Sunday, 23 November 2014

Nový Žižkov Project

Prague Monitor |
15 August 2014

Can you briefly introduce the project you are preparing?

A brand new, modern, sophisticated urban area set into greenery and publicly accessible parks and areas for recreation and relaxation are going to be built on the premises of the existing Žižkov freight railway station by CCZ. The grounds, currently in a very poor shape, will thus receive a brand new coat.

It´s a large-scale project built in the first phase on the land area of 68,000 square metres, which combines residential housing, hotel, administrative buildings and shopping malls with extensive amenities: pool, gym, wellness studio, etc. Apropos, the greenery will form 35% of the total area of the project. The first stage of the project, which could be launched in 2016, envisages the construction of two residential buildings with approx. 250 apartments including an underground garage, hotel with shops on an area of 36,000 square metres and administrative buildings with an area of 22,000 square metres. The architectural and urban concept is based on the original idea of architect Jan Sedlák, which was further developed by the London architectural firm Bogle Architects.

The shopping mall with galleries typical for Prague is illuminated through an originally shaped glass roof with mobile panels, which transmit light inside as needed. The individual floors are accessible via escalators and each floor designed as a gallery is connected with bridges offering a view of the whole mall. On the second floor, there are not only shops but also restaurants and terraces with direct access to the park.

There are several not fully utilized shopping malls in Prague. Won't this be yet another one?

This project envisions an arcade different from the character of large shopping malls which are not fully utilized. In addition, many of the services are missing in this part of Prague 3 as shown in a survey among the residents of Prague 3 processed for CCZ. The survey results should also serve as basis for making the decision about the types of shops and services to be provided in the arcade. The first results show a significant interest of the Žižkov residents in services concentrated into one place. The survey also showed that two thirds of the respondents would agree with such development on the premises of the existing freight railway station, based on which the investor introduced the Nový Žižkov Project. Nine of ten residents of Prague 3 perceive the current state of the freight railway station as unbearable and approve significant changes of the grounds. Mainly because they do not wish for it to become a place for people living on the edge of society dangerous for raising children and youth.

From this perspective, the arguments of some environmentalists and Green Party activists, who want to preserve the area in order to protect some rare animal species, which based on a study by Doc. Jan Farkač from the Czech Agricultural University in Prague are sparse, will not hold up. There are only representatives of green toads, certain species of lizards, slow-worms, and scarce swallowtail. CCZ not only doesn't want to evict these rare species from the area of the freight railway station, but suggests gathering these few special species into a green oasis in the middle of the proposed project, which will include lakes lined by several rare plant species brought from the entire Czech Republic. The investor proposes to create conditions for long-term existence of these habitats in this place.

Is there any risk, in connection with the "Nový Žižkov" Project, of demolition of the historic train station building?

There is no risk of demolition in connection with the "Nový Žižkov" Project because the building is on a neighbouring lot. In addition, we plan to use it as a cultural and educational centre in the future. There are debates about whether it's appropriate to implement such a project in the vicinity of the Žižkov freight railway station building; a historic landmark. A total of 78% of respondents, who were shown photographs of the freight railway station, don't have an issue with building a new development in the vicinity of the terminal building, which is a cultural monument.

The urban concept of revitalisation of the Žižkov freight railway station includes extensive landscaping of park terraces, modelled lawns with adjacent residential green areas complemented by office building roof gardens. The main entrance into the project is a green boulevard crossing the square with fountains and trees "planted" in the pavement. The main pedestrian zone along with the bike path continues east to a nearby park. The new landscaping will be a great benefit for the area because there will be a continuous strip of greenery from the Olšany Cemetery to the Židovské pece park. The first stage of the construction of the residential, business, cultural and recreational complex at the former Žižkov freight railway station could be completed in 2018 and will require an investment of 250 million EUR, about 7 billion CZK.
(ph)