Getting a facelift. The old Cvernovka factory, situated near Trnavské mýto, is slated to be transformed into 11,000 square meters of office and parking space.
The entire complex has three buildings. The first phase of the reconstruction will restore to life the main building, built in 1908 and offering 11,000 square meters of office space. It will also provide ample parking space, enough for 300 cars belonging to the building's new tenants.
"IBM will take 3,000 square meters, which is almost 30 percent of the building," said David Keats, Real Estate Manager of Spiller Farmer, the agent exclusively responsible for leasing and arranging finances for the project. Keats continued that they are looking for mostly large tenants who will take at least 500 square meters. While confirming that some other tenants have already been found, Keats refused to elaborate, but admitted that the first tenant has helped to get others interested. "IBM makes it attractive for other clients," he said.
Spiller Farmer has been searching for space for IBM since May 1997. "They chose this site because of the classical look of the building, the large open floor plateau, and they liked the location," Keats said.
In the second phase, the other two buildings will be reconstructed, bringing another 6,200 square meters of office space to the site. A British company, Bovis, has been appointed the management contractor for the project. Finances, according to Keats, "are based in Austria".
The interior of the old factory will definitely change. A new atrium will be built in order to bring more light into the offices. The basic setup of the building is an open plan, which gives firms an opportunity to rearrange the space according to their needs. The finished complex will have 24-hour security service.
Reconstruction is scheduled to be completed by the end of 1998 or the spring of 1999. This deadline may be the major stumbling block for the entire project, as the building's owner, the Belgium-based BCT, approved the project only in late March.
According to Keats, IBM wants to use their new offices starting this October. Jan Willem Tom, a member of the BCT board, said that reconstruction has already started and that the main building is to be finished by October 1998.
A few days before the decision, however, at least one member of the BCT board, Július Pribylinec, was not so sure about the project. "The final decision about [our participation] in the project will be made within a few days," he said. "Our foreign partners think that Slovakia is the Belgian Congo [now the Democratic Republic of Congo], and they are dragging their feet on the decision."
Pribylinec continued that the reconstruction was to start two months ago. "Even miracle-performing construction workers from Belgium will not be able to catch up with [the deadline]," he said.
But Tom said he was confident that deadlines would be met, explaining demand for the new space was so overwhelming that a delay was unthinkable. "We have lease requests for more square meters than we can offer," he said.