With around 762,000 inhabitants, and almost 166,000 students, Kraków is the second most influential and dynamic business centre in Poland, boasting a strong economy driven by knowledge and innovation. The economic significance of the city is strengthened by the demographics of the region (approximately nine million people living within a 100 km radius) and the excellent connectivity offered by international E-roads (E77, E40), Kraków–Balice international airport (the second largest in Poland) and an extensive railway network (Warsaw can be reached by train in under two and a half hours).
The city is the undisputable leader in terms of number of companies and employment in the business services sector in both Poland and the whole of the CEE. It is ranked globally as the ninth best investment location for the sector in „2016 Top Outsourcing Destinations” by Tholons.
Due to this, a number of organizations and chambers of commerce are present in Kraków (e.g. ABSL, ASPIRE, the American Chamber of Commerce, the British Polish Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and Nordichouse).
Kraków is the second largest educational centre in Poland, with a number of internationally renowned higher education institutions, including the Jagiellonian University, the oldest university in Poland, and the AGH University of Science and Technology. Important pull factors which attract investors to the city include the existence of the numerous industry-oriented research units and the business and science clusters with a focus on biotechnology, IT, and research and development.
Examples of the major infrastructural improvements in Kraków over the past few years include the expansion of the passenger terminal in Balice (now with a potential capacity of almost eight million passengers per year), the opening of the Kraków–Balice railway - a part of the Fast Railway System underway (Kraków city centre is now accessible in just 17 minutes), and the construction of a network of four ring roads (which is an on-going process).
Due to its historical and cultural heritage Kraków has been listed by UNESCO as one of the most attractive locations in the world and honoured with the titles of European City of Culture (in the year 2000), and UNESCO City of Literature (in 2013). The city’s high profile events and extensive cultural and leisure attractions draw more than nine million tourists every year. With the opening of ICE Kraków Congress Centre (36,000 m² of conference space) and TAURON Arena Kraków (the biggest arena in Poland and one of the most modern entertainment and sports venues in the world), Kraków is also strengthening its position as an important European destination for MICE*.
With 736,500 m2 of modern office space, Kraków has grown into the largest regional office market in Poland outside of Warsaw.
On the back of the robust development activity, the 1 million m2 threshold should be crossed by 2018.
Some 183,000 m2 of highest quality office space is currently under construction, a level precisely corresponding to that in Madrid. The developement of further 85,000 m2 is likely to be started in 2016, which will come on stream by the end of 2017. Thus an unprecedented amount of space will arrive to Kraków over the course of 2016 and 2017: 117,000 m2 and 127,000 m2 respectively. Around one third of the under construction office stock is already secured by pre-let agreements, which is typical for low-vacancy environment.
The new supply will predominantly be developed outside the strict city centre, in the form of extensions to existing office parks (e.g. Bonarka for Business, DOT Office, Enterprise Park, Jasnogórska) and in new office complexes (e.g. Equal, O3 Business Campus, CH2M Center).