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edition 4 (229)
April 2018
Investment & finance

Spreading your bets

The remedy for market fluctuations: making sure you have projects in several locations and in different segments

Tomasz Cudowski

Spreading your bets
Mariusz Poławski, the vice-president of Marvipol Development

We spoke to Mariusz Poławski, the vice-president of Marvipol Development, about entering a much heated warehouse market, an apartment with a PLN 15 mln price-tag, and the new promised land on the Baltic coast

Tomasz Cudowski, Eurobuild Central & Eastern Europe: Why is such a busy residential developer entering the warehouse market?

Mariusz Poławski, Marvipol Development: Our joint projects with Panattoni basically form a classic diversification of our activities in order to reduce the business risk. Our aim is to take advantage of the boom on the warehouse market, and in this we will be supported by a strong partner – the number one on the warehouse market in Poland. This cooperation is built on the personal relationship between the heads of both companies – Robert Dobrzycki and Mariusz Książek, who have already known each other for some time. The risk of entering an unknown field was significant, but the faith we had in our success matched it. It started with a project at Konotopa on Warsaw’s western outskirts – we bought a plot together, built a facility, commercialised it and sold it.

The project took rather long to complete.

Indeed, about two years, but during that time we really got to know each other. It’s not enough for the heads of the two companies just to communicate – we need to build teams that understand each other as well as to agree and make sure the cooperation is harmonious. We expect to complete a few more joint projects in the next 18 months, as long as there are no substantial difficulties. Today we have seven joint projects with 317,000 sqm gla under our belts and this year we’re launching two more – one near Szczecin and the other in Warsaw’s Okęcie district.

Lets move onto the residential sector. Apparently a party is already interested in your flagship residential product in Warsaw the tower you are building on ul. Grzybowska. And this is the case even though the construction of Unique Tower has only just started and still has three years ahead of it.

Our project is enjoying a great deal of interest, including from funds. But it’s too early to go into any details.

Is this potential investor based in Continental Europe?

No.

How will your project be different from Złota 44 or Cosmopolitan?

Mainly due to the fact that we’ve combined the best features of the best luxury products on the market. I have to admit that we’ve learned a lot from our competition, thanks to which Grzybowska will be equipped with a swimming pool and spa while the apartments will have huge windows. The ‘jewel in the crown’ will be a 500 sqm apartment situated on the entire 29th floor of the tower, which has views in every direction.

... for which you would have to fork out?

... app. PLN 15 mln. It’s about PLN 30,000 per sqm

So youre almost giving it away!

Maybe not for free, but it’s still not that much compared to the most expensive apartments across the world. I’ve visited luxury residential towers in the USA – including W Apartments in South Beach Miami, Trump Tower and Aston Martin Residences – where the prices for the top apartments reach USD 50,000 per sqm. This shows how much catching up we still have ahead of us. Coming back to Grzybowska, it’s worth adding that flats with their own terraces will be located on floors 17 and 18, which is a rarity for this type of project.

The division into a permanently inhabited section and one for renting out is also unusual.

We knew straight away that we would not be able to combine these two functions, which is why each of them has a separate entrance, reception and lifts. So we have simply created two separate worlds within one complex. As early as the design stage we put the emphasis on having permanent residents in order to establish a community, who would know each other and greet each other in the corridor or the lift in each of our residential projects. This makes them feel more at home and at the same time comfortable. It cannot be achieved if the residents are always changing.

What progress have you made in terms of selling the units on Grzybowska? How many years do you think you will need to sell all the apartments?

I’m going to surprise you: we should sell all the apartments before obtaining the occupancy permit.

I am surprised! But Ill keep my fingers crossed. Do you have similarly ambitious targets for the apartment building on ul. Topiel?

This project mainly differs from Grzybowska in terms of its scale – it will contain about 40 units. But we also have great hopes for it. The architectural design itself is unusual, with each floor having a different style – indoors as well as on the façade. I saw a building of this type in Geneva and it also inspired the architect.

In Warsaw, you are preparing projects on ul. Kaczmarskiego and Siedmiogrodzka, while you have also bought more plots in Powiśle and Bielany... so you are building up quite a momentum. You are also making your debut in the TriCity. What will be built on the two empty plots you own in the centre of Gdańsk?

We are planning a residential project called Dwie Motławy on ul. Toruńska, the design of which is nearing completion. Meanwhile, an aparthotel and a double-brand hotel are to be built on ul. Jaglana. We regard Gdańsk as one of the most promising markets in Poland – not only in the residential segment but also in the office and tourist related segments. And we are not alone in this opinion. Trip Advisor has this year put the capital of Pomerania in the top five ‘Destinations on the Rise’ in the world.

For a relatively small company youre quite well spread-out lots of projects, different segments and several locations. Is this how you are aiming for the stars?

Marvipol has no intention of becoming a market giant. If there is any fluctuation in the real estate market, and there have been many signs that sooner or later this will occur, if only because of the business cycle, then it will be the huge and the small developers that are impacted the most. The former are going to suffer due to the effects of scale, while it will be the dependence on a single segment that will be the undoing of smaller players. Medium-sized companies with diversified activities, such as Marvipol, however, will always be able to thrive.



Managing Marvipol

Mariusz Poławski, a manager with over 15 years of experience, is a graduate of the faculty of management at the University of Warsaw. He has been employed by the Marvipol Capital Group since 2003, holding positions such as vice-president of the board of its automotive division. In recent years he has sat on the management board and has been operational director of its property development operations, in which capacity he has been responsible for the implementation and commercialisation of such projects. Since January 2018 he has been the vice-president of Marvipol Development.

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