Since the opening of the Przylasek Rusiecki swimming and recreation area, the slogan “Nowa Huta of the Future” has become much more tangible. In the coming days, another measurable effect of the work so far will be put into use.

Artur Paszko: Works on reservoir No. 1 in Przylasek Rusiecki have been completed, now we are implementing two subzones of the Economic Activity Zone. One of them will be commissioned on December 1, the other in the middle of next year. It is more challenging to prepare an investment than to implement it. Completing all the documentation, unfortunately, takes a very long time and it is impossible to skip this stage. We operate in an area that has a very complicated structure of real estate ownership, and we have to buy these real estates in order to be able to build there anything. We also need to obtain financing for the implementation of the project from the European Funds, and here, too, the process is lengthy. When all these elements are put together, you can start investing.

Now you can see its effects. And what did these places look like before Kraków Nowa Huta Przyszłości S.A. took care of them?

In the past, various departments of the steelworks functioned there. We wondered what to do with the areas that were most degraded by industrial activity. Those where it was not possible to find an investor, because the initial costs completely exceed small and medium-sized enterprises, and we care about them the most. That’s why we chose the areas that required the most serious intervention. This is the area of ​​the former lump slag mill on the southern side of Igołomska Street, as well as the second area, on the northern side, which was used for processing both slag and scrap. These areas were completely degraded, and what was left of them were, for example, warehouses for explosives, a huge crane overpass.

The first area will be commissioned in December. What work had to be done there?

First of all, we cleared the area of ​​the remains of the former industrial plant. We have removed all collisions with networks, including high-voltage networks. We reconstructed power stations, and then brought all media to this area – water, electricity, sewage system, built a rainwater drainage system, built roads, car parks, bicycle paths – everything that is necessary to communicate this area. We have also created a kind of mini-parks to provide employees with the possibility of recreation. We want to create a user-friendly area. We planted many more trees than we had to cut down for the investment, the same concerns shrubs.

As you say, at this moment this place looks a bit like a huge bicycle town, just a flat terrain with a road system.

Yes, we are in such an unusual situation that most of the effects of our work, both those related to organizing and introducing new infrastructure, are hidden underground. We invested about PLN 2.8 million in each hectare, and for a person looking from the outside, it is only a level area with mowed grass and roads. But what we have created here presents only the potential. The whole area has been divided into ready investment plots, in such a way that each one even has its own ready entrance. Thus, we have solved many possible problems that potential investors interested in this place could have. Now, each of them can just come, apply for a building permit and build.

What do we know at this stage about the plans to develop this area with investments?

We are open to all small and medium-sized entrepreneurs who run production or service activities, but without wholesale trade. Each of them will surely find a suitable product here – not only in terms of the land itself, but also in terms of the form of commercialization. We do not impose whether he should buy, lease or lease the plot – we are very flexible. This flexibility results from the fact that our main goal is not to make a profit, but to attract and introduce entrepreneurs there, create good opportunities for action. Of course, each of these commercializations will be carried out according to transparent procedures.

Let’s talk more about it. How these areas will be transferred to investors?

Required tenders will be held, but before any such procedure, we sit down with potential investors and determine what interests them, what they can afford, what they would like to do there. So the terms of the tender are each time adjusted to the specifics of the group of investors we talk to. It is often the case that we give entrepreneurs time, e.g. to prepare an environmental decision. We have experience, because we have already introduced many of these entrepreneurs in the “Branice” Science and Technology Park and it will be similar in the Economic Activity Zone. We have an interesting product for entrepreneurs – also for those who are now concerned about the development of their business in the planned New City.

Will the zone on the north side of ul. Igołomska differ- in its specificity – from the one handed over in December?

No, it will work on the same principle. Strictly speaking, it is also ready, but we are still waiting for the water to be connected so we cannot put it into service yet. There are some differences, but they concern details – for example, on the north side we have a charging station for electric cars or solar benches. Both zones have a Wi-Fi network – not only so that each user can use the Internet, but it is also prepared for the installation of sensors, which will inform us, for example, about traffic or other potential threats. This space is supposed to be smart.

How can such investments as the finishing reconstruction of ul. Igołomska, the construction of the S7 road, the earlier reconstruction of the tram track will affect, in your opinion, the functioning of the zones?

This is absolutely fundamental for us. We believe that the area of ​​the “Kraków – Nowa Huta of the Future” project is perfectly communicated. We are looking forward to the opening of ul. Igołomska, because some of our investors are currently unable to start their investments, as they will not be able to obtain certain decisions without a dedicated road. But that’s a close perspective. Right next to it, we also have the S7 junction, which on the one hand gives a connection to the A4 motorway, and on the other hand – the emerging connection towards Warsaw. On the opposite side, we have a railway in which we also see great potential. The eastern border of the area is the railway line No. 95, i.e. the so-called large bypass. As part of the stop program, a stop will be created in Przylasek Rusiecki, which will completely change the traffic situation, especially in the summer season, as well as a stop in Kościelniki, exactly in the axis of Igołomska Street. This already opens us to large flows of passengers, both from outside Krakow and from the city center. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the city center from this stop.

There is also an ambitious plan for a tram line. Do you think it’s real?

Currently, we have seven regular bus lines, which are sufficient for the current traffic, and a tram that goes to the terminus in Pleszów. The local plan assumes the transition of this tram to the south and its extension to ul. Rzepakowa, but we would like this line not to end at Rzepakowa in the new study, but to reach the railway station in Kościelniki. Implementation of such a plan would be a complete revolution. Let us remember that in this area, which is currently peripheral to the city center, the local plan also provides for large areas for housing development. They are located relatively close to the loop in Pleszów, but the next buildings are too far away. So it’s important that we work on these public transport plans now. Today, the offer may be enough, but you need to act in advance and not wait until the whole area is filled and problems arise

We are talking in front of a banner that shows the entire list of projects planned for Nowa Huta of the Future. So I’m asking about the whole endeavour. What are the company’s future plans?

Let’s go through the whole project then. The first component is the Recreation and Leisure Center “Przylasek Rusiecki”. One task, i.e. the development of the surroundings of reservoir No. 1, is completed. The second task is the construction of the “Branice” Educational Park where an open-air museum and one new exhibition building will be built there. We have full documentation, we are waiting for a building permit. The case was prolonged because we were also ordered to prepare the reconstruction of a large part of the road system. We have most of the historical buildings identified and will be moving them gradually, but before they can be repositioned, we need to arm the entire area. The next task in this area is the Geothermal Center. We acquired real estate and are applying for co-financing for a geothermal well, because it costs at least PLN 12 million. If the well confirms the presence of thermal waters, we will look for a business partner to create a recreation center.

But Przylasek Rusiecki is still only the first of four components.

Another such component is the Center for Large-Scale Outdoor Cultural Events “Błonia 2.0”. It is an interesting area, cut into small plots, some of which have many owners, but we have already managed to buy 60 percent of this area and we are ready to implement the first stage. We have funding – the problem is that the deadline for implementation is only until the end of next year. It is not much time, especially since we had to cancel the first tender due to the over budget. To be able to start, we would need the consent of the marshal’s office to divide the project into stages, the second of which would be financed from the next EU perspective. We have submitted the application and we are waiting for decision. If it is positive, we will be able to announce a second tender and implement the first part – but this is enough to organize any music festival here.

Further north is the “Branice” Science and Technology Park, about which we have already talked a lot.

In addition to the Economic Activity Zones, there is an area that we are gradually buying, and part of it is being bought by private investors. We do not disturb them, we even cooperate with some of them. What we buy and organize, we direct to investors – we already have three introduced. Currently, 4.5 hectares still await commercialization.

The “Ruszcza” Logistics and Industrial Center remains.

This is the most interesting area from the point of view of large enterprises. In its part, there used to be a heap of blast furnace slag. It has been dismantled, parts are managed by a construction waste processing company – it all looks a bit as if we landed on some alien planet. The second part is the area of ​​the former protection zone, used mainly for agriculture. While in the first case we have one perpetual usufructuary and we are at the end of negotiations regarding the purchase of this land, in the second case we again have tiny plots of land and we are trying to acquire them step by step. Post-industrial areas are specific when it comes to development – each investor will think ten times before taking a decision. So we must be fully clear about the condition of the environment, and if the areas are polluted, what will be the costs of remediation. There are a lot of formalities involved.

How much time is needed to achieve all these goals?

If we look at the dynamics of our activities, both in the field of real estate and investments, I believe that the perspective outlined in the development strategy for Krakow, i.e. 2030, is quite realistic to complete the real estate part of our project. This does not mean that we will purchase the entire area, because there is no such need – we operate where investors will not go themselves, and in other areas we can support them. For example, the infrastructure that we bring to the Economic Activity Zone will also be able to be used by entrepreneurs operating outside it, and thus the entire area becomes more attractive. And if the plans related to the construction of railway stops or, in the future, a tram line actually come true, then I have no worries about the success of the whole project. But all this requires our active action, obtaining funds, consulting program documents and planning well in advance.