Pražská tržnice may be transformed

The city is looking at ways to turn the area into a food and cultural center

The situation at Pražská tržnice, the large market in Prague's Holešovice district, could soon change. Currently many of the buildings are empty and in poor technical condition. The city hopes to transform them in the coming years into culture and cuisine center.

The current array of covered stalls with mostly discount merchandise would be replaced with a regular farmers market. Restaurants, bars, cafes and wholesale outlets would take up the buildings. There would also be theater and exhibitions.

A stumbling block until recently has been a legal dispute over the area. The tenant Delta Center has an agreement to use the space until 2045, but in 2011 the city terminated the contract, and the dispute ended up in court. A final verdict has not yet been rendered.

The city last week had a meeting with Delta Center to discuss the possibility of doing something with the market space before 2045. Karel Grabein Procházka (ANO), the city councilor responsible for property, told the press that there could be a change in conditions that would allow continued cooperation between the city and Delta Center. There was also a possibility that if the court eventually decided in the city's favor and terminated the contract, the city would then have a free hand in developing the market.

The city is hiring a firm to conduct an analysis of the accounts of the market to help it decide the best way to proceed with the current contract. The results of the analysis should be ready in mid-November. The city will decide based on the result what the starting point of negotiations with Delta Center should be.

Despite the ongoing dispute, some changes have already been taking place at the market. A new multi-use performance space called Jatka 78 opened in 2014 in halls seven and eight as a base for the theater group Cirk La Putyka. The space presents new circus, dance and theater, and has a bar and large area for socializing.

Hall 40 may soon become a creative center focused on education. The space would also have studios and exhibition spaces. It would be jointly managed by the organization OSE Czech Republic and the people behind the annual Signal festival of light art. Samuel Kašpar, the director of OSE Czech Republic, said the lease could be signed during October. The center could start working almost immediately and renovation work could begin next year so the hall would be completely renewed by 2018. Money for the renovations would come from grants.

The area of the Pražská tržnice was originally designed as a slaughterhouse, which opened in 1895. It ceased to serve that function in the 1970s and has been a marketplace since 1982. There are 41 buildings in the complex.

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