Written by: Tim Gosling
A hundred years ago, Holešovice was busy developing itself into a production powerhouse. Today the somewhat ragged ex-industrial neighborhood is home to many blue collars and working hands.
FOR OFFICE DEVELOPERS the district has many elements that suggest it as an excellent location. The usual factors contribute: a border with Prague 1 is bolstered by two metro stations. And then there’s the river. Jan Lovětínský, marketing manager for Lighthouse says this is a unique feature in Prague. Other stretches of the riverbank host parks and recreational areas, he claims, whilst it is only the very center of the city that is built onto the river, and there’s no plots available there.
Despite the benefits, the area has seen few new buildings thus far. While those that have built in Holešovice tend to liken it to Smíchov and, in particular Karlín, the Prague 7 quarter lags behind its peers. That’s no secret to Greg Kowalenko of Landmark, who first came to Holešovice in the early 1990s and has developed three buildings there. While Landmark’s Metrocenter is known as the Alcatel building after its big international
tenant, and ING Real Estate’s newly-unveiled refurbishment of the old brewery, entitled the Arena, has tempted Swiss publishing-giant Ringier to the district, developers say it can be hard to tempt foreign companies into Holešovice.
Although Lovětínsky points out that until recently there was very little new-built class A office space that could host international companies, managing director of Lighthouse, Tamir Winterstein, says that Czech clients are much quicker to recognize the benefits of Holešovice, and they are helping to fill the 23,000 m2 at Lighthouse Vltava Waterfront Towers.
The office complex is the first step in an ambitious project that will pour a huge investment into the district, transforming the barely functioning Holešovice Port into 14 hectares of high-end residential, retail
and office space. The offices now online cost around CZK 1 billion, according to Lovětínský, who reports that the zoning permits on the first phase of Holešovice Port, as he calls it, are now in place.
Across from the Lighthouse complex is another glass tower: Tokovo. Having just been refurbished by PPF Majetková, it is now also renting space through DTZ and Gavlas agents. This could be another sign that Holešovice is struggling to attract top tenants. However, this district is still said not to have the best image. Among the reasons for this are the lack of extensive retail and services, and the fact that the district is still far from glamorous.
Developers like Lighthouse are staking a lot of cash that Holešovice will come up in the world, and Kowalenko says that he’s delighted to see the municipality taking funds, partly those received following the floods of 2002, and sprucing up the streets of Holešovice. “Developers have been putting money into the area”, he says. “It’s great to see that the city is starting to match that now.”
BUILDING OF THE MONTH
Developer Ablon celebrated the opening of Building B, part of its Meteor Centre Office Park, in May. The 10,000 m2 building is set within the courtyard of a large block of buildings next to Sokolovská St. in Karlín, a stone’s throw from the Křižíkova metro station. It complements the first phase of the office complex, Building A, a reconstruction of a historical building that opened in 2002.
BUILDING B is completely modern, offering four storeys of open-plan, fully divisible office space. The architecture, which stresses comfort in the work environment, utilizes ample glass, and a line of Italian tiles made especially for the building. Other notable features include a 134 m2 atrium, 24-hour security, an electronic access system, and air conditioning in all parts of the building. The building offers 124 indoor and 16 outdoor parking spaces.
10 questions Jonathan Hallett
What was your first job?