Holy matrimony to bring parking

An unusual marriage, between religion and business, has been arranged to construct what promises to be one of the most intriguing multi-functional buildings in Bratislava's Old Town.
The order of Saint Augusta of Notre Dame wanted to build a secondary school on a lot it owns between Jesenského and Palackého streets, across the street from the Slovak National Theater. The church owned this prime property, but lacked the financial means to develop it. It was for this reason that they rented the lot for 50 years to the newly-created joint-stock company Alexia Bratislava a.s., on the condition that the firm build a six-floor multi-functional center which would include a secondary school for nearly 300 pupils.

An unusual marriage, between religion and business, has been arranged to construct what promises to be one of the most intriguing multi-functional buildings in Bratislava's Old Town.

The order of Saint Augusta of Notre Dame wanted to build a secondary school on a lot it owns between Jesenského and Palackého streets, across the street from the Slovak National Theater. The church owned this prime property, but lacked the financial means to develop it.

It was for this reason that they rented the lot for 50 years to the newly-created joint-stock company Alexia Bratislava a.s., on the condition that the firm build a six-floor multi-functional center which would include a secondary school for nearly 300 pupils.

The school will occupy about 30 percent of the 14,500 m2 building. The remainder of the space will comprise 2,000 m2 of office space, 1,500 m2 of retail space and four underground parking floors with spots for 334 cars. The result is a building that guarantees Alexia a.s. a return on its investment within the lease period, and that will then fall into the hands of the church.

The parking spaces should be a boon to a downtown area that is desparate for traffic solutions. "It is the building with the deepest foundation in the historical center," said Peter Šťastný, the chairman of Alexia a.s. He said that Hydrostav a.s. is the general suplier for construction and Zipp s.r.o. is erecting the entire concrete skeleton. The parking garages are scheduled for completion by March 1998, and the entire building should be finished a year later.

Architecturally, the school's entrance will be unconventional: it will be approached from Jesenského ulica, but through a schoolyard on the roof of the street-level shops. "It is not a traditional solution, but it complies with all technical and hygienic requirements for academic buildings," said Pavol Komár, who combined with Milan Kiaček, Irena Hýbalová and Jitka Míčová to design the project. The Bratislava-based agency Iuris s.r.o. is the exclusive representative for the non-residential space. According to Peter Pisko of Iuris, rental prices are set at 8,000 Sk/m2 per year for office space and 13,000 Sk/m2 per year for retail space.

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