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Belveder development complex in Banská Bystrica is futuristic

Most of Slovakia's cities have undergone impressive revitalization projects over the past few years. The rebuilding of Košice's Hlavná ulica, Žilina's Mariánske námestie, and Nitra's Štefánikova ulica have breathed new life into these long-neglected city centers. But one of the first projects promising to energize to an entirely new section of a Slovak town is the Belveder Multifunctional Zone in the central Slovak town of Banská Bystrica.
Built on a hilltop site where an auto campground stood until recently, Belveder is being developed by a company called IKM Reality-Staving to be "a city within the city." Construction began earlier this month on the project, which will combine residential, office, and shopping space.
The Belveder blueprint includes 300 apartments, "urban villas," offices, street-level shops, a four-star hotel with 250 beds and a congress hall, and a pension with a restaurant, fitness center, pool, and sauna.

Most of Slovakia's cities have undergone impressive revitalization projects over the past few years. The rebuilding of Košice's Hlavná ulica, Žilina's Mariánske námestie, and Nitra's Štefánikova ulica have breathed new life into these long-neglected city centers. But one of the first projects promising to energize to an entirely new section of a Slovak town is the Belveder Multifunctional Zone in the central Slovak town of Banská Bystrica.

Built on a hilltop site where an auto campground stood until recently, Belveder is being developed by a company called IKM Reality-Staving to be "a city within the city." Construction began earlier this month on the project, which will combine residential, office, and shopping space.

The Belveder blueprint includes 300 apartments, "urban villas," offices, street-level shops, a four-star hotel with 250 beds and a congress hall, and a pension with a restaurant, fitness center, pool, and sauna.

While Belveder will house administrative and commercial units, it will be first and foremost a residential complex. Single-floor apartments will range from 70 to 150 square meters and two-floor flats will average 250 square meters. The apartments' future owners will purchase their homes in four installments, which will help finance the construction of the development. The first parts of the development are scheduled for completion in autumn 1998.

Belveder's primary investor is IKM Invest, a firm related to the developer. Among the projects in IKM Reality-Staving's portfolio are buildings in Banská Bystrica for the National Bank of Slovakia, Banka Slovakia, Istrobanka, and McDonald's. The firm has also developed a few buildings in Germany.

Although Belveder is a private project, IKM is progressing in close cooperation with City Hall. Marian Šovčík, who heads the city's office of construction and urban development, is coordinating the effort, which comprises designs from 21 different architects.

According to Albert Mikovíny, one of the architects, Banská Bystrica's historic core was the inspiration for the idea and plan behind Belveder. Thus, not only will Belveder share picturesque Urpín hill and the Kremnica hills overhead with the old town's scenic Námestie SNP, but the streets and squares are planned to be colorful and lively as well.

But that is where the similarities to Banská Bystrica's old town end. Belveder will be a thoroughly modern complex, with some buildings that are almost space-age in appearance. Some of the residential and retail space will make extensive use of skylights and triangular and rounded windows. At one of the development's focal points, the facade and roof of one building will be characterized by wavy, curved lines while an adjacent building looks very angular, thus making for an eclectic mix.

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