With companies such as British Airways and Záručná Banka moving into renovated offices along Bratislava's Štefánikova ulica this year, the major north-south artery has gained increased attention from real estate agents and developers. One project in the works is for a building bought by the realty branch of the giant Všeobecná Úverová Banka (VÚB). Realitná Spoločnosť VÚB, as the bank's property wing is known, bought the space from the Slovak railway company two years ago at Štefánikova 13-15 and intend to rent it out.
Martina Molt of ACI, which is acting as the leasing agent, said the 4,000 square meters will be refurbished to "western standards" by the end of 1996. She said an investment of about 60 million Sk is planned to install air conditioning, new elevators, a security system and underground parking. A new parking garage at the rear of the building has space for more than 40 cars.
Molt said a restaurant or retail store is likely to occupy the street level, but that the upper stories' office space will be rented for between 5,000 and 7,000 Sk per square meter per year, depending on how much space a tenant requires and the tenant's preferences regarding features such as air conditioning. Molt said three international firms have already expressed interest in renting as much as 60 percent of the building.
Ministry seeks to reconstruct construction industry
"Slovakia will run out of trained skilled workers five years from now," Carlo Testa, chairman of the Intelco international construction consulting firm, said at a seminar on the restructuring of the Slovak construction industry. "It takes at least six or seven years to get a good carpenter," Testa continued. "Ten years from now, the demand will be huge and there will be two carpenters."
Jozef Magala, deputy minister of construction and public works and the seminar's host, is all too familiar with the causes leading to Testa's prognosis. "The vocational schools collapsed," after the fall of socialism, he said. "We are in an unhappy state where the government doesn't contribute anymore and private enterprises aren't giving yet." But Magala said there may be hope, because while vocational training had been covered by the Ministry of Education, now each ministry administers its own vocational training programs, thus enabling each to get more money from the state budget.
The seminar, sponsored by PHARE, also focused on implementing energy-saving projects for pre-1990 housing stock, and increasing the export of high-quality Slovak products like wooden doors and pre-fabricated cottages and electrical switches and power outlets to primary markets.
Slovaks to rebuild Chechenya?
"The most promising market for Slovak building companies is Russia," said Construction Minister Ján Mráz. "The German market and other markets of Western Europe are losing their attractiveness, due to high unemployment in these regions and a prevailing atmosphere of dissatisfaction with foreign building companies. We are interested in participating in apartment construction in Russia, the construction of family houses for solvent clientele in Moscow, and the reconstruction of petrol stations. We are seriously interested in participating in the reconstruction of Chechenya, where a large international tender worth $1-2 billion is being prepared, and we expect to make contracts in Arab states [Syria and Egypt] depite the regular payment problems in these countries."
Surveying: Karlova Ves
Although features such as the three-year-old Lafranconi Bridge give Karlova Ves a spanking new appearance compared to the city's other districts, its history dates back to the thirteenth century.
Today, the district is composed of three main residential areas that are distinguished by their age brackets. The old village of Karlova Ves is home to many of the district's senior citizens, while Dlhé Diely, a housing development whose completion has been stalled by funding problems, houses many young couples and families. High-rise paneláks dominate the housing stock and very few residents own their own homes. As a heavily residential district, most people must commute to the city's other districts to work Public transportation: 5 trams, 3 buses, 0 trolley buses Institutions: St. Michael's church, Botanical gardens, city zoo, the natural sciences and mathematics and physics faculties of Comenius University, the Technical University's electrotechnical faculty.
Well-known resident: Vladimír Gažovič (graphic artist).