The Chwarzno-Wiczlino district opens opportunities for companies interested in collaboration on ‘15-minute city’ development.
Data collected by Investment Monitor show that the quality of life and the cost of living are closely related and correlate with the attractiveness of a given country for foreign investments. Housing options, schools, recreational and cultural amenities, and healthcare systems are all considerations, along with cost of living, transportation access, crime and safety, and climate. Added to this, when talent becomes more mobile and competitive, places tend to have a higher quality of life and this is a large part of the bigger picture for multinational companies when deciding where to undertake foreign direct investment. In Poland there is a city that meet all of these criteria, and more: Gdynia.
Located by the sea, within the Tri-City agglomeration (with Sopot and Gdansk), it offers all that helps to make that work-life balance a reality. Seaside climate, beaches, picturesque boulevards and a lot of green areas, combined with advantages of a bigger city in terms of labor market and urban infrastructure – all this have made Gdynia a top city to live in for many years.
In a 2022 report conducted by Otodom, one of the most popular property search websites, and ThinkCo, a Polish real estate think tank and research lab, Gdynia is number one in Poland. The fact that Gdynia citizens are the happiest people in Poland is also shown by the successive reports of “Social Diagnosis,” the largest, cyclical sociological survey of Poles.
The city was also recognized at the prestigious LivCom Awards, the only international rating that focuses on the quality of life. Gdynia is the only Polish city that reached the final of the 2019 conference of the best cities in terms of quality of life. In the category from 150,000 up to 400,000 inhabitants, the city took third place in the world. In the 2021 edition, the city was again on the podium in the “Environmental Sustainability Project” category.
Gdynia is the first city in Poland and this part of Europe to receive the ISO 37120 (at the highest possible, platinum level), a smart city certificate and be registered on the international open city data portal (www.dataforcities.org), where you can check the city’s position compared to global leaders.
These ratings also go hand-in-hand with investment reports, which also put quality of life high in the assessment process. According to experts of FDI Global Cities of the Future 2021/2022 ranking, Gdynia is the second of the most promising cities for foreign direct investment in developing cities around the world. Its success in the ranking is due to the high economic potential, good conditions for business development, human capital, accessibility and quality of life. The same ranking placed the entire Tri-City on a high, fifth, place among medium-sized cities, next to the capital of Bahrain, Germany’s Dusseldorf and Swiss Zurich.
“Investments that have a technology transfer component will be transferring individuals to new operations and therefore attractiveness of a location is important,” said Matt Szuhaj, Deloitte Consulting, quoted in the Investment Monitor report. Looking at the key sectors that are driving the labor market in Gdynia, they all have tech & international components.
Gdynia is a young, dynamic and fast-growing city, located at the junction of important international transport corridors, running from Scandinavia and North-Eastern Europe towards Southern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. It is also a part of the Gdańsk-Gdynia-Sopot Metropolitan Area, which is inhabited by more than 1.5 million people.
Gdynia’s economy is strongly connected to the port industry, the business services sector, as well as a large number of cultural and sports events that attract visitors all year round. This is the reason why the city is open to new investments.
Quality of public spaces
Activities aimed at improving the quality of life of residents fit perfectly into a trend that is becoming more and more popular around the world, also in Poland. Developers are eager to invest in projects that combine spaces of a diverse nature. The priority is multifunctionality and a departure from monofunctional urban structures. The newly created residential investments perfectly fit the needs of residents who care about comfort and easy access to their favorite restaurants, shops, recreational and green areas.
Gdynia is already in the process of reviving its central district, called Sea City. Areas that were hitherto excluded from the life of the city due to the activity of the port, are now creating its heart.
“We will all gain a new neighborhood that will provide space for walking, relaxation and leisure as well as a site for entertainment, amusement and business. Residents and tourists will love this district that will blend with the current center of Gdynia. What makes a city is its inhabitants, and its different areas develop only when the inhabitants of the city want to be there, invest and work there,” said Wojciech Szczurek, Mayor of Gdynia.
The project will be completed by 2026.
A 15-minute city
Another project that is inline with mix-use and the 15-minute city concept is the Chwarzno-Wiczlino district. “The district in recent years has recorded the highest population growth, which means increased demand for new services. The location of the district in close proximity to city center creates ideal conditions for development of modern buildings, constituting a development impulse for the city,” said Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała, Deputy Mayor of Gdynia.
In December 2020, Chapman Taylor, a multi-award winning practice of global architects and masterplanners, in association with NGL Advisory conducted an analysis of the optimal direction of development of communal areas in the Chwarzno-Wiczlino in the vicinity of ul. Chwarznieńska. The new space has been designed in such a way that it is compatible with the 15-minute city concept. The recommended variant included the most important commercial functions such as offices, retail, industry, backed by a land reserve for the implementation of academic functions, and a research and development center.
The local spatial plan was approved by the City Council in August 2022. It assumes the introduction of buildings for various purposes – offices, trade, gastronomy, production, university campus, health services, including elderly/aging services, cultural services, sports services and recreation. The total area of the new district is approximately 61 ha and for commercial purposes approx. 33 ha.
“The site has strategic importance for the spatial and economic development of the city. We are looking for investors from service-related sectors, like college campus, health care for the elderly with accommodation, offices, commercial, production with the use of advanced technologies and excluding burdensome functions,” said Spychała.
“The world is changing at a dizzying pace. However, some things will not change. People will always want to live well, develop their professional passions and individual interests, spend time with family and friends or live in a clean, green and friendly place. You have it all in Gdynia,” Szczurek concluded.
Chwarzno-Wiczlino has been designed in such a way that it is compatible with the 15-minute city concept. It is open for commercial functions such as offices, retail, industry, backed by a land reserve for the implementation of academic functions, and a research and development center.