With Your Head above the Clouds
Office towers are transforming Warsaw’s skyline, the city will soon join top European capitals for the tallest buildings, says Artur Sutor, Partner, Head of Office Department, Cresa Poland.
2021 will see completion of Varso Tower near the Central Railway Station in Warsaw - it will be both Poland’s and the EU’s tallest building measuring 310 metres (including its spire). By comparison, with 237 metres in total height the Palace of Culture and Science is today the tallest building in Poland. Varso Tower will deliver more than 66,000 sqm of modern office space.
Skyscrapers are springing up mainly in the vicinity of Daszyńskiego Roundabout and Towarowa Street, an area in which the capital city’s business hub has been expanding for a couple of years. Most high-rise office projects will be delivered several months apart in the space of the next three years. Mennica Legacy Tower is the first one to be completed this year; the next in line are Skyliner and the Warsaw Hub, which are scheduled for 2020.
The eleven high-rise office buildings of more than 100 metres in height each which are either under construction or at an advanced planning stage will provide over 570,000 sqm. Their total height (up to the rooftop only) is nearly 1.7 km. By way of comparison, the height of the existing thirteen office towers is also approximately 1.7 km. Warsaw is going for a record. Its panorama will change dramatically in a couple of years. In addition, several spectacular projects are being designed, including Warsaw One at ONZ Roundabout (the former Ilmet building), Nowa Emilia in E. Plater Street, Łucka 7/9 and a project in Grzybowski Square. Warsaw’s development pipeline also includes high-rise residential and hospitality projects. The capital is changing and seeing new developments designed by renowned, world-famous architects.
Historically, Warsaw has always aspired to grow tall. In the early 20th century, the 51-metre-high PAST building was constructed in the city for the Swedish-owned company Towarzystwo Akcyjne Telefonów Cedergen at 39 Zielna Street in addition to a 66-metre-high building for the British Prudential Insurance Company at Powstańców Warszawy Square. The Second World War, however, thwarted the plans of the then city authorities and architects. The Palace of Culture and Science was constructed in the 1950s to rule the city’s skyline for over 60 years. It was followed in the 1970s and 1980s by Intraco I, Intraco II and Marriott Hotel.
Office skyscrapers attract tenants - they are a symbol of power, prestige and ambition. They are iconic landmarks whose names are a lot better known in the city than their addresses, for example Warsaw Spire, Rondo 1 and WFC. Office towers used to be dominated by banks and insurance companies, but they are being increasingly targeted by IT and high-tech firms. A prime office building and location are magnets that attract talents. In addition, office towers tend to be developed in the best possible locations, near major thoroughfares.
An interesting view from a window and an office in a unique modern building all come at a price. Office towers generally command higher service charges for such items as stately lobbies, installations and systems.
However, the most positive change that I personally feel glad to see is that Warsaw’s towers are opening up to the city and its people. The opening of Europejski Square with its greenery and landscape structures at the Warsaw Spire complex to Warsaw inhabitants was undoubtedly a milestone in this direction. And now, the top floor of Varso Tower will feature a public observation deck at a height of approximately 230 metres; and the three towers of The Warsaw Hub will be connected by a shared podium designed to accommodate a conference centre, fitness and retail. The latter complex developed by Ghelamco will provide an underpass with access to Rondo Daszyńskiego metro station, close to which Skyliner and Warsaw Unit are also being constructed. PHN Tower will likewise have a direct access to Rondo ONZ metro station. Easy metro access will also be an advantage of slightly smaller office buildings Widok Towers (94 m) and Central Point (93 m), the latter - located at the corner of Marszałkowska and Świętokrzyska streets - will be accessible from two metro lines.
The surroundings of the Forest complex at 14 Burakowska Street also look promising. The developer is planning to create an urban campus with a large green area, a public square and a fitness zone on its rooftop. Additionally, several new high-rise projects will comprise hospitality components with well-known hotel operators, including a four-star NYX hotel of Leonardo Hotels at Varso, and Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express of the InterContinental Hotels Group at the The Warsaw Hub.