The buildings around the last medieval gate in Bratislava, Michalska brana (Michal's gate), are being reconstructed, which will add much-needed life to an area that has suffered years of silent decay. Three buildings on the left of the short passageway that bends toward SNP square are being reconstructed by Bz-Bau and Martnengo.
Bz-Bau is reconstructing two 19th century houses which will have retail space and a restaurant on the ground floor, while the first and the second floor will hold offices. In addition, the two buildings will have four apartments with space varying from 80m2 to 105m2.
"These flats are comfortable for two people," said Júlia Horska, the legal representative for Bz-Bau. "More people could live in them, but it would not be as luxurious."
The total retail space (12,000 to 14,000 Sk per m2/yr.) is 550 m2; office space takes up 550m2(14,000 Sk per m2/yr.); and apartments total an area of 340m2. "Every time Bz-Bau has started construction of multi-functional building, there have already been signed contracts for tenants for parts of the buildings," said Horska.
"The house on the right will have an Austrian tenant on the ground floor, who is opening a CD shop as well as a clothing store," Horska continued. Reconstruction will be completed in April.
The CD store will have competition right next door. Opus trading, a Slovak music production company, will open a new CD shop in cooperation with Bonton Land in May, 1998 where the formerly well-known fashion outlet Hasso used to be located.
The 1064 m2 CD shop will also offer glittery showbiz-type products. "The store will cover all five floors of the building and offer CDs, shirts, video tapes, CD ROM's, and other products," said Richard Jajcay, a member of the Board of Directors of Opus trading.
The reconstruction of the building is being done by Martinengo, a Slovak construction company, for under 100 million Sk according to Jajcay. "Opus trading chose this building for its store because of its good location," he said. "Although it was not perfect, it is still the best one we have found in the center."
Jajcay is not afraid of the competition next door, or from other CD shops located in the center. "We are not afraid of competition," he said. "We have done market research , and I believe that we have a good business plan, which will enable us to do well."
Bratislava's City Hall praised how the projects looked but questioned the logic of having two CD stores next to each other. "It is good to see the reconstruction there," said Milan Vajda, the spokesman for Bratislava's mayor. "Bz-Bau has done a great job in reconstruction, actually preserving the 19th century look of the building. There will be two CD stores right next to each other, which they must have counted on in their business plans. However, City Hall prefers to place restaurants and cafés in its own buildings, to keep people in the center after work hours. CD shops may not be able to do that."