The biggest office developer in Europe sold 4 buildings for over EUR 265 million, leased over 135,000 sqm, and completed 7 buildings in Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary. Skanska retains its strong position on the Central Eastern European real estate market and confirms its business efficiency despite the COVID-19 pandemic all over the world. The company aims to maintain the strategic goal of developing and delivering futureproof, sustainable, healthy, and safe projects for its clients, in accordance with Skanska values.
Skanska’s commercial development business unit delivers futureproof office space in two European regions: Central & Eastern Europe and the Nordics. In 2020, the business unit operating in the CEE region sold 4 office buildings for EUR 265 million to European investors, completed 7 buildings with a total volume of over 150,000 sqm, and leased more than 135,000 sqm. The latter number includes the signing of leasing agreements with PZU Group for 47,000 sqm in Generation Park Y and with Allegro Group for 27,000 sqm in Nowy Rynek in Poznań. Currently, the developer has more than 170,000 sqm of office space in 6 buildings under construction in CEE. Three of them were started in 2020 and one has just been started in Romania.
Poland retains the strongest position in CEE
The total CEE investment volume represented a total of over €9.7 billion, which means a nearly 32% decline from 2019, according to JLL. Poland continued its dominance with 57% of total CEE volume, with a country total of €5.6 billion, showing a 30% decline from 2019, but still the third-highest volume on record.
The pandemic is one of the biggest challenges in history, affecting all of us. It is important more than ever to proceed and function as normally as we can, so our business activity in 2020 makes me even more proud. Conducting divestments of 4 of our office buildings across CEE and our leasing result including two major leasing agreements: with PZU Group in Warsaw and Allegro Group in Poznań, prove an exceptional quality of our projects, trust of our business partners, and commitment of the whole Skanska organization. We want to continue developing our current and future projects in light of the safest, healthiest, and sustainable terms in the year ahead. I strongly believe that we have taken key steps by introducing the complex Care for Life office concept and adjusting our offices to the current circumstances, confirmed by the newly received WELL Health-Safety Rating for our 8 projects within the region, says Katarzyna Zawodna-Bijoch, President and CEO of Skanska office development in CEE.
Skanska’s response to the pandemic
The pandemic has changed the way we work irrevocably and the home office is definitely here to stay. On the other hand, the role of offices has also evolved and grown in importance when it comes to team building, developing organizational culture, as well as values driving each and every company. In order to maintain its purposes, it is extremely important to guarantee safety and health protection in the workplace. Thus, in 2020 Skanska established several rules and adapted workplaces in Central and Eastern Europe in order to support its tenants who returned to the offices, and to create a healthy work environment. The “Care for Life Office Concept” consists of: space planning consultation and requirements to ensure proper physical distancing, touch-free solutions through the Connected by Skanska application, facility management sanitizing and disinfection plans, and office air quality management. Skanska offices offer, among others, a virtual reception using QR codes to enter the building, alongside other developments like the constant supply of fresh air and the use of high-quality air filters inside the building.
Moreover, in December 2020, eight of Skanska’s office properties in the CEE region received the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management, granted by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). It is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating for all new and existing building and facility types focusing on operational policies, maintenance protocols, stakeholder engagement, and emergency plans, designed to empower owners and operators to take the necessary steps to prioritize the health and safety of their tenants, visitors and other stakeholders.
Skanska continues its focus on sustainability
Alongside caring for the life and safety of people, Skanska also remains strongly focused on the environment and its strategic net zero-carbon targets to be achieved by the end of 2045. The objective remains the company’s top priority, which is proven by numbers – Skanska has already delivered over 800,000 sqm of LEED Core and Shell certified office space and more than 45,000 sqm of WELL Core and Shell certified space, as well as the first climate-neutral office building on Radlická Street in Prague that the company started to design last year.
Skanska has also invested in the development of innovative photovoltaic technology, and as the first developer in the world has already started a pilot project of covering office buildings with innovative perovskite cells, which allow the building's facade to become a source of electricity generated from the sun.
The company’s great commitment towards sustainable commercial development has also been recognized and proven by the prestigious Fortune magazine, which again included Skanska as the only real estate company in its top 20 "Change the world" list appreciating the most forward-looking companies.