The city-owned land neighbouring on the Port of Gdańsk waited patiently for the opening of the Still Vistula Tunnel [Martwa Wisła]. Now, InvestGDA is launching a project to commercialise the expanse of over 100 hectares in the location, plus almost 70 hectares in other locations. What will it take to find prospective lessees? What investors can we expect? Alan Aleksandrowicz, President of investGDA, answers those and other questions.
New land available to investors in Gdańsk – Alan Aleksandrowicz passes the word
Izabela Biała: At the turn of March and April, investGDA (Gdańsk Economic Development Agency) will announce a tender for the laying of infrastructure in the land it is in charge of, adjacent on the right-bank estate of the Port of Gdańsk. What is the objective the project?
Alan Aleksandrowicz: – We are launching a large-scale project aimed at commercialising the land owned by the City of Gdańsk, stretching along the port. We have called the venture the Pomeranian Investment Centre (embracing over 76 ha – ed.). The area will be provided with a new road network, plus water, sewage, and power supply systems. Our plans fit into the investment pursued by the Port of Gdańsk Authority and consisting in the building of a buffer parking lot to accommodate one thousand trucks on 10 hectares of land purchased from us. We will use the proceeds generated on the sale to complete our project.
How are the construction works intended to proceed? Where will they start?
– We have made an agreement with the Port Authority that the infrastructure we develop will reach the border of the future parking lot. Stage one of the works will consist in building roads from the Koga office building (at Andruszkiewicza St. – ed.), along Sucharskiego St., and up to the site of the planned parking lot, including a connection to Kontenerowa St. which goes to the DCT terminal. This element of the infrastructure should be ready as soon as next year.
Have any prospective investors already expressed their interest in the land, and do you expect the commenced construction works will trigger such interest?
– We are in the midst of negotiations with logistic companies whose businesses are linked to the operations of the DCT terminal. Knowing our plans, they are interested in entering into lease contracts. I cannot disclose the names of the specific investors as yet; nevertheless, in all probability they will start building their warehouses as soon as our works on the new road grid begin. The lessees have specific expectations as to the completion date of our investment project. We would like to make its outcome available to the major investors in the first six months of next year. We should obtain confirmation of whether they will actually invest here this March or April.
You say this will be the first stage into the works. When are you planning stage two?
– Things will depend on the actual developments in the process of commercialising the Pomeranian Investment Centre area. The current division into cadastral plots here is only provisional. Should it happen that after completion of the initial stage in the works, planned to bring roads and the media to the largest possible number of plots, major investors interested in leasing the entire remaining land approach us, the building of the second part of the road network may turn out redundant. I presume we will witness the same mechanism coming into play here as the one we saw in the case of our ‘Maszynowa’ Industry and Technology Park in Kokoszki. Once we had put the roads and media in place there, the land instantly attracted investors. We have 30 companies operating on the site today.
The Pomeranian Investment Centre marked with the blue dot (google maps)
The Pomeranian Investment Centre expanse encircled in blue (google maps)
As I understand, in the case of the Pomeranian Investment Centre one can count primarily on businesses related to port operations?
– Yes, most of all, although the location, I believe, will also be perfect for companies looking for a convenient access to national roads omitting the centre of Gdańsk. The Sucharski Route in place offers a smooth entry into the S7 road, and the Southern Ring Road into the A1 Motorway. Proximity of the Still Vistula Tunnel is also vital, as it contributes a lot to increased popularity of the port-adjacent areas.
Moreover, we would also like to use our land next to the port to set up at least two storage yards, 10 thousand square metres each. The first one will be completed as early as this year to serve the tenants of our Koga office building. Locations offering storage opportunities are currently much in demand in Gdańsk. Companies in need of storage space, operating on the verge of services and industrial production, are moving out of such areas as e.g. the Letnica district where a developer has commenced works on a residential estate. There will be no place available to them downtown either.
Did you wait for the tunnel to be opened before launching your project of the port-adjacent land?
– Yes, we did; we awaited the ‘communication effect’ I mentioned earlier on and that is why we first focused on commercialisation of the ‘Maszynowa’ project which raised high interest among investors. By the way, Goodman dealing in logistics, our first major lessee of the port-adjacent land, did not wait for the completion of the tunnel and developed the entire area of our Pomeranian Logistics Centre.
We are talking about building the roads and providing the media. What about office space? Will the Koga building erected by investGDA have its followers in the neighbourhood?
– We want to prepare for the option of erecting another office building, though at the level of the investment project design for the time being. The companies we are negotiating with are weighing the variant of investing in the construction of warehouses only against the variant of going further into building office space for rent. We do not want to spoil the market and I realise that if we enter the market with office buildings which should be erected by private investors, the industry might interpret it as taking advantage of our apparently privileged position of a municipal business entity.
Why was Koga built then?
– We built Koga to activate the area. In order to inject life there, we had to build a road, lay all media, i.e. give it a start. That same idea guided us in erecting that office building. Should, however, private investors now wish to engage in their own developments, I do not think we should follow the path any further. We will focus on hard infrastructure, possibly simple investments such as storage yards. We will not compete with commercial investors in the office space market. Indeed, sooner or later they will start looking for new locations to develop their centres. After all, the Grunwaldzka/Kołobrzeska quarters will be utilised to the full by 2020.
Is this all land investGDA has at its disposal in the neighbourhood of the Port of Gdańsk?
– There is vacant land along Ku Ujściu St. (over 50 ha – ed.), on the other side of Sucharskiego St., and it carries a high potential too. Its advantage lies in access to the railway infrastructure. PKP is pursuing a large EU-financed project in the area, consisting in redevelopment of the Northern Port reloading station. The Port of Gdańsk Authority [ZMPG] is also pursuing a similar project nearby.
We have recently established a relationship with Balticon with respect to that location. They are launching a large container storage yard with access to railway tracks, and in the future might start a container production plant on the site. As for the other land, we would like to have it contributed in kind to us by the Municipality of Gdańsk. To achieve the objective, we will also need a positive opinion from the Port of Gdańsk Authority, as the said real property lies within the estate administered by the Authority, and – consequently – consent from the Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterways.
The location of the investGDA land along Ku Ujściu St., marked with the blue dot (google maps)
The InvestGDA land along Ku Ujściu St. encircled in blue (google maps)
I take it that at the moment investGDA is focusing primarily on commercialisation of the said land in the vicinity of the Port of Gdańsk. What other locations in Gdańsk do you intend to search investors for?
– We would like to focus on leasing the land in the Płonia districts (over 60 ha – ed.), near the refinery of the Lotos Group. Many companies are voicing their interest in the site even today. Benzynowa St., now in poor condition, will certainly need a revamp and readjustment to the needs of the prospective investors. For the time being, we are in the midst of the procedure of establishing a special economic zone to embrace the area, following suit of the ‘Maszynowa’ Park special economic zone in Kokoszki. The Gdańsk City Council approved our application last year and we hope the final decision in the matter will be taken by the Council of Ministers this year (in response to the application filed by the Pomeranian Special Economic Zone – ed.). As we see it, the investors need that incentive to resolve to invest in the Płonia districts, while I do not perceive any such need in the case of the port-adjacent land. Obviously, should a large production investment project be proposed there and should its initiator make his decision to proceed conditional on the establishment of such zone there, we will be willing to apply for it.
The location of the investGDA land in the Płonia districts, marked with the blue dot (google maps)
The InvestGDA estate in the Płonia districts, encircled in blue (google maps)
Alongside the port-neighbouring land, Płonia seem to offer the best location in Gdańsk for logistics?
– Certainly so, but it is also favourable for industry. However, we are also preparing for the development of plots on the other side of the S7, spreading over the area of 4 ha along Michałki St. on the border of the Lotos Koleje estate in Rudniki. There are already some large logistic companies, e.g. Makro and Panattoni, operating in the area. If we succeed in obtaining the land from the city and finding investors to develop it, we would like to give the said street and overhaul.
The plots at Michałki St. in the Rudniki district intended for commercialisation by investGDA, marked with the blue dot (google maps)
The plots at Michałki St. in the Rudniki district, encircled in blue (google maps)
Do the above ventures exhaust your plans for the nearest future?
– We want to activate the city-owned land in the vicinities of the airport. The decision to contribute another estate of over 4.5 ha at Azymutalna St. to investGDA was made in February. The location offers advantages to investors in production and advanced technologies. The neighbourhood of Intel and the Pomeranian Special Economic Zone (at Spadochroniarzy St.) has already been extensively developed by businesses attracted by the proximity of the airport. Our plans for the land at Azymutalna St. fit in the Airport City concept pursued by the Gdańsk Airport. The area carries a huge potential.
Let me add here that there are chances to expand the Kokoszki zone by another several hectares, though the move will exhaust the land resources available at the location.
Under the ‘Invest in Pomerania’ initiative, Gdańsk Economic Development Agency is also engaged as a player in the ‘game’ of attracting investors to the Tri-City and the land the Agency is not in direct disposal of. Can we expect any ‘spectacular entries’ in our city this year?
– We are in the course of negotiations, but the investors would rather not have their names disclosed yet. There will be several projects launched in Gdańsk this year, generating another one thousand or more jobs. The engaged businesses operate in such trades as: advanced services, IT, and finance, i.e. the industries we have focused on in the recent years in our project stimulation efforts.
The city-owned areas at Azymutalna St. in the vicinities of the Gdańsk Airport, marked with the blue dot (google maps)
The city-owned areas at Azymutalna St., encircled in blue (google maps)