The new face of Prague’s Masarykovo nádraží is slowly being revealed. The historical building has been undergoing a large renovation, and the glass-covered main hall is mostly finished, with restored woodwork, clocks and lighting to bring it back in line with its mid-19th century original design.
The side areas, one of which still reflects expansion from the communist era, are still being fixed up. By the end of this year, Penta Real Estate will have invested 160 million CZK to renovate the station. The work is part of a larger project to create a new mixed-use complex adjacent to the station.
“Out of the total of 160 million CZK invested, 140 million CZK was to meet our obligation to Czech Railways, the other 20 million CZK we put into repairing business units,” Pavel Sreblov, Penta’s director for commercial construction, said, according to daily Pražský deník.
Previously the station’s interior wasn’t very inviting, but in the future it is meant to be more of a destination for people to shop or stop for a meal even if they aren’t going to catch a train.
A Costa Coffee shop with outdoor seating has already opened in the renovated part. Fast food chain Burger King will be taking another large space. Signs are on the doors, but work on infrastructure in the unit is still taking place. Pizza Hut and a Dr. Max are also among the future tenants.
A restaurant called Masaryčka will open, facing the tram tracks on Havlíčkova Street. in the departure area, stalls will offer hot dogs, juice, baked goods and pancakes.
Renovation work on the station began seven years ago with roof repairs. After that, a lot of work went into things that are not readily visible to the public, such as a new transformer and related electrical work.
What passengers can now see are renewed floors, fresh plaster work and modern toilets. In the fall they will see new cash desks, and by the end of the year a renewed waiting room and luggage storage space.
The station was designed by architect Antonín Jüngling and came into service in 1845. It currently serves regional and commuter lines and is Prague’s second-oldest station after one in Dejvice.
Several historical plaques and statues in the station tell people that fighting took place there in the last days of World War II. A bust of first Czechoslovak president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk reminds people whom the station is now named for. It was first called Masarykovo nádraží during 1919–40, and again in 1945–52, and then finally since 1990.
The plan to turn the 10-hectare area around Masarykovo nádraží into a new neighborhood with offices, shops and apartments was first brought up 15 years ago, with Dutch company ING Real Estate involved. They backed out of the project in 2010 due to the global financial crisis.
Penta became involved in 2011. The planned complex is one of the last designs from the London-based Zaha Hadid Architects before Hadid passed away in 2016.
The finished area will have trees, green spaces and benches for the public, as well as shops to attract people.
Part of it will be next to another Penta project on Na Florenci Street. The Florentinum complex was built there according to a design by architect Jakub Cigler.
Part of the area of the future complex is currently used by Manifesto, a pop-up complex of food stalls plus other shops and entertainment that is cash-free. Customers use credit or debit cards instead.