A guide to serviced offices and office space for rent in Warsaw as well as general information that may be useful if you are thinking of renting office space in the city.
History & Geography
Located on the Vistula River, between the Baltic Sea and the Carpathian Mountains, Warsaw is one of the most politically important and historically significant cities in Europe. The Polish capital lies to the central east of the country on the Masovian Plain, which encompasses the valleys of the Vistula, Bug and Narew Rivers. Many of the most important events in Poland’s history took place in Warsaw, which was founded in the ninth century as a fortified settlement. Despite frequent raids by Lithuanian neighbours Warsaw continued to grow and by the 14th century had a cathedral and a prosperous merchant class. In 1596 King Sigismund III Vasa moved the court from Krakow to Warsaw and the city became in effect the capital of Poland. During the 16th and 17th centuries Warsaw was besieged and sacked a number of times by the Swedish, Transylvanian and Brandenburgian armies. And when the Great Northern War broke out in 1700 the city was once again besieged. During the mid 18th century however the city’s fortunes changed and it was turned into a centre of culture, learning and the arts, mostly due to the efforts of King Stanislaw August Poniatowski. Throughout most of the 19th century Poland was under the sway of Russia, despite frequent rebellions. During this time Warsaw was modernized, receiving water and sewage works, trams, street lighting and gas works. In 1918 Poland became independent and Warsaw was once again confirmed as the capital of the new country. During WWII Warsaw was occupied by the German army, who, as a response to an uprising by the Polish, destroyed over 85 percent of the city. After the war Poland, again under the sway of Russia, rebuilt most of the city and erected thousands of prefabricated housing projects. Due to this extensive rebuilding the city is sometimes referred to as the Phoenix City. With the break up of the Soviet Union Poland became fully democratic and is currently experiencing an economic boom that has scarce been seen in its history.
Recently Warsaw was ranked as the 35th most expensive city to live in and 8out of 35 in Mastercard’s Emerging Markets Index. As the capital of Poland Warsaw is of course home to many government agencies and both Polish and international companies. The city produces 12 percent of the country’s national income and leads central Europe in terms of foreign investment. Additionally, Warsaw’s unemployment rate is the lowest in Poland and according to government numbers rarely rises above three percent. The city is home to the Warsaw Stock Exchange, established in 1991 following the reintroduction of a free-market economy in the city. Under the Soviet Union the city was a major manufacturing centre, however most of the massive factories located in and around Warsaw went bankrupt in 1989, and currently only the Warszawa Steel Mill remains. Today Warsaw is considered to be one of the most attractive locations for business in central Europe and is classified as an Alpha world city.
It is only fairly recently that Warsaw has become a popular tourist destination. Most of the city’s visitors come from around Europe, with many taking advantage cheap deals from budget airlines to have a city break. Today’s Warsaw is a relatively young city, however there are still tourist attractions to be seen. Warsaw Old Town, skirting the Vistula, and carefully reconstructed after WWII, is full of restaurants, cafes and shops, and is a popular destination for visitors. The city walls, the Barbican and St John’s Cathedral are all contained within the Old Town and should not be missed. Full of wandering streets, beautiful squares and magnificent buildings, the Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and was described by the organization as “an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century”. The city also has a thriving nightlife, much of it based on and around the Mazowiecka, Foksal and Zota streets. While Warsaw has become much more expensive as the city has prospered, it is still far cheaper than many of Europe’s capitals such as London, Moscow and Paris. Warsaw has a large amount of restaurants which serve local cuisine, and while the Poles may not be renowned for their food, of late there has been a rejuvenation and a fresh take on local favorites such as Flaki, a piquant beef stew made with marjoram. Of course Poland is also known for its vodkas, which are drunk in great quantities in Warsaw bars and restaurants, and are considered among the best in the world.
With the large amount of foreign investment which has been plowed into the country during the last couple decades Warsaw’s transportation infrastructure has improved greatly of late. For public transport the city has trams, a metro and a light rail system. The Warsaw Metro opened in 1995 with 11 stations, but has since grown to 21 stations and is being constantly expanded. The bus system is one of the most popular ways to get around and covers the entire city. The main railway station, Warszawa Centralna serves trains around the country and the rest of Europe. Warsaw is served by Chopin Airport located approximately six miles south west of the city and easily accessible by car, taxi or bus.
Currently demand for office space in Warsaw is growing and the vacancy rate in the city is dropping. These factors are expected to result in rents increasing and incentives for renters going down. The city has an office stock of approximately 3.5 million square metres and a vacancy rate of just under four percent.