Sometimes an investment can change the character of the whole village or set a new direction for its development. This is certainly the case with Marina Royale apartment complex. The characteristic white structure of the first finished building, visible from a distance, located literally a step from the sea, becomes a new symbol of Darłówek. But Marina Royale is only part of a larger whole – an ambitious project by Baltica Royale Darłowo. The project shows that POC Partners, a Belgian developer experienced in similar seaside investments, wants to be associated with Darłówek for a long time, believing in its huge tourist potential.
The experience of POC Partners in seaside investments comes from many apartment projects in the Belgian town of Knokke on the North Sea and in Ostend. 50 years ago Knokke was still a small summer resort. It is now a favorite vacation destination not only for Belgians, and the undisputed summer capital of Belgium.
The first apartment buildings that were constructed in Knokke half a century ago set off a chain reaction. The result is a top European destination, capable of hosting tens of thousands of visitors during the holiday season, and offering comfortable leisure conditions.
According to Peter Taffeiren, the president of POC Partners and one of the company’s shareholders, Darłówko and Darłowo have a similar potential. Hence the decision to invest in this place.
A great project kick off
The Belgians acquired a neglected post-military area bordering the Darłowo harbor. They decided that it would be a perfect location for their first investment, Marina Royale. The promotional slogan “Closer to the sea is just the sea” is not an exaggeration in this case. Right now, looking at the first completed building, we can see that its balconies literally hang above the water. It is indeed difficult to be closer to the sea.
Marina Royale is designed as a property that includes three buildings, the first of which – named Ultra Mar – put into operation at the end of this summer. It consists of 61 apartments of different size, the Lido Restaurant on the ground floor and a two-level garage hall accessed by car lifts.
The apartments offer in the second building, Vista Mar, is already available. The beginning of its implementation is planned for the end of this year. Customers have over 130 apartments to choose from. Their surface area is from 28 to 130 square meters. There will be modules that can be combined, so the maximum area of one apartment is difficult to determine and will depend only on the decision of the buyers.
Vista Mar will be a bit lower than Ultra Mar and slightly offset from the shoreline. A public promenade will be built between the sea and the façade of the building. It has already been named the Sunset Boulevard. On the ground floor of the Vista Mar building, whose side wings create something like a courtyard, there will be a SPA zone: Aqua Regina Baltic SPA & Wellness, Dall ‘Uovo Restaurant, OOST Pub, Strand cafeteria and Kaczuszki Kids Club. The courtyard will be decorated with a small pool and some greenery.
Both the Lido Restaurant in the first building and other dining options in the second one will be available to external guests, not exclusively to the residents and guests of the property.
The residents of particular buildings will establish housing communities. This does not mean that the developer will no longer be involved in the management process after selling the last apartments. In order to maintain the quality service of the restaurants and SPA facilities, the developer will be responsible for their management. Dorota Kotarska, who sells apartments at POC Partners, emphasizes: “We want the whole offer to be consistent in quality. We do realize that if we lease one of the facilities, we will lose control of what it offers. Meanwhile, dining and other amenities will have a strong impact on the BALTICA ROYALE RESORT image.
Not only apartments
The developer sees the estate as a part of the whole surrounding neighborhood. It will not be closed, which means there will be no fencing separating the Marina Royale property from its neighbors and surroundings. On the contrary, the Ultra Mar passage, as well as the already mentioned promenade, will be publicly accessible in the future. The developer is currently building a new street at its own expense, that will allow easy access to the apartment buildings, and at the same time will be a shortcut for the walkers to the west beach (the street has been called the Belgian Avenue).
POC Partners Polska has been actively involved in the life of Darłowo since the very beginning of its presence in the city. It sponsors sports and cultural events, and supports various social initiatives. This year, they invited the annual Festival of Music and Art to their plot. For the first time the festival tent will be on the western side of the harbor channel and the company is a strategic partner of this most important summer event for Darłowo. – “We do care what happens in the local community”, – says Dorota Kotarska. – “We want to contribute to positive changes as we have already anchored heavily in Darłowo and Darłówek. Our investments should be a place of many valuable events of various character, including, for example, the Darłowo Baltic Fire Festival”.
The location of the Marina Royale estate, i.e. its proximity to the sea, is a huge asset, but will face many challenges to overcome. The plot is situated in the wharf, which is the land border of Poland, thus the number of formalities to be fulfilled is significantly greater as compared to a building in a different location. On top of that there are some administrative problems since the place has three main hosts: the voivodship, the self-government and the Maritime Office.
Another aspect of the project is the necessity to perform a series of additional tests and calculations already at the stage of planning and make necessary reinforcements during the construction. Thanks to them, the investment can be said to be waterproof. The developer is constantly using his experience gained in Belgium, with investments in similar conditions, for example in the harbor of Ostend.
Some people may wonder why the construction of the buildings has been taking so long. The mentioned location is one of the reasons. The developer has assumed that construction works should not disturb visitors and tourists so during the summer summit they are simply very limited.
If you look for the most accurate term to describe the POC Partners approach to building, quality would be the first priority. It is already expressed in a well-thought-out design and the adopted architectural and technical assumptions. This is followed by the quality of construction and used building materials. It is enough to look at the windows in the Ultra Mar building: aluminum joinery, triple-glazing with the highest possible insulation parameters. The property is covered by recuperation, which guarantees saving of thermal energy and at the same time provides clean air to the inhabitants – filtered, free from dust, mites, fungi and mold spores, the most common allergens.
When it comes to heating, the buyers of the apartments have three options: classic heating using radiators, ventilation system and floor heating.
Reliability and certainty
The sales process of Marina Royale apartments is conducted in accordance with the Polish law. A builder – buyer agreement is concluded between the client and the investor, with a trust account is created. Buyers make payments to that account in tranches, according to the progress of work on the construction site. In this solution the bank is a guarantor of correct payment settlements.
So far mostly Polish citizens have been the clients of the Belgian developer. Most often they buy apartments to have their own place to take a break, only some of them allow the possibility of renting holiday apartments. However, the tendency to develop private investments based on e.g. holiday properties is a clear and consolidated trend. With time, there will be more high standard facilities in Darłówek, gradually expanding the resort’s offer beyond typical guesthouses or bed and breakfast places. There will also be more apartments bought in order to make money on their rental.
This form of investment is now much more attractive than low-interest bank deposits and a lot more reliable than, for example, investing at the stock market. It is profitable due to obtaining current rent, and also thanks to a systematic increase in the value of real estates in Poland.
A plan for many years
Marina Royale that consists of three apartment buildings in the harbor, is only a part of a large Resort, Baltica Royale.
The Belgians from POC Partners Polska, in addition to Marina Royale, plan the next two stages of this major project – Riviera Royale and Viridia Royale. Marina Royale, located right at the seashore, is scenic and spectacular while Riviera Royale is planned to be a more family focused zone. It will be constructed in a seaside park, among pines and greenery (a beautiful dune area between the Apollo Hotel and the Amon building).
Riviera Royale apartments buyers will enjoy the view of the Baltic Sea and the beach. Space organization will meet the expectations of people looking more for a family leisure, and not spectacular amienities. It is supposed to be cozy, quiet and green. The work on the project concept is in progres.
The third phase of the Resort, Viridia Royale, is the least advanced in design. According to the development concept, apart from apartment buildings, there will also be a golf course. “Right next to Viridia Royale there is a rebuilt beach with safe bathing, which encourage to create space for active people, but also those who want to experience classical sunbathing ,”- says Dorota Kotarska.
A new standard
The first part of the Resort, Marina Royale, is an opportunity for Darłówek to show that it keeps pace with tourists’ changing expectations. Polish people travel a lot, comparing the conditions of recreation in different parts of the world and at the same time demanding a higher and higher standard in Poland. The number of wealthy people expecting a luxurious offer is growing.
The change taking place in coastal tourism is also affected by one more phenomenon – the prolongation of the season. Dorota Kotarska comments: – “The holiday season does not last only a few weeks between the beginning of July and the middle of August. More and more fans of sea holiday come to the Baltic Sea in spring, in large numbers already at the beginning of May. Amateurs of autumn on the Baltic Sea come in large numbers in September or October. In Poland, we can already describe several seasons a year. The salt spray floating above Darłowo waves helps to cure allergies, colds and soothe overwhelming emotions. When searching for a unique place, natural and open, it is not enough to spend a night just at bed and breakfast. There is a need to taste sophisticated cuisine, full of sublime flavors, relax in a professional SPA and watch spectacular sunsets.
Tourists who visit Darłówek for the first time are fascinated by the town. They rate it as a place with a specific climate, green and open to the sea. – “We plan further investments in such a way that they highlight the most beautiful features of the location. That is why there is something spectacular about Marina Royale emerging in the open space, near the roadstead. It will be the heart of the resort and due to its height also a landmark. Other projects will blend harmoniously into the natural surroundings.
A great change
The concept of the Baltica Royale investment program perfectly fits in with the slogan “Rediscover Darłowo”. It is about gradually upgrading the standard of the resort’s accommodation and leisure facilities, while preserving what is most valuable about it – a family recreation character, without any hustle and bustle or disturbing summer partiers. – “This philosophy fits in with our vision and direction of further development,” – emphasizes Dorota Kotarska. – Our long term plans, the purchase of land in the best locations – right on the seafront – allow us to implement these assumptions. They prove that POC Partners does not represent a speculative capital, focused on quick profit, but an ambitious and responsible market player concerned about the quality and consistency of the Resort. Within 10-15 years Darłówko will change a lot, but it will be a positive change.
Marina Royale is the central place of the harbor, more and more recognizable. Hence the common names “at the Belgians”, “Marina” or “roadstead”. And all this indicates that the investment has been accepted and become a part of West Darłówek. The recognition will probably increase as soon as the Lido restaurant starts operating in the Ultra Mar building. Its inauguration will most likely take place on the occasion of this New Year’s Eve.
Agnieszka Jaworska, the managing director of Polish investments at POC Partners, unveils the mystery of Lido: – “We create a place inspired by the French Riviera, and a brasserie design. The decor has a lot of anthracite elements, warm wood and timeless wicker chairs straight from France. The menu will be short, but rich: a few starters, 4-5 main dishes, including beef tenderloin steak and good fish. Among desserts – famous Belgian waffles, different than the ones we know, and Italian ice cream straight from Sicily. We focus on a well composed and cocktails menu, you will be able to taste Belgian beer or Polish craft beer”.
However, before the Lido Restaurant receives its first guests, POC Partners space was the scenery of this year’s Media and Art Festival Marina Royale Darłowo (13-15 July, 2018). Festival presentations will take place under a tent set up in a parking lot near the Marina Royale sales office. Patrycja Markowska will give a concert on the stage build with the sea at the background so that the audience will be able to enjoy both music and the sunset, which in the common opinion is most beautiful in Darłówek.