The CEE Summit: ‘Poland not ready for beds & sheds’

Offices and logistics continue to dominate the Polish market, but investors are beginning to look at alternative sectors as well, delegates heard at the Poland and CEE – the international investors’ view at the CEE Summit in Warsaw, which was organised by Poland Today and Real Asset Media.

‘Poland is the second country in Europe in terms of logistics development,’ said Artur Mokrzycki, Head of Capital Markets Europe, Panattoni Europe. ‘In the industrial and logistics sector, geography plays a very important role’.

The factors driving the main sectors will continue to be relevant for many years to come, but in the meantime some investors are positioning themselves for the next wave.

‘Office and logistics have been driving volumes for years, but investors see the trends in Western Europe and want to be at the front of the line,’ said Piotr Mirowski, Senior Partner, Head of Investment Services Poland, Colliers International. ‘They are interested in alternative sectors, but they need opportunities of a certain scale and often they struggle to find them’.

Other investors are more cautious about venturing into sectors that may not be mature or liquid enough.

‘As value-add investors we focus on sectors that have a tail-wind, like beds and sheds at the moment, everything from hotels to residential to distribution,’ said Robert Martin, Founding Partner, Europa Capital. ‘The problem is that there is no track record at all for alternative sectors in Poland. You don’t know what you are underwriting and you don’t know what supply and demand will be like’.

Europa Capital invests in Student Housing and PRS in the UK and the Nordics but in Poland they are taking a wait-and-see attitude.

Part of the problem is the importance and complexity of the operational side. ‘Even in a mature market like the UK the resi management business is still evolving,’ he said. ‘We have a 300 apartment tower in Manchester and management is the single biggest issue, so how would it work in Poland? Who would operate it for you?’

There are additional problems with permits and workforce, Mokrzycki said: ‘I don’t see beds & sheds happening in Poland yet, because city authorities would have to approve and location and availability of labour are serious issues to deal with’. 

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