Jones Lang LaSelle
A weak European economy has not deterred property investors, developers and clients in Central and Eastern Europe from going green. Indeed, it may have led to the contrary: A massive number of sustainable developments are currently underway in the region, according to a new report from agency Jones Lang LaSalle.
Warsaw has by far the largest pipeline among countries in the region, with around 400,000 sqm of green building space under construction. At this rate the Polish capital will exceed Prague, currently the greenest city in the region, in terms of volume and percentage of sustainable developments in its total stock.
“We are creating a green culture, having a much broader discussion than a few years ago. Tenants are also better educated,” said Nicklas Lindberg, managing director for CEE at Skanska Commercial Development Europe, speaking at the RealGreen Symposium & Fair last week.
There is a strong case for building green, participants said. It saves money, reduces investors’ risk, and demonstrates organizational leadership.
But experts also agreed that market players are not necessarily certain how far they want to follow the trend. One obstacle is that very few government incentives currently exist to promote green development in the region.
Another is that it’s much easier to build sustainably than to make existing buildings sustainable. “The challenge is with existing buildings from the 1970s all over Europe. In many cases the cost of retro-fitting is higher than their actual value,” said Hadley Dean, managing partner for Eastern Europe at Colliers International.
Some are nevertheless taking up the challenge, such as Rondo 1 in Warsaw. The 60,000 sqm building, built in 2006, obtained LEED Gold certification in 2011.
“One of the biggest challenges was to consult with the 58 companies and nearly 5,000 employees in the building,” said Karol Bartos, managing director Poland at MGPA. But it proved to be well worth it. Rondo 1 managed, with relatively small investments involving lighting replacement, a water-saving program and a green roof, to maintain its leasing rate in a weak market, while reducing running costs by 15 percent.
Rondo 1 won the “Building of the Year” at the RealGreen Awards. Other winners were Skanska Commercial Development Europe for “RealGreen Developer of the Year,” MGPA for “RealGreen Investor of the Year,” and Chapman Taylor for “Services Provider of the Year.”
From Warsaw Business Journal by Alice Trudelle
More bankruptcies to come
Polio vaccine inventor Hilary Koprowski dies
Iraq: the long road back
EU-US free trade agreement by 2015
Poland to send soldiers to Mali on training mission
Donald Tusk the social democrat?
BY Remi Adekoya
The growing importance of the Arctic Council
BY Stratfor Global Intelligence