The leading market in Silesia

Originally Published in March 2019

Katowice is a city located in Silesia, in the southwestern Poland. Its excellent location, economic potential, and consistent policy have made Katowice not only a leading market in the region, but also competitive with cities from other regions of Poland. It is a place where events of great cultural, sport and economic importance are organized. It’s a very creative and developing city.

Katowice – a green place to live and a modern place to invest

Katowice is currently the fourth regional market in Poland in terms of modern office space – taking Warsaw into account, Katowice ranks fifth. The size of modern office space in the capital of the Silesian Voivodeship is 520,000 square meters (GLA). In 2018, the total supply of new office space was 51,000 square meters. Additionally, some investments which are going to provide another 72,000 square meters of new space are still under construction. The vacancy rate in Katowice is currently 8.8%. The demand for modern office space is generated primarily by companies from the modern business services sector. Due to very good localization, in the last few years, Katowice has become an important center for SSC / BPO / IT and R&D entrepreneurs and is constantly strengthening its position in this sector. It is worth remembering that the city is located within 600 kilometers range from the following capitals: Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, and Bratislava.

Currently, the fastest developing sector of the real estate market in Katowice is the housing market. Thus, it is not surprising that more and more companies see potential in investing into this sector, which results in the high activity of investors. Nevertheless, Katowice is still putting a lot of efforts in supporting investors, for example by preparing land for housing construction. The city is also running a specific project called “Local Revitalization Program”, which indicates areas requiring special support from all stakeholders, both private and public. If a specific area is included in the Program, investors can apply for additional funding from the EU to cover at least some part of the investment.

In 2018, the total supply of new office space in Katowice was 51,000 square meters

The city also does not give up on communal housing as well as Social Building Society. It is worth emphasizing that as the first Polish community, Katowice signed an agreement regarding entry into the “Mieszkanie Plus” (the nationwide program assuming the creation of apartments with moderate rental rates, with the possibility to become the owner over years).

The city’s investment offer currently has 19 projects with a total space of 49.05 hectares, from which 23.35 hectares are dedicated to service development, 14.9 hectares for manufacturing and storage services and 10.8 hectares for apartments. The most attractive areas, located in the city center, are reserved for offices, hotels and housing projects.

But housing market is not the only one sector rapidly developing in Katowice. The city conducts a great number of activities to attract domestic and foreign investors, particularly from the modern business services sector. These activities include organizing or co-organizing industry conferences as well as taking part in the events such as “Property Forum” or “Poland Day in Silicon Valley”. According to the latest ABSL report “Business Services in Katowice & the Katowice Agglomeration”, Katowice & its agglomeration’s attractiveness for investors from the business services sector grows. At present the service centers in Katowice and the city’s surrounding owned by Polish and foreign capital employ over 20,000 people. Considering corporate development plans in the Katowice Agglomeration, it can be assumed that by the end of 2020 development in the sector will have reached roughly 23,000 individuals.

The constant growth of the market is also a result of the support offered by the city, example of which is the Investors Assistance Department, which was created to provide investors with personalized professional assistance in the long run. From the moment the information about the planned new investment of the potential investor is obtained, the Department undertakes several activities aimed at encouraging the investor to locate a new investment in Katowice. The Department’s support contains, among other things, assignment of a person to take care of the investor, market analysis regarding, for example, availability of the workforce or quality of the infrastructure, gathering useful information on the potential location of the project, or organizing meetings with the city’s officials.

In 2018, Katowice was awarded eighth among large European cities, in the category of “Business Friendly City”, in the ranking organized by fDi Magazine. Additionally, Katowice once again was ranked second among Polish cities in the category “Investor Friendly City”, in the ranking organized by the Eurobuild Magazine.

Due to the fact, that Katowice is a modern and dynamically developing city, it is also an attractive destination in terms of the business tourism market. Expansion of hotel chains as well as constant modernization of the conference facilities also favors the development of various economic sectors. Two of the best know places, perfect to hold conferences and business meetings are International Congress Center (which is the largest covered conference area in Poland) and the Sports and Entertainment Arena called “Spodek”.

Katowice is already experienced in the organization of international business events. In 2017, the total amount of events and conferences organized in the city was 6,334, with 826,883 attendees – 25.2% of these meetings lasted minimum 2 days. This year, between February and March, the city will once again be the host of the Intel Extreme Masters – international computer games event. In May 2019, the 11th European Economic Congress, the largest economic event in Central Europe, will be held in both of the above mentioned venues.

Another area creating interest from investors is the Katowice Special Economic Zone (KSEZ). Currently, there are over 350 companies operating within the KSEZ with the total investment capital of EUR 8 billion. The main part of investments are from the automotive sector. Other investment sectors in the zone are glass, steel, construction, food, wood processing or plastics.

Katowice is a very attractive and unique place to live with a lot of green space, covering over 45% of the city’s area. It is very challenging for the city’s officials to maintain them and keep the economic growth on the highest level, however, as of now, it works perfectly. Nevertheless, the surrounding of green recreation areas is also an impulse for both – investors to implement their investment projects and people who want to live nearby.