The success of the first destination project - Browary Warszawskie (the Warsaw Breweries), good dialogue with tenants and adapting office spaces to new safety standards, as well as strengthening the reputation of shopping centers and responding to the changing needs of their customers - in a nutshell, this is how active Echo Investment was in the sector of commercial properties in 2021. The developer focuses on multifunctional projects that complement cities.
"Using our experience and expertise gained in projects from different sectors of the market of commercial properties - offices, shopping centers, restaurants and catering facilities - we put emphasis on the synergy of efforts and implementation of good practices in our next city-forming projects. Last year showed the effectiveness of our strategy of focusing on such projects, therefore in 2022 we are going to carry it out on an even greater scale," says Rafał Mazurczak, Member of the Management Board responsible for commercial projects.
Warsaw Breweries - the first and already the best. A good lesson of creating destinations
Warsaw Breweries' development began in 2016. This almost empty plot of 4.4 hectares has become a full-fledged, vibrant part of the city, with three modern office buildings, five residential buildings and four historical structures: Warzelnia (the Malthouse), Leżakownia (the Storage Cellars), Willa Fabrykanka (the Fabricants's Villa) and Laboratorium (the Laboratory).
Echo Investment puts its emphasis on the catering and retail component, which complements multifunctional projects. In 2021, 26 food and beverage concepts opened in the Warsaw Breweries, including Food Hall Browary, which is popular with the locals, featuring 12 restaurants and bars. The Warsaw Breweries have become a meeting place popular with business, people from Warsaw, tourists as well as celebrities and influencers. This place is highly talked about.
"When we started working on the Warsaw Breweries six years ago, presenting it as the first destination project, it was a groundbreaking concept on the Polish market because it aimed to create a real, multifunctional city to live, have home, and visit. Today, looking at the finished project, we are proud that this aim came true and turned out to be a huge success. We believe in city-forming projects - we are about to launch a destination project in Łódź, i.e. Fuzja. We are also working on the concept of a project at Towarowa Street in Warsaw and on the areas formerly occupied by Tesco hypermarkets," emphasises Rafał Mazurczak.
The success of the Warsaw Breweries is also confirmed by the awards that Echo Investment received in 2021, including: the title of the best mixed-use development in the CEE Retail Awards competition; GRAND PRIX and the title of the best public space in the prestigious competition SARP 2021 Award of the Year or the debut of the catering concept for the Warsaw Breweries and the title of Culinary Event of the Year - the opening of Food Hall Browary as part of Food Business Forum.
#EchoPureOffice - safe spaces to work comfortably
Safety is one of the most important factors when deciding on the selection of offices. For this reason Echo Investment has introduced the Echo Pure Office standard, covering increased sanitary rules in office buildings and supplying clean and healthy air thanks to dedicated systems. Caring for tenants and their comfort in the workplace translated into 43 signed lease agreements for a total area of nearly 80,000 sqm. Among the tenants there are PepsiCo, Playtika, 3M and Rise.pl.
The highest safety standards, good working environment and social contacts in the light of post-pandemic challenges have been confirmed by the WELL Health and Safety certificate for the West 4 Business Hub building in Wrocław. It is the first Echo Investment office building to undergo this certification.
"We set out to popularize healthy and safe solutions in our office buildings. We started to carefully monitor air quality, we provided systems that helped companies to make decisions about returning to offices. With time and results, we can see that partners trust our efforts. Our buildings are more willingly chosen by companies from various fields of business, and the quality of tenants and solid contracts resulted in selling office buildings," says Rafal Mazurczak.
Echo Investment's office buildings tempt not only tenants. In 2021 Echo Investment sold four buildings: Biura przy Willi (the Villahouse Offices), Biura przy Warzelni (the Malthouse Offices) and Willa Fabrykanta (the Fabricant's Villa), which are part of the multifunctional Warsaw Breweries project, as well as the first stage of Moje Miejsce (My Place) in Lower Mokotów - also in Warsaw. In December the developer signed a preliminary sales agreement for two office buildings of Fuzja in Łódź, and the first stage of Wrocław's West 4 Business Hub found its buyer in January 2022. In total, these transactions are worth over EUR 380 million.
Commerce is changing with its customers
Since the removal of restrictions in spring 2021 in the segment of retail properties, Echo Investment has focused on strong marketing and strengthening shopping centers: Libero and Galeria Młociny while returning to regular operations. By responding quickly to changing shopping trends, both projects are reporting increased footfall compared to "pre-pandemic" 2019 and, more importantly, a nearly 40% increase in turnover among tenants. Libero has a very strong position in the market, as evidenced by the new, unique concepts that choose this location for their debut in Katowice. Off-price concepts are becoming more and more popular, that is why at the end of June the first two-level store in Silesia and the first Half Price store in Katowice opened in Libero.
"In 2022, we will continue to follow the strategy of destinations. Diverse and comprehensive projects attract the attention of the market, and companies are more willing to locate their employees in spaces that shorten distances and allow them to do many daily errands in the nearest surroundings, according to the idea of a 15-minute city. A unique food and beverage offer and a range of life services embedded in the DNA of destinations will invariably be the hallmark of projects we deliver," announces Rafał Mazurczak.