Old Tesco building in Bratislava may take the historic name of the city

The new department store OD Presporok will mainly sell foodstuffs.

The former Tesco department store. The former Tesco department store. (Source: Sme)

After the iconic building complex of the Tesco department store in the centre of Bratislava changed hands about a year ago, its future fate and name are becoming clearer. The assortment of goods originally offered here should be continued but the Tesco chain will be replaced by other retailers. The new owner also wants to strengthen the provision, especially the foodstuffs that are available. In total, the building will now house 14 food vendors, bratislavskenoviny.sk wrote.

Related articleTesco in Bratislava centre changes hands Read more 

“We want the food court to be be attractive to Bratislavans as well as tourists,” said Žilina-based businessman George Trabelssie, as cited by the website of the local newspaper Bratislavské Noviny, adding that they want to have all the outlets opened within two months.

The food vendors will include well-known local and foreign players, as well as new ones whose names have not been revealed yet.

For the time being, the food court is getting its final makeover, overseen by architects from the Milan-based Piuarch studio.

What is available now

Currently in both buildings, the rectangular as well as triangular one, only the ground floors are open with stores such as the drugstore Dm Drogerie Markt, an outlet of the Ziaja cosmetic company, the stationery store ŠEVT, a pharmacy, a jeweller's shop and a flower shop in operation, while there are still empty premises waiting for new shops. In the basement, the Tesco retail chain is continuing to run a supermarket while another, smaller Tesco grocery can be found on the ground floor.

Will the new department store recall the historical name of Bratislava?

The new name of the department store is not yet known. Reportedly, based on applications Trabelssie has submitted to respective state bodies, the new name will be Obchodný Dom (department store in English) Prešporok. In this way it will recall the historical name of Bratislava, which is Prešporok or Požoň in Slovak (Pressburg in German and Pozsony in Hungarian) and was used until the city was named Bratislava in 1919.

The proposed name for the food court is the Prešporok Food Court.

The history

The department store is part of a complex designed by renowned architect Ivan Matušík and built between 1961 and 1973. The building of the then state retail chain Prior was opened in 1968. At that time it was the first department store of its kind on the territory of today’s Slovakia. Apart from the new shopping style - the opportunity to shop for all kinds of goods in one place - buyers also had to get used to another novelty in the shape of the escalators. On its facade is Bratislava’s calendar carillon clock created by sculptor Jaroslav Kočiš.

Later, the triangle-shaped department store panelled with Slovak white travertine was extended with an oblong-shaped building interconnected with the neighbouring Kyjev Hotel. The project counted on a planned metro underground station under Kamenné Square, the Denník N recalled, but the plan has never materialised.

After the fall of the communist regime in 1989, the department store was bought by the American retail chain K-Mart. Tesco bought it in 1996.

Architects and other experts, who consider the complex an excellent example of modern architecture, have tried to get it declared a national cultural monument; so far their efforts have failed.

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