It takes courage to step out of the safe confinement of the mainstream, and this truth applies in business, too. We were one of the first asset managers in Poland to take on the revitalization of a post-industrial area. We took a chance with the whole creative business ecosystem concept with no real benchmark to follow. And we weren’t afraid to make mistakes because we were able to learn from them quickly. We believed in startups, even though the city’s economy was then only beginning to recover from the years of stagnation.
Today we know that fortune favours the bold. Many tenants who took their first steps in business at OFF Piotrkowska Center all those years ago, are now coming up with new successful, creative ventures.
The preservation of the historical identity of this place was my personal dream. I am proud of the transformation which Ramisch’s former factory has undergone: from a purely hipster venue to a place which has something to offer the whole family and elderly people, too. It is a creative ecosystem in which there is enough space for everything that is important for Łódź, i.e. historical heritage, new technologies and startups as well as the fashion industry making its way back to the city.”
It is a true art, literally and figuratively, to turn things around when you are dealing with a declining post-industrial space. The activity of “Fabrykancka”, a local cultural association invited by OPG Property Professionals, laid the initial foundation for the rescue of the former Ramisch factory by creating a place for alternative art initiatives called FabrySTREFA.
With time, along with out-of-the-mainstream cultural events, creative industries found their home in the former factory buildings.
There was only one condition: new tenants needed to bring something unique to the table, offer something that would be hard to find in a typical shopping mall. Thus, fashion designers, interior design and architect studios, music clubs, bars and restaurants serving original food, as well as exhibition spaces, rehearsal rooms and showrooms opened their doors in one place.
In exchange for preferential financial terms, new tenants were involved in the renovation of old interiors. Together, we have created something truly “OFF” – an independent meeting place which has become a real alternative to the consumer mainstream.
The success of this organic, grass-roots revitalization initiative involving creative entrepreneurs enabled further revival of the historical urban fabric of Łódź. Since some of the spaces were adapted for new office use, Ramisch’s factory resumed its iconic, three-shifts work schedule. And this is how the Creative Business Ecosystem concept was created – the idea behind it was that a restaurant owner would meet an owner of an innovative tech company or a promising startup on his or her way to work.
Everyone supports each other’s businesses, driving the development of the place further – without corp speak and without large distances between one another.
The next step in the evolution of “OFF” marks the closing of a certain historical cycle. The place where thousands of cotton products were manufactured each day over a hundred years ago has today become a number one venue for fashion designers, events and original concepts in Łódź. Thanks to its location on the longest shopping street in Europe, OFF Piotrkowska Center is not only the hottest address in the city right now, but it also stimulates the general economic activation of the entire quarter!