

Office & mixed-use development

Poland High tech in Skyliner

schedule 24 May 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Warsaw's Skyliner has gained a new tenant. Xperi, an American technology company, will occupy nearly 3,000 sqm of space in the office building.

Retail & leisure

Poland The one and only Answear Concept Store

schedule 24 May 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

In Warsaw's Norblin Factory, the only stationary concept store in Europe started its activity. On the area of 2,000 sqm, the customers will find an offer of premium fashion brands, which so far were available only online.


Poland The sector keeps moving!

schedule 23 May 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Tomorrow, as every year, we will meet at the golf course in Rajszew and at the Warszawianka courts to build relationships, have fun and, at the same time, take care of the condition of... the industry. All this in the spirit of healthy sporting competition.

Office & mixed-use development

Czech Republic Hila takes off in Prague

schedule 23 May 2024
Opr./edited by JC

Passerinvest Group symbolically launched the construction of the multifunctional Hila building in Brumlovka, Prague 4. Upon its completion in 2027, the building will provide a combination of approximately 20,500 sqm of offices for rent, 71 rental flats and retail spaces of 2000 sqm.

Office & mixed-use development

Hungary Vitrum to be handed over in autumn 

schedule 23 May 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Liget Center Vitrum, part of Wing Liget Center multi-building project developed by Wing in the centre of Budapest, is structurally complete. The new boutique office be completed in the autumn.


Hungary Skybar opens in Budapest

schedule 22 May 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Cloud IX, Budapest’s latest panoramic skybar, has been opened in the ibis & Tribe Budapest Stadium Hotel in the WING Liberty building. Opened last December in Budapest’s District IX, the hotel complex boasts a total of 332 rooms and a wide range of services.

Investment & finance

Poland Green financing for three CPIPG office assets

schedule 22 May 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

CPI Property Group Poland has concluded a green refinancing transaction with Aareal Bank amounting to more than EUR 277 mln. The funds received will be used for the refinancing of three Warsaw office properties: Warsaw Financial Center, Equator IV and Eurocentrum.

Office & mixed-use development

Poland Mercer isn't moving out

schedule 22 May 2024
Opr./edited by JC

Global firm Mercer, part of the Marsh McLennan Group, has renegotiated its lease at the myhive Nimbus building and remains at 7,300 sqm.


Poland First residential units in Towarowa 22 project

schedule 22 May 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

The residential part of the Towarowa 22 project in Warsaw is taking off. Archicom is starting to sell flats in the first building under the Archicom Collection brand, which will stand in the immediate vicinity of the planned park.


Romania Phase III of The Level Apartments takes off

schedule 22 May 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Romanian residential developer Redport Capital has announced the start of construction of Phase III of The Level Apartments. The project has received a building permit for 105 apartments to be developed with an investment of EUR 13 mln.

Warehouse & industrial

Poland CTP will build for dogs

schedule 22 May 2024
Opr./edited by JC

CTP has been appointed by dog food manufacturers PsiBufet and Butternut Box to build a specialist facility to produce fresh dog food for distribution across continental Europe. The new facility is being developed in a build-to-suit model at CTPark Zabrze.

Warehouse & industrial

Panattoni Park Kraków East IV is ready

schedule 22 May 2024
Opr./edited by ANZ

Panattoni has completed the construction of Panattoni Park Kraków East IV. The completion will be financed with a EUR 10.5 mln loan from Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego. The facility has been fully leased by Omega Pilzno.

Office & mixed-use development

Poland Batory I is fully let

schedule 21 May 2024
Opr./edited by JC

ZST (Zintegrowane Systemy Techniczne) has increased the size of its head office in the Batory I office building. As a result of the expansion, the Warsaw office building owned and managed by Globalworth Poland is now fully leased. 

Office & mixed-use development

Poland Some Oxygen for IT company

schedule 21 May 2024
Opr./edited by JC

LSI Software, a provider of IT systems that enhance operations and business management, has become a new tenant of the Oxygen Park office complex in Warsaw.

Warehouse & industrial

Poland New park from Panattoni

schedule 20 May 2024
Opr./edited by JC

Panattoni is launching the construction of a new speculative centre in the Łódź region. The project is to have an eventual size of close to 30,000 sqm

Office & mixed-use development

Poland Baskerville gets independent

schedule 20 May 2024
Opr./edited by JC

Baskervill, an international architectural, engineering, and design firm, opened up its office in Gdańsk. A 200-sqm space is located in Officyna building.

Office & mixed-use development

Poland House of Skills is staying at Bolero

schedule 20 May 2024
Opr./edited by JC

Consulting and Training Consortium, owner of House of Skills and brands, has extended its lease at Bolero Office Point 1 in Warsaw. The new lease agreement provides the entire organization with 900 sqm of office space that has been signed through 2030.

Latest in Material partner

schedule 02 May 2024

Nordbygg 2024: Many innovations and strong interest

Last week, Nordbygg, Northern Europe’s biggest trade fair for professionals in construction and real estate industry, took place at Stockholmsmässan in Ävsjö, Sweden. 35,000 visitors attended which, combined with the 5,000 people on the stands, gives a total of 40,000 participants. New features for Nordbygg 2024 included the strong involvement of the City of Stockholm and a popular online app.

schedule 21 March 2024

New opportunities emerge in uncertain times

Over 20,000 delegates representing 90 countries gathered in Cannes for the 34th edition of MIPIM, the global urban festival that brings investors, political leaders and the real estate community together to facilitate relationships and find solutions to the challenges facing the built environment.

schedule 07 March 2024

Silesia invites you to Cannes!

We would like to invite you to the meeting: "Explore Silesia: Where Economic Resilience Meets Opportunity!", held at MIPIM this Wednesday. Silesia and its metropolise are one of the fastest growing and most innovative regions in Europe. During the discussion, the roots of its success and specific future prospects will be discussed.

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 5 (288) May 2024

Latest comments