"The great mission of an investor in industrial real estate is not only to build modern and functional buildings that are friendly to nature, but also to take care of the immediate neighborhood of their projects and the wider community. I am pleased that, looking back on the years we have been operating in the Karlovy Vary region, we can see behind us countless activities with which we have contributed to the economic growth of the region, created added value and, I dare say, to some extent changed its character in a more positive and attractive direction ,” says Milan Kratina, CEO of Accolade.
The Accolade Group started its business activities in the Karlovy Vary region in 2013. At that time, the starting position of the location was also largely influenced by its own historical burden. "The area of the former Sudetenland was for a long time on the fringes of the interests of both politicians and investors, the region was struggling with one of the highest unemployment rates in the Czech Republic and at the same time with the lowest salaries," comments Milan Kratina, adding that Accolade managed to contribute overall to creation of more than 3.5 thousand jobs.
The group states that it was the first large investor in the construction of industrial and logistics spaces to come to the region. This attracted a number of companies, which suddenly had the necessary infrastructure here and started creating new jobs with the rental of buildings. "The region has changed beyond recognition in recent years. The standard of living has risen, salaries have increased. Local residents have opportunities to work in senior management and do not have to look for positions corresponding to their qualifications in other regions," states Martina Životová, deputy director of the development department, who comes from the Karlovy Vary region.
Cheb as a popular location
The Karlovy Vary region is currently perceived by investors and entrepreneurs as a region of opportunities with great development potential, thanks to good transport connections to Prague and Germany and an industrial tradition.
So far, Accolade's largest investment in the Karlovy Vary region is the industrial park near Cheb, the value of which is 4.3 billion crowns. In 2017, the campus was declared the best industrial zone in Central Europe. The park also received BREEAM sustainability certification at the Very Good and Excellent level, which made it one of the best rated sustainable industrial sites not only in the Czech Republic, but also in the whole of Central Europe. It has favorable transport accessibility thanks to the proximity of the D5 motorway and several German connections. The European rail corridor from Prague to Nuremberg also passes through the city. The container terminal in the German city of Hof is only 54 kilometers away. The tenants of the park include multinational companies such as Tchibo, DHL, BWI, TFS and Nexans.
In Cheb, a second industrial park was created on the site of the former engineering factories under the baton of Accolade and developer Panattoni. It includes a building which, at the time of its completion, i.e. in 2020, was awarded as the most ecological hall of its type in the world. Cheb South has been awarded BREEAM Outstanding sustainability certification with a record score of 90.98%. For example, rainwater flushing, shading with window blinds are used here, and there is an insect hotel or an outdoor gym for employees in the vicinity of the building.
Other projects on the horizon
In the future, the Accolade Group plans to expand its portfolio in the region by almost 260,000 square meters of industrial space. Three buildings with a total area of 145,000 square meters are currently under construction, the value of which exceeds 6 billion crowns. Other new projects will be created in existing parks near Cheb, as well as in Karlovy Vary or other locations.
"I still well remember the time when the Karlovy Vary region did not figure in any fundamental way in the plans of investors and tenants. Today it is completely the opposite, and I am glad that we managed to turn this mindset around and thus start a new industrial era for the region. In addition to investments in projects currently under construction, other industrial parks are already in the planning and permitting process," adds Milan Kratina.