Bratislava's busiest shopping street in the heart of the city, Obchodná Street, will from the beginning of 1999 have a new luxury office and retail space located in a 19th century reconstructed building.
The planned space is situated on the corner of Obchodná and SNP square, one of the city's most frequented public areas. SNP square was the spot where the Slovak chapter of the 1989 Revolution took place, and most of Slovakia's public rallies still take place here. Bratislava City Hall has extensive plans for the square, including underground parking lots and reconstruction of several buildings on the square.
"City Hall sold the building, where a branch of the Bratislava City Library used to be located," said Bratislava's mayoral spokesman, Milan Vajda. "The building was really in a bad shape when the city sold it. It needed serious reconstruction."
Edith Roger, owner of the Roger real estate agency, which is in charge of the project, confirmed Vajda's diagnosis with a rueful frown. "The reconstruction was more complicated than what we expected," she said. "The water table is too close to the surface, and we had to change our plans. Some of the back walls had to be torn down, and we had to strengthen some other internal structures."
Despite the problems, the facade of the building on Obchodná is almost complete, and pedestrians can already enjoy the colorful look of the exterior. The building was bought by the Market Consul company from City Hall, which did not have sufficient finances for the reconstruction project.
The four floor building has about 5,000 m2 of leasing space, with 1,200 m2 set for retail space and the rest earmarked for luxury office space. "We had to restore the building into its previous look. The building is 1.5 floors taller than it used to be in the past. But the inside of the building is very modern, and on a high standard," said Roger.
"The building has a new look, since it is taller. With the taller building, the SNP square has gained a better effect," agreed Vajda.
The interest of the owner, Roger, is to lease the building. "Our preference would be to lease it to one tenant, or to several tenants in large blocks," Roger said.
The cost of the reconstruction was according to Roger "quite high," although she would not give specific figures. In defence of the expense, she explained that it is always more difficult to reconstruct a building than to build a new one.
The everlasting problem of parking in the city's center will be eased at this building at least with its 36 underground parking places.