UNITED BENEFITS HOLDING is entering the Polish real estate market: By acquiring the 16,000 square meter “Silver Forum” office building in Wroclaw, the full-service provider for real estate services is positioning itself along the entire value chain. The company plans to optimize the property with a focus on ESG standards and mobility, thus leveraging the property’s value-add potential. The core vision: a modern office complex at the gates of the historic city center. United Benefits Holding plans to redesign the facade and restructure the interior to allow for more flexibility and multiple uses. A manage-to-core strategy will be adopted to reposition the property in the marketplace as a new work property.
Michael Klement, CEO of United Benefits Holding: “We are delighted to have acquired an attractive commercial and office property in Wroclaw with the Silver Forum. Wroclaw is the third largest city in Poland. The country with the lowest recession rate in the EU – this is another factor that persuaded us to enter this market over the long term.” With its subsidiary INVESTER United Benefits as project developer, the Group aims to develop the property architecturally and with a view to fulfilling sustainability requirements, so the Group can reposition it on the market. The expansion and conversion plans provide for a variety of public areas for incentives and meetings. Healthy, sustainable restaurants will also be established here to make the Silver Forum attractive for tenants, users and the entire neighborhood. “We want to take the overall quality of experience to a new level and reduce ongoing operating costs for tenants in the long term. Our experienced subsidiary EKAZENT will handle the asset management,” says Klement.
The office building was built in 2007. The property, which covers an area of more than 9,000 square meters, has around 16,000 square meters of usable space on seven above-ground floors. The underground parking garage in the basement offers 165 parking spaces, and there are 133 more on the surrounding site. Access to the building, with its U-shaped floor plan and two distinctive glass towers, is provided from three entrances. The investments, including the Capex package, focus mainly on the facade design, creating a green facade, and other sustainability concepts. Floor space is being structured more flexibly, spatial and technical facilities are being modernized and upgraded, and the heating technology is being improved. The future floor space concept opens up connected spaces for large companies, and fully equipped flex offices and high-quality communal areas for small startups or companies that are only temporarily based in Wroclaw. United Benefits Holding is aiming for full occupancy of the property as part of repositioning it on the market. There are also plans for certifications such as LEED and BREEAM IN-USE.
Selecting a location in the EU’s sixth-largest economy
Poland is one of the most economically stable countries in the EU. With a 3.5% drop in GDP in 2020, it recorded the lowest recession rate in the EU during the coronavirus pandemic. With regard to the specific choice of location, Michael Klement remarks: “Wroclaw is now the second largest office market among Poland’s regional cities after Krakow. Up to now, however, development activity here has been relatively low, while tenant activity has been on the rise. The city is one of the most sought-after IT locations in Europe. There is clearly a demand, but high-quality options for future-proof working environments are lacking. Today, however, in the age of work-life blending, these are in high demand.” The Silver Forum is a ten-minute drive from the historic city center of Wroclaw, famous for its many World Heritage buildings and institutions. Not only is it easily reached by car, it is also very well connected to the more environmentally friendly public transport system: It takes about 20 minutes to get from the Silver Forum to the historic City Hall by streetcar lines 3, 10 and 33. These are also crucial criteria for selecting the property: The Forum is located not far from one of the most beautiful historic city centers in Poland. There are hotels and recreational facilities such as sports centers within walking distance.
Group expertise in value-add strategies
United Benefits Holding and its subsidiaries have a wealth of experience in value-add strategies, which, according to Klement, are always the result of a successful collaboration between acquisition, project development, asset management, investment management and sales. The Silver Forum is a classic value-add property with the potential to increase in value by adopting targeted measures. This is because the location and transport links are good, and the underlying fabric of the property is of high quality. In light of the current market development, the potential of value-add properties is on the rise. “We believe that the future lies in redevelopment, redensification and repositioning. We prevent properties like these from becoming stranded assets by redeveloping and repositioning them, and by applying our special ‘Manage to ESG’ expertise in existing buildings. The Group’s many years of experience enable us to take effective remedial action in complex real estate projects and develop new concepts,” explains Klement.