Shopping malls and skyscrapers on the rise

Real estate agencies use new price map
A NEW property "price map" introduced on October 9 by the National Association of Slovak Real Estate Agencies (NARKS) is already helping companies that deal with real estate activities.
The list was created by combining complex price data from NARKS with detailed information from more than 850 contributors that are active on the real estate market, the SITA newswire wrote.

Real estate agencies use new price map

A NEW property "price map" introduced on October 9 by the National Association of Slovak Real Estate Agencies (NARKS) is already helping companies that deal with real estate activities.

The list was created by combining complex price data from NARKS with detailed information from more than 850 contributors that are active on the real estate market, the SITA newswire wrote.

"We have already achieved some success, and several clients from the banking sector are now using the price map commercially," said Ľuboš Petrík, manager of the sales division of the Datalan company, which took part in the project.

The real estate information database, administered by NARKS, currently contains about 55,000 listings. Since 2002, a total of 1.9 million historical recordings have been collected.

NARKS expects the map to become an alternative tool to professional expertise. The map can also help predict price development trends on the real estate market.

Currently, the map website is not designed for the general public, but rather for the banking and development sectors. The project has operated on a trial basis since April, and its commercial operation started in May.

NARKS has 159 member real estate agencies from all over Slovakia, almost half of which are from Bratislava, Kardoš said. The association was formed in 1998.

Certificate will measure energy efficiency

ANY BUILDINGS that are sold or rented in Slovakia will have to have an "energy certificate" starting on January 1, 2008.

The energy certificate should spell out the building's energy demands. The certification process will be developed with experts in insulation, water heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, electrical wiring and lighting, the Hospodárske Noviny daily wrote.

The certificate will be required by law when a building is sold or rented. The law does not require an energy certificate for a flat, but due to the differences in location of individual flats, it is recommended, said Dušan Petráš, the vice-chancellor of the Slovak Technical University.

The chair of the National Association of Slovak Real Estate Agencies (NARKS), Ľubomír Kardoš, said houses that do not consume too much energy are already preferred. People interested in real estate have been considering insulation and heating for some time, consciously or unconsciously, he said.

The president of the Slovak Association of Partnerships of Flat Owners, Zdenka Jurčáková of Košice, says flat owners can get the information for their flat's energy certificate from the certificate for the whole building. She also recommends that apartment building owners make radical repairs and amendments to their buildings before the certification, so that they do not need to be repeated.

The certification should be financed from a repair fund, she said.

Kardoš added that it should not be financially demanding for individuals to get an energy certificate for residential properties.

Shopping malls keep growing

THE BOOM in shopping malls in Slovakia is still going strong. The country - which has about 80 square metres of shopping area for every 1,000 residents - still has to catch up with its neighbours.

Slovakia was near the bottom of the European chart for the amount of retail sales in 2005, with €907 (Sk30,200) a year per capita. But sales have been increasing, and they will keep growing thanks to a distinct expansion in the area for shops, the Trend weekly website wrote.

In 2007-2008, about 340,000 square metres of new shopping area should be added in the country.

Skyscrapers will rise over the capital

THE SLOVAK capital is going to get taller in the next few years.

After the revitalisation of the historical centre of Bratislava, development companies are now looking to brownfield locations that have not yet been used - properties in the wider centre of Bratislava where only dilapidating former plant facilities have stood until now.

Developers have started inviting globally-renowned architects to Slovakia, the Hospodárske Noviny daily wrote.

In the area of the former Apollo refinery, close to the new Slovak National Theatre building near the Danube River, a new centre of Bratislava is expected to grow within few years.

The tallest building of Slovakia, Tower 115, is already there. Next to it, the two towers of the Panorama City complex are expected to surpass it soon.

The main feature of the project is two towers with a triangular base, designed by famous Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill. The high-rise buildings will be the tallest buildings in the former Czechoslovakia, J&T Group spokesman Maroš Sýkora said.

With a planned height of 135 metres, they should top Tower 115 by 20 metres. However, information has leaked about a proposal to make them even taller.

A few hundred metres away, another tower competing for the title of the tallest building in Slovakia is expected to rise. That tower is part of the huge Twin City project, from the HB Reavis developer. It will be designed by the renowned British architectural company Benoy.

The end of this proliferation of skyscrapers is not in sight. Another two towers are planned as part of the Lipový Park (Linden Park) project on Bottova Street.

The city district of Ružinov is expected to have a number of skyscrapers in just a few years. Investors have announced two more projects - Olympia and Residence Tower, the main towers of which are expected to top 100 metres.

Port warehouse turns into cultural centre

THE NEW City Auditórium will operate in a renovated historical port warehouse building on the Danube River embankment in Bratislava.

The modern cultural facility will fully replace the Culture and Leisure Park (PKO) that has been used for some time, and even let more activities be offered there, the Pravda daily wrote.

The former Storehouse No. 7 of the Bratislava port is situated in the bend of the Danube River, according to the Sme daily. It was built in the 1920s as part of the old port. An impressive building with a small tower has been left to decay for years.

This building, in the functional style, is unique because of its iron and concrete frame with massive columns in the interior. The columns bear an extraordinary load, and give the building the appearance of a cathedral or palace.

"Under the ruin, there was a real architectural marvel," said Peter Bacon, the head of the Europe Ballymore Properties development company. The company is developing the proposed Eurovea city district, which is to include the new auditorium.

In the future, the city will use the top two levels of the warehouse loft, which will be turned into a space of about 1,000 square metres in area and 10 metres high. Depending on the seating arrangement, the hall will be able to seat 660 to 1,300 people.

Another part of the building will house a separate level four metres high, with a small hall for 170 spectators, and a restaurant for 200 visitors with an observation terrace overlooking the Danube.

One part of the Auditórium will be a multi-functional entrance hall made of glass, metal and industrial materials, laid on an artificial water surface.

People will be able to enter the "city arena" not just from the pedestrian area, but also from the river. This will let visitors sailing in on riverboats from Vienna or Budapest see the cultural events.

The restored building will be "iconic" for the whole Eurovea development, said the project's architect, Branislav Kaliský.

Farm building stolen near Žilina

THIEVES in the village of Liptovské Sliače made off with a farm building this summer.

The enterprising culprits disassembled the brick building, in the Ružomberok disctrict, which was owned by the Slovak Forestry company, the SITA newswire wrote.

The theft caused about Sk30,000 (€900) in damage. No suspects have been found yet.

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