In 2014, the City of Poznan established a particular municipal scheme to facilitate and encourage initiatives to occupy vacant spaces at the same time as refurbishing them: a preferential rate scheme. The scheme aims to support the start of the activity with a strong incentive to reach the capacity to pay a full rent after 3 years.
When benefitting from the scheme, projects beneficiaries agree to renovate the place at their own costs. The average quality of the spaces proposed is rather low and their refurbishment is left to the renter with no insurance that their investment will not be spoiled when the owner will suddenly reclaim the space.
Activating: initiating process
The scheme is based on a reduction and gradual increase of a rent for the first 3 years of activities. The financial facilitations can be extended when the scope of the initiative meets social concerns in the local area.
As an example, the Pix'House’s gallery started renting a street level space in the Lazarz district. It benefited for 2 years of preferential renting and has now one year to reach enough business profitability in order to be able to pay the full rent and stay in the space.
Experimenting: developing step-by-step process
Projects apply to the City administration for renting spaces within a given list identified by the administration. They need to present a clear approach for their project, the way it would benefit the city and the neighbourhood (socially, culturally) and the way it seeks to refurbish it.
The projects should also present their business models and the way they will evolve with the given preferential rent.
The scheme providing an incentive facilitating the start of initiatives based on a reduction and gradual increase of a rent in the first 3 years.
The scheme forces the initiative renting the vacant space to find profitability in a short period of time especially for cultural and social projects.
The preferential renting instrument is not part of the broader management structure of the municipality. It still lacks from an integrated strategic approach at city level.
The scheme is too recent to be able to assess the effects of the instruments so far.