Prague now has a clear plan for the development of Prague Market (Pražské tržnice), a neglected culturally protected area in the heart of the city that is larger than Prague Castle.
City Hall says two new study outline what the market space in Holešovice will offer Prague residents, how the services will be deployed, how better access to the area will be solved and how, for example, rainwater will be collected in it to maintain a large amount of greenery. Emphasis will be placed on the economic sustainability of the operation of the area.
“For the first time, we are coming up with a complete development strategy for this unique complex as a whole. The aim is to fulfill its potential and return it to the people of Prague. There will be normal shops and boutiques, markets, restaurants and small bistros, as well as cultural spaces. And also beautiful outdoor spaces, where you can just sit with ice cream in hand,” Prague Deputy Mayor Pavel Vyhnánek (Praha sobě) said in a press release.
“We are already taking the first steps so that life can gradually return to the market. We want to open the market to people of all ages and income categories and at the same time ensure its economically sustainable operation in the future,” he added.
The new vision for Prague Market is based on two studies created in cooperation with the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Praha). The verification economic study was prepared by the consulting companies JLL and 4ct, which specialize in urban planning and consulting in real estate services. The author of the urban-architectural study is CMC architects co-founder Vít Máslo.
The studies present a strategic plan for the area’s development and operation for the coming decades. The verification economic study, based on the analysis of the current state and history, gives recommendations for a suitable mix of activities in the area based on experience from the commercial real estate market.
One important requirement is economic sustainability. The study assesses this and presents several development scenarios. It will be necessary to gradually invest between 2 billion CZK and 3 billion CZK in the renovation of the complex over the next two decades. However, investments will start to return to Prague within 13 to 16 years, depending on the structure of tenants and the set levels of rents, according to City Hall.
“The result is a concept focused on a suitable combination of elements of culture, cuisine creative industries, business and retail with a wide range of leisure opportunities. The key should be to maintain flexibility of using Prague Market with the possibility of continuously responding to the development of the requirements of society and the economy,” Tomáš Ctibor, founder and director of 4ct, said.
According to the plan, the Prague Market will become a place of significance not only for Prague and but also nationwide, similar to the former Kødbyen industrial complex in Copenhagen or Matadero in Madrid.
“The concept should have a destination character, and although it will primarily serve the city’s residents, it should also be attractive enough for foreign visitors,” Blanka Vačkova, director of market research and consulting at JLL, said.
In addition to the complete renovation of buildings and public spaces, the area will have new architectural elements. The plan is to build a new spatial landmark and create a significant redesign of the entrances to improve the connection of the area with Bubenské nábřeží and Holešovice.
The location of a sufficient number of parking spaces will also make the space more functional. According to an architectural study, the area will have with up to 70 new trees. Collected rainwater will be used for their irrigation, and a special cooling system using water from the Vltava will serve to prevent the formation of a heat island.
“We want to achieve the set goal of revitalizing Prague Market with the help of an urban study. It clearly organizes the operation of the complex, exmphasizes public spaces, preserves the industrial character of the place, and at the same time provides attractive spaces for new uses and new tenants to address and attract a wide range of visitors,” architect Máslo said.
Prague Market, formerly the Central Slaughterhouse of the Royal City of Prague (Ústřední jatka královského města Prahy), was built in 1983 and inaugurated in 1895. This year, it celebrates its 125 anniversary, though many planned events have been postponed or canceled.
Since 1993 it has been protected as a cultural monument. The area of 103,060 square meters consists of 40 buildings with Art Nouveau and Neo-Renaissance design elements. The architect was Josef Srdínek. The two bull statues at the entrance to the complex are by Czech sculptors Bohuslav Schnirch and Čeněk Vosmík.
People often call it the Holešovice Market (Holešovická tržnice) to avoid confusion with other open-air markets in Prague.
This is not the only market space being renovated. There is also the Old Town Market (Staroměstská tržnice) on Rytířská Street, which should reopen in 2022, as well as the Time Out Market planned for the Savarin complex between Wenceslas Square and Na Příkopě.