Norblin Factory Gains Momentum
Norblin Factory Gains Momentum
The Capital Park Group has completed the revitalisation of the Norblin Factory, the flagship project which has regained its presence on the map of Warsaw after several years of intensive design, construction and conservation work. The complex was granted an occupancy permit at the end of August 2021. The site at Żelazna Street has a history spanning more than two centuries when it has served a number of different functions. Reopening for the city, it boasts historical buildings integrated with modern architecture. The multifunctional project has a total area of over 65 thousand square metres. Its office space has already been fully leased. Visitors to the Norblin Factory can enjoy cultural, entertainment and dining concepts including the original KinoGram cinema, the Bio Bazar organic market, and the capital city’s largest food court Food Town.
A LOCATION REDISCOVERED
The revitalisation of the former Norblin, Buch Brothers and T. Werner factory began in 2008 when the two-hectare post-industrial site located at the junction of Żelazna, Łucka and Prosta streets was acquired by the Capital Park Group. Bringing the post-factory complex back to life turned out to be an extremely demanding and complicated process both during design and construction. The first phase of the investment project involved preparatory work including concept development in accordance with conservation guidelines, compiling necessary documentation and obtaining required permits. It was followed by four years of construction and revitalisation work involving at times as many as 1000 employees and over 100 conservators. The investment project has restored the former factory buildings to their former glory. On top of them, eight-storey modern office space was built in an industrial style. The Norblin Factory offers over 65,000 sq.m. of usable area with state-of-the-art A+ class offices taking up 41,000 sq.m. of space and the remaining 24,000 sq.m. filled with entertainment, culture, food, service and retail concepts. There are two main alleys in the complex, named after Ludwik Norblin and Teodor Werner, accessible 24/7. The office space has already been fully leased, as has more than 65 per cent of the entertainment, food, culture and retail space. The architecture of the Norblin Factory was designed by the studio PRC Architekci. The general contractor of the investment was Warbud SA working in co-operation among others with Soletanche Polska, Maat4, and TKT Engineering. Monument Service was responsible for the conservation of historical buildings. Bank lending was provided for the investment project by Bank Pekao SA (EUR 99.3 million) and the European Investment Bank (EUR 60 million); combined with the Capital Park Group’s own funds, it paid for the construction costs.
“The completion of the revitalisation of the Norblin Factory is a most important and emotional moment for our whole team. After years filled with challenges, difficult decisions and great efforts put into the project, I am proud to say that it was really worth it. I am happy to see day after day how the former Norblin and Werner factory once again turns into a vibrant part of the city. On behalf of the Capital Park Group, I would like to thank all the companies and individuals involved in this long-time demanding revitalisation process. With our joint efforts, we have managed to recover the former factory site and preserve its key features: a unique atmosphere and vivid history palpable in every nook and cranny of the place,” said Kinga Nowakowska, Member of the Management Board and Chief Operating Officer of the Capital Park Group responsible for the revitalisation of the Norblin Factory.
“When visiting the Norblin Factory, although it has been given a new function, it is impossible not to come across elements reminiscent of the original factory past of the area. Buildings, machines, trolleys and huge press remind of the heritage of this place. It is also worth noting that although originally there was no greenery here, the investor took care of one that, on the one hand, will enjoy and, on the other hand, will not obscure the restored monuments. It is equally important to us that the works will not end at the plot boundary. We have received the investor's assurance that during the renovation of Łucka Street, at our request, over a hundred-year-old pavement discovered during the works will be recreated on its part. We can only hope that the times when we will spend time in noisy places without risk will come as soon as possible” - says Krzysztof Strzałkowski, mayor of the Wola district.
The Norblin Factory complex is equipped with a dedicated modern building application which offers three levels of access for visitors, office tenants, and suppliers. Visitors to the complex can use the solution to pay less for a parking space and buy cinema tickets. Office workers use the application to gain access to specific parts of the building from the moment they enter the car park up to the entrance to the office. Suppliers arriving with deliveries at the facility can book a parking space in the delivery zone. The application is available for download free of charge. Further modules and functionalities will be added to the app later.
The Norblin Factory project was a multi-stage process involving extremely complex underground, installation, construction, conservation and restoration works. Nine historic buildings and nearly 50 machines have been revitalised (42 pieces of equipment are listed in the register of historical monuments) which make up the technological line of the former Walcownia Metali Warszawa (Warsaw Metal Rolling Mill), including a historic 1000T hydraulic press weighing 50 tonnes.
Spectacular construction operations took place during the revitalisation at three historic buildings. The extremely rare relocation of one of the historic buildings was in the spotlight. Weighing 900 tonnes, the relic of the Edward Luckfield factory house was moved by 15 metres as underground work had to be carried out. After five months, the historic building was returned to its original location. Another interesting construction process was the suspension of two historic buildings: a former mechanical laboratory and a 19th century hardening shop, which together weighed 750 tonnes. The suspension of the buildings, which lasted for 11 months, was necessary to attach the old walls of the buildings to the new floor slab. The total cost of all works on the Norblin Factory historic buildings was over PLN 87 million.
Historical machines and silver-plated objects, which have been restored with great care and are works of applied art, are displayed for visitors at the Norblin Factory Museum which will soon offer four routes: People, Architecture & Buildings, Machines & Devices, and Products. Each route will be available in three options: Family, Tourist, and Expert. The museum concept is unusual in that the artefacts are located throughout the complex and thus integrated into the life of the modern city.
A FACTORY OF CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT AND FOOD
An original offer with unique culture, entertainment and food concepts, atmospheric spaces and ever-present history of the site which one can literally touch: the Norblin Factory is multifunctional on a large scale. The complex includes a unique boutique cinema, KinoGram (3,300 sq.m.), which offers seven cosy screening rooms sitting a total of 525 people. The cinema halls are equipped with quality technology, stylish velvet sofas, armchairs, and wooden tables. KinoGram is also the seat of the Polish Directors’ Guild which provides expert support. The cinema displays an original Oscar statuette from the composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, and it features the Flow Art House art gallery. Fans of healthy unprocessed food will relish a broad offer of Bio Bazar (2,000 sq.m.), Poland’s first market with certified organic products, which makes a come-back to the post-factory location after several years. The Norblin Factory is also home to Warsaw’s largest restaurant zone, Food Town, which comprises as many as five historic halls and 23 restaurant concepts serving dishes from all over the world. Overall, the Norblin food hall offers 3,200 sq.m. of space. One of the five halls is dedicated to culture and entertainment events. The complex also features an atmospheric Piano Bar located in one of the oldest buildings dating back to the days of the first owner of the location, Franciszek Ryx, the butler of the last king of Poland. The three levels of the historic building are filled with live music. Buqiet florist’s, a YES jewellery store, and Alkohole Świata shops have already opened in the Norblin Factory. In December, the Tashka publishing house, which is also the operator of the Norblin Factory Museum, will open its doors, as will the craft beer bar UWAGA Piwo and the Sirene Eyewear optician’s.
Opening at the Norblin Factory next year are the Apple Polska Museum (320 sq.m.) as well as Poland’s first fully digital art gallery, ART BOX Experience (800 sq.m.). Additional restaurants will open, including Soul Food, the Paradiso, as well as Blue Cactus which reopens after a hiatus of several years. A modern fitness club operated by Orange Fitness (410 sq.m.) will open in the first quarter of 2022 and the newonce.media Group will move to its new home in the Verit building. A SuperPharm drugstore and pharmacy and a dental centre of the Medicover Stomatologia chain will be available at Żelazna Street.
The office space of the Norblin Factory is home, among others, to Allegro (24,000 sq.m.), the Global Business Services Centre of Japan Tobacco International (8,500 sq.m.), the Scandinavian financial service provider SEB Bank (3,300 sq.m.), and the facility management service provider ISS World Services Poland (4,000 sq.m.), Mount TFI – (375 sq.m.), City Office – (almost 380 sq.m.).
A second original coworking zone of the Capital Park Group, Bee Creative, will open in the Plater building in the second quarter of 2022. A space of 1,000 sq.m. will offer open workstations, office rooms and conference rooms.
LONG LIVE ART!
Culture and art are inextricably linked with the history of the Żelazna complex, hinting at the factory’s original owners’ passion for art and their philanthropic engagement. A tribute to the Norblins’ cultural legacy, the Norblin Factory Foundation promotes young talented artists as a patron of arts. The Foundation supports various branches of art including film, music and design, and organises initiatives with the participation of prominent figures of the Polish art scene. The Foundation’s flagship project is the scholarship programme Music MasterClassfeaturing the Masters: Natalia Przybysz, Hania Rani, Adam Sztaba, Marek Napiórkowski, Kuba Badach, Andrzej Smolik and Piotr Metz, as well as the Mentors: Radek Łukasiewicz – lyrics, Gabi Drzewiecka – media relations; Kamila Polit – art coaching, Maciej Ślusarek, Esq. – copyright law, Wojciech Olszak – production.
The Foundation has worked with the Warsaw Academy of Fine Art during the “A nuż widelec” competition for posters showcasing products of the former factory, as well as the “O(d)twórz drzwi” initiative, where a team of students and graduates of the Academy’s Graphic Arts and Painting Department headed by Jan Mioduszewski, PhD, and Marcin Władyka, PhD, created an art reinterpretation of eight pairs of doors from the former factory.
Historic trolleys used on the rails which have also been preserved are on display the Norblin Factory space. In cooperation with the School of Form, the trolleys have been given a new life as benches and bases for display cases with silver-plated objects. The revitalised post-factory space also features historic doors of the former factory, turned into a unique art installation by students and graduates of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.
The Norblin Factory displays three works by outstanding Polish artists. On the outside wall of the historic building at the junction of Żelazna and Prosta streets, spanning an area of 90 sq.m., is a mural based on the 2009 painting “Norblin Factory” by Edward Dwurnik. The other two paintings are located inside the complex. A painting by Pola Dwurnik welcomes visitors to the Norblin Factory Museum. A mural by Tytus Brzozowski, referencing the complex as a location open to the city, is placed on a wall by the main exit from the car park.
ENVIRONMENT IS PART OF OUR DNA
The Capital Park Group’a flagship investment project was implemented with respect for the environment from its very beginning. It is pre-certified in the BREEAM system and rated Very Good. Due to the historic quality of the site and in the absence of vegetation, the project necessitated tailored solutions meeting the unique requirements for a historic site. As a result, 106 trees between 4 and 10 metres high have been planted in special pots placed in the ceiling of the underground car park at the Norblin Factory. What makes the Norblin Factory truly special is its preference for environmental transportation including Poland’s first automatic bicycle parking with 95 spaces. Fans of two-wheelers will have access to the extremely convenient solution as early as next spring. With bike enthusiasts in mind, the investor has also placed outdoors bicycle racks at the complex. Apart from an automatic public car park, the Norblin Factory also offers 200 bicycle spaces dedicated to office employees. A four-level underground car park with 720 parking spaces is available for those users of the complex who prefer to drive.
- PRC Architekci – Norblin Factory architects
- Warbud SA – main contractor
- Soletanche Polska – contract partner (specialised foundation)
- Maat4 – contract partner (design and installation)
- TKT Engineering – contract partner (sanitary and mechanical systems)
- Monument Service – contract partner (conservation and restoration of historical buildings and machinery)
- Pekao SA – EUR 99.3 million
- European Investment Bank – EUR 60 million
Norblin Factory in numbers:
- 2 ha of land
- 200 years of history
- 9 buildings entered in the historic register and 1 historic building
- close to 50 restored machines of the former Warsaw Metal Rolling Mill (including 42 machines listed in the historic register)
- 44 m in height from the ground
- close to 40 m deep
- 8 floors of modern superstructure
- over 65,000 sq.m. of total floor area
- 41,000 sq.m. of state-of-the-art office space
- 24,000 sq.m. of entertainment, culture, food and retail space
- PLN 87 million invested in conservation and renovation work
- 1 operation of moving a 900-tonne historic building
- 2 operations of suspension of historic buildings totalling 750 tonnes in weight
- 850 tonnes of historical machines
- 95 public spaces in an automatic bicycle parking facility
- 200 bicycle spaces for office workers
Capital Park Group is a recognized public real estate investment company with extensive experience on the Polish market listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange since December 2013. The Group has built a prime quality real estate portfolio consisting of modern class A office and retail assets, including Royal Wilanów, and is currently developing a flagship revitalisation project – Norblin Factory in central Warsaw. The Group manages a portfolio of properties with a total area of 213,000 sqm and a market value of PLN 1,8 bn, of which 79% are properties located in Warsaw – the most promising commercial real estate market in Central and Eastern Europe.