Old Town Square hotel may be built

The city had announced last year that the long delayed project was canceled

A long-delayed hotel project at Old Town Square that seemed to be canceled now looks like it is going to happen. Prague City Hall in December 2017 said it was terminating the contract with a company that plans to join eight buildings near Old Town Square, but it is now set to reverse its decision.

The company Akroterion has rented four houses from the city since 1996 and owns four others. The planned five-star hotel with approximately100 rooms will be called U Sixtů, after one of the buildings, In addition to At the Sixth House, the project included houses called At the Stone Bird, At the Hungarian Crown, At the Unicorn, At the White Horse, At the Black Sun, At the Stone Lamb, and At the White Wolf. The buildings are on Celetná, Železná, and Kamzíkova streets.

As part of the compromise, 20 luxury flats will be added to the complex.

The project has faced numerous delays and setbacks, and the buildings have sat mostly empty save for a few street-level shops and remaining tenants who opposed the project. There have also been public petitions against the project, claiming that there were already too many hotels in the area and not enough permanent housing for residents.

The National Monument Institute (NPÚ) also voiced a number of concerns over the range of intervention into the buildings.

The city lost patience wit the investor and threatened to cancel the contract last year due to the failure to meet the deadline for opening a hotel.

This week Akroterion gave the city new guarantees that it will build the hotel and pay higher rents. If the city accepts the updated contract, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel should welcome its first guests by the end of 2022.

Akroterion has to show to the city that it has a valid building permit, a contract with a construction company and bank financing. The hotel chain Ritz-Carlton told the city it would operate the hotel.

According to previous reports, the construction would cost Kč 2 billion. A building permit was issued in 2014, but technical issues prevented the start of construction.

City Councilor Karel Grabein Procházka (ANO), responsible for city property, told daily Mladá fronta Dnes (MfD) that the contract was favorable for the city and had strict conditions. If the investor fails to open the hotel, it will not get any money back from the city.

Rough construction should be finished by June 2021 and the hotel must open for business by the end of 2022, according to MfD. There is a six month grace period for repairs. Then the investor has to pay penalties of Kč 30,000, and the city may terminate the contract.

Up to 100 rooms, restaurants, cafes, shops and services will be created. The investor also counts on a public passage with shops.

The new hotel according to the investor will also include 20 luxury apartments that will be available for long-term rent to clients such as senior managers.

The lack of apartment in the area has long been an issue, and the creation of the luxury flats is part of the compromise with the city.

Deputy Mayor Petra Kolínská (Greens) said that the increase in apartments was good for the area, but she was disappointed they would not be accessible to typical Prague residents such as teachers with a relationship to the area.

The rents specified in the lease go up over the time until 2081 and will rise again if the lease is extended to 2111. The investor also has to make several renovations during the lease period.

The investor also has to pay a fine of Kč 10 million for not completing the hotel under the conditions of the previous agreement.

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