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January 2018
Events

Eight miles high

The 8th Eurobuild Awards Gala in Warsaw

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On a dark and rainy evening in Warsaw in early December, a somewhat sunnier scene was taking shape at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in the city’s Wawer district, where all the most important players in Poland’s and the CEE region’s real estate market were gathering for the 8th Eurobuild Awards Gala.

If there was still a trace of a doubt lingering anywhere about this being the premier event of the year for the sector, then the sheer size of the guest-list should finally have put such nonsense to rest – the biggest venue in the Polish capital was, for the third time in the history of the Awards, hosting around 900 guests, all brought together to honour last year’s star performers… and to see if they had won any of the accolades themselves. In fact, so many were still trying to get in that the opening of the ceremony had to be put back a little in case anyone missed out.

The dynamic duo of TV personality Piotr Kraśko and Eurobuild Central & Eastern Europe’s editor-in-chief Ewa Andrzejewska were, as usual, the consummate hosts for the evening and got the ceremony underway. As the guests tucked into the delectable food that was served, Marek Kaliszuk and his band really kicked things off with a performance of the Justin Timberlake hit ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’. And the feeling of anticipation that was now building certainly couldn’t be stopped.

Once the many sponsors who had made the event possible had been thanked by the hosts, it was time to move onto the first section of the presentation ceremony – the Popular Choice Awards, as voted for in almost real time by the guests present using the electronic devices provided. The winners of the three categories were Griffin RE (best newcomer), the 8th Charity Real Estate Volleyball Tournament (outstanding non-business event) and for personality of the year, the CEO of Echo Polska Properties, Hadley Dean – who was in Cape Town and couldn’t be there to receive his award, but had handily made a video just in case he had won.

Marek Kaliszuk then returned to the stage for his rendition of Foreigner’s 80s classic ‘I Wanna Know What Love Is’. And as the music died down and the guests put away the cigarette lighters they had been waving along to the song (I’m joking), it was the turn of the jury awards – this time voted on by 238 experts and professionals in a process supervised by KPMG. One of the notable winners in the 22 categories was Łódź, which has in recent years transformed itself from being unfashionable and rundown into the country’s most investor-friendly city. But the absolute highlight of the evening came in a break in the middle of this section – an unmissable performance by former Eurovision contestant Justyna Steczkowska of the theme from Gladiator, in which she dazzled the audience, not just with her singing but by appearing in a dress with a stunning 3D mapping effect projected onto it, as designed by Eurobuild’s very own event’s team. Once the audience had recovered from this genuinely amazing spectacle and with the jury section over, Marek Kaliszuk performed his third song of the evening, the Aretha Franklin standard ‘Think’ – which was precisely what the users of 53 office buildings, 29 shopping centres and 19 warehouses across Poland had had to do when surveyed by Millward Brown for the next honours to be announced: the tenants’ awards.

In the finale to the ceremony, the real estate sector had the chance to share some of its success with the less fortunate among us. A charity auction compèred by TV star Szymon Majewski of a painting of a Warsaw cityscape by talented artist Minh Dam raised a total of PLN 25,000, with the buyer being by Panattoni Europe. A 6 litre bottle of Collazzi 2004 wine donated by Robert Mielżyński was also sold in a silent auction to Vastint’s CEO Roger Anderson for the grand sum of PLN 20,000, while another PLN 2,000 was raised in the lottery, in which the prizes were vouchers for sets of luxury caviar generously provided by Antonius Caviar. Altogether, a total of PLN 47,000 was raised for the Iskierka foundation, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life of seriously ill children and their families.

If the ceremony itself was an unforgettable experience, there were still thrills to be had in the foyer, where along with the cocktails there was a carvery, special beer was laid on to mark Echo Investment’s resurrection of the Browary Warszawskie project, Marek Kaliszuk played a longer set and the second former Eurovision contestant of the evening, Flemish singer Kate Ryan, also sang her hits and many other numbers in a thrilling performance that really got the guests dancing.

In our modest opinion, in many ways this was the Best Eurobuild Awards Gala yet and will be hard to top next year. But our team has already started preparing for the next one and we will certainly try. See you next year!

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