POLAND - The regeneration of Gdansk shipyards - the iconic launch site of Lech Wałęsa's anti-Communist Solidarity movement in the early 1980s - is to be Poland's first full private-public partnership.

Joint venture partners the Gdansk municipality and Denmark's Baltic Property Trust (BPT) are banking on the success of earlier European waterfront projects for the ‘Young City' infrastructure programme scheduled for completion in 2011.  New Wałowa Street, the site covered by last week's agreement, will provide the communications axis for the former shipyards.

BPT will contribute just over 50% of the 105m zloty (€32m) project cost; the balance will come from the municipality.

"Usually, the public authorities do all the roads and infrastructure; the private sector invests in everything else. This time there has been close and tight cooperation with the city authorities," BPT project manager Leif Johnanneson told IPE Real Estate.

"This is the first time for such a project in Poland and we expect more of them, of course. We're seeing the same trend in the rest of Europe."

Gdańsk City Council will vote on the preliminary deal struck last week towards the end of August.

Elsewhere in Europe, PPP programmes aimed at maximising returns from the divestment of state-owned infrastructure assets have faltered. A spring report by Ernst & Young claimed infrastructure in the Netherlands lags behind the rest of Europe because of government budget deficits and regulatory and environmental barriers. However, elsewhere - notably in the UK - the PPP model is expanding to include social infrastructure.