The riverside development concept hits the city's Libeň and Karlín districts
Throughout Europe we've seen many examples of dramatic riverside improvements - the London Docklands, and Hafencity in Hamburg being particularly notable. You might logically ask if there are any other areas left to develop in a major international city.
As it turns out, there are, in one of the most historically protected and beautiful cities in the world. Prague, the "city of a thousand spires," is showing all the signs that it will host the next riverside success.
One need not mention the virtues of Prague. With its centuries-old architecture, cobbled streets, and breathtaking views of Charles Bridge and the castle, it ranks among the most attractive cities in the world. But in addition to poetry-inspiring panoramas, you admittedly also need to look at some less romantic aspects - call them urban economic basics - and Prague has these covered too.
First, there's the effort of a significant body of developers, who've shown both enthusiasm and financial commitment, in various parts of the Prague 8 district. This is where the action is - an area that now contains more than 10 percent of Prague's commercial offices.
The district itself is a natural prolongation of the city center, on the same side of the river and uninterrupted by any hill or valley. Its two districts, Karlín and Libeň, experienced a heyday of development in the 19th century giving rise to an interesting mix of industrial buildings, Napoleonic, art nouveau, and classicist architecture. The potential for conversion and redevelopment has been tapped into only in the last decade.
Second, there's the commitment by the city authorities, who recognize the potential in the area. "Among localities situated in the vicinity of the historic city center, only a very few can yield the conceptual and urbanistic potential that is found in … Karlín and Libeň," said Prague Mayor Pavel Bém. "In this sense, Prague 8 represents a unique development area which is set to be transformed beyond recognition in the years to follow."
One of the most exciting projects is Libeň Docks (Libeňské doky), a complete revitalization and redevelopment of 6.5 hectares of riverside land on the Vltava river's meander.
Real Estate Karlín Group, the developer, hosted an international architectural workshop for the project's design, inviting a team of architects from around the world to study, debate, and create. A winning team including architects from Switzerland, Germany, and the Czech Republic was selected by a jury on the basis of urban concept, appearance, functionality and economics. In the end, a complete residential, office, and retail plan was created - call it a Prague Docklands if you will.
Opportunities to get involved for those who wish to invest in apartments right now already exist in the Prague 8 area. According to a local estate agency that has a number of projects in the area, units in one of their luxury 230-apartment residential developments are selling quickly, just a few properties down from Libeň Docks, and recent announcements prove that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Along with expansion of city parkland and a new golf course, a further 1,200+ riverside apartments are slated to be built over several phases in the vicinity in the coming years.
• For further information on any of the developments in the Karlín/Libeň area please phone Simon Orr at (+420) 272 143 513
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