Construction of the Flow Building on Wenceslas Square should be finished in July. After completion, fashion brand Primark will make further adjustments to its space before opening.
Primark will occupy three floors of the new building at Václavské náměstí 47, and has not given a specific opening date beyond saying it will be in the second half of 2020.
Although earlier reports stated the Flow Building, formerly called Flower House (Květinový dům), would be finished in May, both investor Flow East and Primark say everything is on schedule. “According to the latest reports, the construction of the new building has not been delayed and everything is going according to plan,” Primark says on its Czech website.
“The original construction schedule has been retained. Completion of the rough construction of The Flow Building is planned for July, however, individual tenants will modify their premises even further after its completion,” Best Communications public relations specialist Alexanda Drozdová told news server Pražská Drbna. Best Communications represents developer Flow East.
Primark will occupy all of the building’s retail space, and have a sales area of 4,700 square meters and a total area of 6,000 sqm. The rest of the space is for offices and parking. According to a February press release, the building is 75% leased, with just 5,000 sqm of Class A office space remaining out of 15,000 sqm.
All of Primark’s stores have been forced to temporarily close due to the coronavirus restrictions, and Primark plans to have extensive sales once they restart. “With the retreat of the pandemic and the subsequent opening of existing stores or those in the pipeline, including the store in Prague, we can certainly look forward to unprecedentedly high discounts, because even Primark does not have inflatable warehouses. In everything bad there is also something good,” Primark said on its website.
The arrival of the low-cost fashion retailer has been highly anticipated, as in the past people from the Czech Republic would travel to Dresden to shop at an outlet there. Primark has also announced that it will open an outlet in Brno.
Office space has been pre-leased to office solution company Scott & Weber, Graebel Relocation Services and a major multinational tenant yet to be disclosed.
The building design comes British architectural firm Chapman Taylor, with inspiration from the lines of St. Vitus’ Cathedral and images of burning candles and flowering plants.
The Flow Building has an “Excellent” rating BREEAM, which assesses sustainability. The building has been designed to incorporate passive technology that reduces client energy consumption and CO2 emissions, provide an abundance of natural daylight, and to ensure the optimum internal environment. Building tenants will also have access to a “Flow Zone” common room on the top floor with views of the National Museum and access to a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of Prague.
The two underground parking levels will offer spaces with access to electric charge points. There are also electric charge points for e-bikes alongside changing rooms and showers for tenant employees.
“The level of pre-leasing at The Flow Building is an endorsement of our vision to create an iconic, state-of-the-art contemporary building on one of the world’s most historic squares. The Flow Building is intended not only to establish new standards for future developments in Prague, but also to become home to some of the world’s finest companies and brands, and provide the public with a premier shopping destination,” James Woolf, CEO and founder of Flow East, said in February.
Over the last 25 years in the Czech Republic, Flow East has specialized in renovations of historical buildings as well as building modern developments. Flow East owns a portfolio of prime commercial and residential properties and a deluxe hotel. Being a long-term investor, it continues to own and manage all properties after they have been developed.
Flow East has owned Václavské náměstí 47 since 1994. The developer first proposed the idea of a new building in 2011 and a design was unveiled in 2013.
The project was not without controversy. It stands on the site of dům U Turků, which had been built in 1880. Despite efforts of civic groups, the building did not get landmark protection and it was torn down in 2017.
The firm said that renovating dům U Turků was not an option due to structural problems They also claim it was not architecturally significant. The original building was built in a style meant to echo the nearby National Museum. Since then the building has been restyled and expanded, losing all of it original details such as it corner cupola.
The new building will also extend to the site of the former Prague Stock Printers, which has also been torn down after it fell into disrepair. The building’s landmark status was removed in 2008 due to its poor condition. Part of the facade remained until 2013, but it was eventually deemed not to be salvageable. The print house was built in 1919.
Woolf previously said the public will embrace the new building, despite the initial opposition. The Dancing House was originally unpopular but now is seen as a symbol of the city. The same will be true of the Flow Building, he said.
“This building will be judged in 50 or 100 years time when people will appreciate that Prague has history from its foundations in the 10th century right up to the 21st century and that it didn’t stop in the middle of the 20th century,” Woolf said in 2011 when plans were first announced.