The first stage was affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Its construction was to start half a year ago. However, the management of the development company Sekyra Group claims that the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the project can be considered marginal for the time being.

Smíchov City is planned on 22 hectares of the former freight station in Smíchov. The project is to include approximately 400,000 square meters of commercial, residential, and retail space. Plans also include two large parks, one for sports activities, the other for relaxation. The developer of the project, Sekyra Group, estimated the total cost at 20 billion CZK.

Housing for 3300 Praguers

"From the point of view of Prague's development, Smíchov City is one of the key projects. The new district will offer a home to 3,300 people and create 9,000 new jobs. The project is a unique example of successful cooperation between the city, citizens, and the developer," says Marek Vácha, spokesman for the Institute of Planning and Development (IPR).

Luděk Sekyra, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sekyra Group, emphasizes that the priority of the project is public space, which is very valuable for the city. "This makes us different from many investors, who usually maximize volumes at the expense of public office space. For the first time in our capital, we applied a model of complex transformation of a large brownfield, "says Sekyra.

The first phase of the project, the construction of which is now beginning, will focus mainly on housing. It complements offices and services. 

"In the current situation, negotiations with suppliers were more complicated, but we also wanted to achieve at least a 20 percent pre-sale for greater certainty before construction began," explains Leoš Anderle, CEO of Sekyra Group. He adds that the coronavirus pandemic, or its first wave, has only a marginal effect on the project so far.

In the first stage, the developer intends to build 400 apartments in two blocks, of which 195 units have been put on the market. "We started selling in March this year, i.e. in the most problematic period, today we have 45 percent of apartments sold," says Leoš Anderle. For the cheapest 1 + kk flats, the applicant will pay less than 5.5 million CZK.

According to the developer, there is also considerable interest in offices, the first stage counts on about 8000 square meters. The demand for retail space, which will arise on the ground floor of the buildings, is said to exceed the supply. "At the same time, no other project in Prague offers retail space on the ground floor to this extent," says Anderle, adding that the retail space will be on the ground floor of all buildings so that all necessary services are in place.

The construction of the first, northern part is to take 28 months. The Kuba & Pilař architect's office won the competition for its design. He collaborates on the project with six other architectural firms.

Česká spořitelna will change its registered office

The dominant feature of the second stage of Smíchov City will be the headquarters of Česká spořitelna, to which the bank intends to move its 3,500 employees in 2025. Česká spořitelna wants to open its campus to the public. It will provide space for services, restaurants, and various social, cultural, and educational activities. "We didn't just want to build another headquarters on the outskirts of the city. On the contrary, our ambition is to build the most open corporate building in the Czech Republic, which is why we decided to build in the center,” explains Filip Hrubý, a spokesman for the savings bank, about the choice of Smíchov.

Smíchov City will also include a new transport terminal, the construction of which is being prepared by the capital city of Prague and the Railway Administration, or a public primary school.

Park instead of the boulevard

The public was also involved in the preparation of Smíchov City. The moderator of the debates between the public and the developer was the Institute of Planning and Development. "Thanks to this project, Prague has gained valuable experience, which it can now apply in other projects as well," says Vácha from IPR. Based on the comments of the inhabitants, the developer partially modified the project.

The public's suggestions concerned, for example, the amount of greenery, adjustments to the volumes of the proposed building blocks, originally a stone boulevard, which after the change acquired a park appearance, the contents of the ground floor, and the preservation of the Radlice Cultural Sports Center. It is a unique space created by a group of enthusiasts from an abandoned railway warehouse. It is a place for meetings, culture, and sports.

Smíchov City is being built on the land of Czech Railways. In 2006, they announced a competition for the development of plots, in which the Sekyra Group succeeded. According to the contract, the company gradually buys the plots from České dráhy, always the part for which it obtains a zoning decision. The purchase price is determined by expert opinions based on the market value of the land at the time of the zoning decision. "We paid the land for the first stage, with a tax of 320 million CZK," Anderle explains, adding that the company paid another hundred million to third parties for the purchase of buildings and their demolition.

Source: // Lidovky