You’re originally from Warwickshire in the UK. How did you find your way to Poland and how long have you been here?Originally through my career in music, I was playing internationally for around 5 years before visiting Sopot and Warsaw in 2001. I fell in love with Poland straight away and ending up moving across a year later and eventually settled in Gdansk.
What do you do in Poland?A lot! I still carry on part time with music but now I am involved in Corporate real estate, having gone through a few different roles, of course English teaching appeared at some point, as did events and marketing and mentoring start-ups. I work for the Olivia Business Centre the largest and most modern business centre in northern Poland. So far we have completed over 150,000 sqm. of a planned 230,000 sqm. of modern offices in a series of buildings including Olivia Gate, Olivia Point, Olivia Tower, Olivia Four, Olivia Six, Prime A and the centerpiece 34-storey Olivia Star. We have over 200 companies so far including Allianz, Amazon, Bayer, Energa, Epam Systems, PwC, Sii and ThyssenKrupp, as well as Polish companies from the sector of small and medium enterprises and startups.
What do you think of the city as a place to live and work and how do you see the future?I have seen Gdansk go from strength to strength over the last 16 years, it’s been a huge development, especially within the last 5. As part of my role at Olivia Business Centre, I sell Gdansk as a location for investors to setup operations. A huge part of that is to explain what makes it so attractive for people and that’s the quality of life. It’s pretty straightforward, you have the beaches and the forests and then behind, the lakes, so all the outdoors activities you could possibly want. Now we have a lot of younger folks coming back from working and living abroad who are entrepreneurial and are opening more entertainment venues plus the huge growth of international tourism, so now the demand is there for more variety, the future looks very bright.
Gdańsk is a great place both for running a business and for living. However, it needs new spaces in which people and companies will creatively develop their potential on a global scale. At present, around 8,500 people work at the Olivia Business Center. We want educated young people from all over Poland to continue their careers in Gdansk.
Which places do you like to visit and which places do you like to take your guests, professional and private, when they visit you here?I live in the Old Town, so that’s the natural choice, I often accompany investors on visits and its essential to show them the whole agglomeration if time allows. Gdansk has some very interesting museums, not least the European Solidarity Centre and the Museum of the Second World War. I’ve been a regular visitor to Prologue and Mon Balzac since they first opened while I am a great fan of the burgers at Original Burger and the Whiskey Sour at Craft Cocktails. Closer to the office, I’m a big fan of Ryz, which is one of the best restaurants in the region in my opinion. My wife’s family are from Gdynia and so we have family and a lot of friends there, it has a vibe of its own and a good gastro scene has been forming there these last couple of years. A recent favourite is Neon for their Pad Thai. I also visit Sopot from time to time for a change or if there is dancing on the agenda or if there is something special happening. One of my favourite spots is Fidel for their rum. On weekends, we travel to the lakes with friends or I get over to the peninsula in my camper van and go windsurfing or paddle boarding – it’s only the weather that dictates but there is a lot of options.
The development of OBC is one of the most visible signs of how Gdansk has grown and changed in recent years. And it’s still growing isn’t it? What are the plans for 2019 and beyond?It is, it’s a good barometer, and as I don’t see many signs of slow down for Gdansk, so shall we continue with our growth. We deliver a building almost every year and then we wait to see what will come next, we have to be mindful of the market whenever we commence a new addition. I would say that we are half way with the project in terms of area but now we are not only delivering offices but a winter garden for all year-round wellbeing for our residents and guests and of course more and more restaurants and entertainment venues, we have a lot planned for 2019 and 2020! Just in 2019 there are plans to open the region’s highest viewing platform at the top of our Olivia Star building and we’re hoping to be able to officially announce a partnership with one of Europe’s top, Michelin star chefs for the planned restaurant and bistro we are creating at the top of Olivia Star. There’s a lot going on and Gdansk continues to grow and flourish with Olivia Business Centre, a key element in delivering that growth and development.
ABOUT JAKE JEPHCOTT
Jake Jephcott is the Director of Business Development at the Olivia Business Centre in the Oliwa district of Gdansk. If you are interested in learning more about Gdansk and Olivia Business Centre as a place for your business, Jake can be reached at OBC, Olivia Star (3rd floor), al. Grunwaldzka 472C, 80-309 Gdańsk, via mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +48 58 739 61 00.