High streets of Katowice analyzed by experts

BNP Paribas Real Estate and Polish Council of Shopping Centers released a report on high streets in Poland taking into account eight largest cities including Katowice. „The High Streets: analysis, strategy, potential” shows the potential of these kind of commercial spaces, however it also points out weaknesses which have to be improved.

© BNP Paribas Real Estate, Polish Council of Shopping Centers; high streets and potential high streets in Katowice
© BNP Paribas Real Estate, Polish Council of Shopping Centers; high streets and potential high streets in Katowice

The report was prepared on the basis of own databases of the authors, telephone interviews, as well as publicly accessible Internet resources, data obtained during viewings in the cities analyzed, surveys addressed to the representatives of city halls and consumer surveys. The 200 surveys was carried out between 1st and 16th of April 2014 by means of individual Internet interviews.

It follows from the survey carried out among the residents of Katowice that they consider the main high streets to be 3 Maja, Stawowa, Staromiejska and Mickiewicza, where 3 Maja is in a clear lead in terms of being a shopping destination. The findings say that nearly 5% of respondents are of the opinion that there is no high street in the City, while another 5% named other streets such as Mariacka and Korfantego Av., which the authors of the report identified as potential high streets.

According to the report, there are 25 650 sq. meters of estimated gross leasable space on the main streets in Katowice. The average rent in publicly-owned commercial premises amounts to PLN 38/sq.m/month, while the rent is between PLN 80 and 90/sq.m/month in private-owned commercial units. The highest registered rent in private premises total PLN 170/sq.m/month. It is estimated that the vacancy ratio on the high streets amounts to 9% of total number, while for the shopping centers this ratio is slightly higher – at 10%.

The tenant-mix on Katowice’s high streets stands out against the other cities as retail units offering clothing, footwear and underwear have the strongest presence. This is where the shopping preferences for the above retail categories come from. Services represent a 20% market share for high streets and a 15% for shopping centers, while the specialist and other category, which has a strong presence on the city’s streets, is also noticeable.

The main areas identified by Katowice City Hall for the purpose of restoration of the center include the following streets: Korfantego, 3 Maja, Warszawska, Dworcowa, Staromiejska, Mielęckiego, Mariacka, Mickiewicza, Piotra Skargi and Synagogi Sq., as well as the development of a new square and street layout in between the existing buildings of the northern frontage of Rynek, Piotra Skargi and the planned extension of Moniuszki.

© BNP Paribas Real Estate, Polish Council of Shopping Centers; high streets and potential high streets in Katowice
© BNP Paribas Real Estate, Polish Council of Shopping Centers; high streets in Katowice

According to the City Hall’s representatives quoted in the report, the transformation process for the City center is to be instigated by projects playing the role of catalysts for further improvements of high streets development. This should be achieved by: strategic investments within the areas formerly occupied by the „Katowice” coal mine (the cultural district), restoration of the principal public spaces, the Katowice Transport Node, integration of the University of Silesia campus within the center, as well as commercial projects within the Market Sq. – Roundabout area, which are to attract new retail brands so far missing from Katowice. These include the ongoing revitalization and conversion of the Supersam shopping center, modernization of the „Zenit” merchant house, as well as construction of a new, multi-purpose facility on the site of the old Silesia hotel. Additionally, plans are in place for restoration of the Old Railway Station building. An example of an already completed project is the new facility constructed in conjunction with the modernized main Polish State Railway’s railway station, i.e. Galeria Katowicka.

The City’s authorities are of the opinion that measures supporting implementation of the strategy include step-by-step refurbishment of roads and pavements that result in improved aesthetics and functionality of the city’s streets, modernization of elevations and top-to-bottom refurbishment of tenement houses owned by the municipality along with changing the designation for the finished premises. The rental policy for commercial premises is set out under the Regulation of the Mayor of the City of Katowice and it covers all aspects of leasing of commercial premises from the supply held by the municipality.

The obstacles and restrictions in terms of implementation of the adopted strategy are, similarly to other cities, the highly inconsistent ownership structure within any single street, disparate technical condition of the properties and the technical and financial restrictions in respect of modernization of street frontage buildings.

To summarize, the public spaces in the center of Katowice do not form a homogeneous system. There is no clear definition of what role is to be played by each individual location (e.g. the dominant feature of Market Sq., i.e. transport, is in conflict with the envisaged venue for cultural events and social gatherings); additionally the transparency and functionality of pedestrian and cycling connections leaves much to be desired, both in the City center and going out toward the surrounding areas, according to the report’s authors.

The City of Katowice endeavours to influence the shaping of the service and retail zone through establishing local revitalization areas and allocating specific functions to them (Mariacka, the City core). Furthermore, selection of new tenants for vacant premises is effected based on service and retail needs identified in respect of the given area. Additionally, legal solutions effected under the local law enable the so-called vanishing services to be retained on preferential rental terms.

The process of making the streets more attractive is taking place through organization in collaboration with local business of events such as bazaars, markets and fairs supported by cultural and entertainment performances. The streets are being given individual style and character through application of lighting for buildings and streets, as well as provision of townscaping features that are to attract the City’s residents.

© BNP Paribas Real Estate, Polish Council of Shopping Centers; high streets and potential high streets in Katowice
© BNP Paribas Real Estate, Polish Council of Shopping Centers; high streets in Katowice

text based on the report of BNP Paribas Real Estate and Polish Council of Shopping Center