Nowa Huta of the Future
New Space for Krakow

We talk with PhD Artur Paszko, Chairman of the Board of Kraków Nowa Huta of the Future S.A., the company implementing the project of brownfields revitalisation in the eastern part of Krakow.

A year ago, we talked in the Property Journal about the “Kraków – Nowa Huta of the Future” project. Before we will know the new facts, let’s recall what this project is. “

“Krakow- Nowa Huta of the Future” is one of three strategic projects of Krakow, inscribed in the key document “Development Strategy of Krakow. I want to live here. Kraków 2030”, in the section “Modern economy and scientific potential”.

The key issue was to find a concept for development of almost 600 ha of brownfields and restore their social and economic functions. Such activation of the eastern part of Krakow is the aim of the project. Let me just remind you that according to the analyses, the project’s impact area is much broader than the revitalized space – it is about 5,500 ha to the east of the street lines Klasztorna and Bulwarowa in Krakow. This part of the city is characterized by existing unused areas which need revitalization and activation. Within the project, there are the following components to be implemented: Logistics and Industrial Center “Ruszcza”, Branice Science and Technology Park  (including, among others, the Economic Activity Zone), The Błonia 2.0 Open Area for Large-scale Events as well as Przylasek Rusiecki – rest-and-recreation area with auxiliary services.

We want the investments realized there to be an impulse for the development and growth of Krakow and the region. Thanks to this project, a unique, friendly place for business development will be created and residents and tourists will also find perfect conditions for rest.

The assumptions show that the project will be a functional whole. Please tell us what distinguishes  the “Kraków – Nowa Huta of the Future” project?

According to the assumptions, it will be a place of synergy of combined functions: business, science, culture and recreation. A modern, well-connected part of Krakow, providing excellent conditions for the development of innovative entrepreneurship. Contemporary city in the city. Modern and – at the same time – deriving from cultural and historical richness.

Each of the components has its own specificity and requires a separate approach. For example, in order to make the areas of the Economic Activity Zone available to entrepreneurs, it will be necessary to carry out specialized works – from demolition and earthworks as well as reconstruction of colliding power lines, to building internal communication and technical infrastructure. Until several years ago, these areas were used for industrial activities. A fragment of the designed Economic Activity Zone is located on the site of the former processing plant of slag cinder from the Kraków steelworks and within the former protection zone of the Metallurgical Combine. This area, unused for many years, was subject to continuous degradation. Currently, it is struggling with problems such as urban chaos in the area of technical infrastructure or remnants of industrial facilities. Despite these negative phenomena, thanks to the implementation of the project aimed at creating the Economic Activity Zone, it is possible to provide an attractive space for new investments in this area.

The preparation process of the Przylasek Rusiecki area will be different. Within the works, arrangement of the area was planned, construction of a system of paths, footpaths, pedestrian and bicycle routes as well as a car park. The project assumes also the creation of a sandy beach, with separated bathing areas, a beach soccer field and a festival glade. Bridges and platform for launching small boats will be also built. The whole will be completed with water equipment rental, changing rooms and sanitary facilities. Small architecture – benches, deckchairs, hammocks, beach umbrellas and erratic boulders referring to the tradition of the former gravel pit, serving also as comfortable seats will encourage different meetings . It is hard to imagine Przylasek Rusiecki without anglers, therefore piers designed for fishing stations and viewpoints are planned on the western side of the reservoir.  In the areas neighbouring  to Przylasek Rusiecki, geothermal springs have been identified, which we want to use in creating a rest and recreational resort with a geothermal bathing area, at a later stage of the project implementation.

Please tell our readers how advanced the works are?

“Kraków – Nowa Huta of the Future” project is gaining momentum. In the last twelve months, we managed to obtain funding from the European Funds for the investment in Przylasek Rusiecki in the amount of over PLN 5 million. The total value of this investment is nearly PLN 9.5 million. The company has announced a tender for a general contractor to start work in the area of water reservoir No. 1 in 2019. Moreover, by the decision of the Board of the Małopolska Voivodship, almost PLN 59 million from the Regional Operational Program of the Małopolska for 2014-2020 will be allocated for co-financing one of the most important components of the project – “Economic Activity Zone”, with the estimated total cost of PLN 85 million. We are also waiting for a decision on co-financing for “Błonia 2.0”, where space for large-scale outdoor cultural events will be created. At the same time, the company is actively seeking investors. We have already signed 24 letters of intent, 4 confidentiality agreements with entrepreneurs and we are still in talks with other interested parties. And this also means that we intensely acquire and organize real estate for their future investments. Soon their volume will exceed 150 ha.

You mentioned the “Błonia 2.0” component. We know Krakow’s Błonia, which is one of the city’s landmarks. Will the planned new site compete with this existing one?

It’s not like that. Krakow needs a space where large-scale outdoor events could take place. Błonia, which we already know, have their limitations: difficult access to the city centre, their shape and the fact that the organization of events in the centre of Krakow seriously affects communication in the city. So “Błonia 2.0” will be an alternative. The facilities included in the Center for Large Scale Cultural Events “Błonia 2.0” were designed in such a way that together with other elements of the strategic project “Krakow – Nowa Huta of the Future” will facilitate the creation of an eco- and smart district in Krakow. Therefore, “Błonia 2.0” were assumed as a safe, multimedia public space, with minimal consumption of electricity. The terrain lighting was designed on the basis of intelligently controlled solar lamp systems, and the installation of intelligent solar-powered small architecture elements – solar benches and infokiosks with charging points, wifi access and induction chargers – was also included in the project. A charging station for electric cars was designed in the parking lot, as well as a number of facilities for disabled people.

In the first phase of the project, over 18.5 ha of brownfields from the former protection zone of the Kraków steelworks are to be revitalized through, among others, construction of a small cultural facility, creation of sports and recreation infrastructure, including a multipurpose playfield, skate park, playground, lawns on the area of over 15 ha, developing greenery and installing small architecture elements, construction of technical infrastructure (water supply, sewage, electricity, gas, lighting and storm water drainage), as well as pedestrian and footpaths, pedestrian and foot-bicycle, pavements and parking sites.

Who is the main beneficiary of the project?

There is no clear answer to such question. The project “Krakow – Nowa Huta of the Future” is addressed to many groups of recipients and each of them is very important. These groups interact with each other. In terms of stimulating entrepreneurship, the project will create development opportunities for companies from the sector of micro, small and medium enterprises, especially in the so-called smart specializations, which will result in creation of jobs, thus giving benefits to the residents of Krakow and surrounding communities. Due to the development of entrepreneurship, the city will benefit from taxes that businesses will pay to the joint fund. Revitalization of degraded areas will increase the quality of life of local residents and improve the image of Krakow. Change, development and improvement of the quality of life, in this way we can define in short the goal that guides our project.

So when will we see the “Nowa Huta of the Future”?

As I have already mentioned, our project has already entered the implementation phase. We raise funds for the next stages of planned activities and continue talks with entrepreneurs and investors. The project assumes that all works will be completed and the area will start functioning in a new form by 2030. And I do believe that we will achieve these results.

Thank you for the conversation.

Thank you.