Pachecka: a modern data center near Warsaw? Everything is possible

If we work with Hillwood, we will of course negotiate hard. So far I have heard from Hillwood about discussion points such as a swimming pool powered by heat from the data center, the construction of a sports hall next to the planned school in Reguły, or the construction of a clinic (also in Reguły) – says Małgorzata Pachecka , Mayor of Michałowice, against Will a data center be built in Reguły? People get conflicting information. Some say that such an investment will take away water and blind people with light, while others argue that this is nonsense. So first of all, the question is: is there any chance of an American Hillwood in the Rules, or is it just a dream?

Malgorzata Pachecka: Maybe let’s start with the facts: Hillwood is already there. According to the information the company has provided us, it has purchased 100 percent. shares in Arma Invest Sp. z oo, which owns a large area between Aleje Jerozolimskie and the WKD railway lines in Reguły. Hillwood purchased shares with a valid local plan allowing commercial development. Initially, applications submitted to the council office suggested that Hillwood planned to build warehouses. Later, Hillwood clarified its investment plans and revealed that it intended to build a data center.

The modern type of data center being built in Reguły is not just a local investment. According to UKE or the Ministry of Defense that deals with cybersecurity, such server rooms storing sensitive data should be located in Poland, even if they are operated by foreign companies. Do you think that the Rules in this regard would fit into the state’s security policy, especially in the context of the war in Ukraine?

I don’t know whether, as mayor, I should comment on state security policy. I must admit that I view Hillwood’s potential investment in data center buildings from the position of a person responsible for the development of the municipality and the well-being of its residents. I am interested in the balance between benefits and difficulties that any investment brings to residents. I would like to remind you that we are talking about an investment that is directly adjacent to the busy two-lane Aleje Jerozolimskie road, and on the other side to the suburban railway lines. There are also overhead power lines running through the plot. In turn, the Hillwood plot is bounded from the east and west by residential or residential and commercial buildings. From Hillwood’s point of view, the allocation of such a plot for the construction of a data center therefore makes sense.

However, the immediate neighbors of single-family homes are concerned about this and this is their right. It is also difficult to have a substantive discussion, because the matter is accompanied by emotions. These emotions, in my opinion, arise from the interchangeable use of the words halls, warehouses, data center. These objects look different, function differently and influence the neighborhood in different ways. Let’s imagine that on this place, instead of a data center building, a residential area with several hundred houses with several hundred cars is built, which have to go in and out of the municipal streets or Aleje Jerozolimskie every day, often many times. Will it cause less disruption to residents than a large building that resembles an office building? I think the nuisance from residential construction may be greater. For me it is important how this plot will be developed, also because a separate development, a facility located on a plot with predominantly vacant land and greenery with non-intrusive facilities, would offer an opportunity to maintain the sustainable development of the area to hold. local authority.

The investment of the well-known American company Hillwood, present in Poland and the rest of the world, arouses great emotions among some council members and some residents. During the election campaign you promised to stop the construction of halls, and here comes Hillwood. Can you be sure that the Rules will not include truck loading halls, but in fact a Data Center, ie an investment for global IT companies?

In 2018, as a candidate for mayor of the Michałowice municipality, I promised residents that there would be no halls near our houses. And let’s clarify: my commitment concerned warehouses and multi-surface shopping centers, because both types of investments generate large sales of trucks and passenger cars. And I keep this promise. We are a city near Warsaw and we face a lot of development pressure. I ensure that buildings such as warehouses are not built in close proximity to residential buildings, although this is becoming increasingly difficult. However, I did not refer to developments in the field of data centers, because in 2018 no one talked about investments in data centers, that is, buildings in which servers for data processing are placed. Moreover, it was difficult to predict that investors willing to build data centers would appear in Poland. Here, on the one hand, the development of streaming platforms such as Netflix and HBO, and on the other hand, the war in Ukraine, has probably led to rapid development of the market. He’s quite dynamic. Within a short time, several such investments were built around Warsaw (and even in the center of Warsaw). The nearest ones are located approximately 2 km from the municipal border. Some of the buildings housing the data center simply look like office buildings, sometimes with interesting, modern architecture.

Can you be sure that truck transfer halls will not be built here instead of a data center?

I think it depends on the restrictive provisions of the local plan and any agreement with the investor who agrees to include financial penalties in the agreement if the plot is used differently. There is currently a local plan in force that allows the development of services, including a data center, but does not exclude other services, for example warehousing. That’s why, in the case you asked about, a good civil agreement with Hillwood or a change to the local plan limiting the ability to use the land just for the data center would be so important. However, it is not certain whether the data center will be built and it is worth keeping in mind.

What is the benefit for the municipality? I will also ask what you can count on from the investor? Municipalities always attract major partners and negotiate before signing an investment agreement.

The first benefit for the municipality is sustainable development, as I have already said. Further depopulation of the municipality will not benefit it and will burden the budget with current expenses. I know I’m right because for the last five years about 250 people a year have migrated to the commune and we are able to ‘manage’ it well, manage it well and live well. During this period we have thoroughly modernized all schools, we have built one kindergarten and we are building a second one, we are building another village community center, we have modernized the sports infrastructure and built a new sports hall at the school in Michałowice. We have made many more investments and are designing new ones for a new perspective. Our lives are getting better because we spend the municipality’s income on its residents.

However, the final word is yours

If we work with Hillwood, we will of course negotiate hard. So far I’ve heard from Hillwood about talking points such as a swimming pool powered by heat from the data center, the construction of a sports hall at the school planned in Rules, or the construction of a clinic (also in Rules). However, these proposals were very preliminary, were mentioned in the conversation and do not have any material form, such as a declaration of intent.

Source: Do Rzeczy