City wins in Pražská tržnice case

The Showpark border and other tenants are likely to be forced out

Many of the current tenants of Prague Market (Pražská tržnice) in Holešovice, including Showpark, will most likely have to leave if a new court ruling becomes final.

The Prague 7 District Court on March 11 ended the dispute lasting from 2012 that paralyzed the development of Prague Market. The city has won, and the defendant, the firm Delta Center, has to pay outstanding rent of Kč 246 million crowns and vacate the market. However, the judgment is not yet final, as it is subject to appeal.

Eight years ago, the city issued the company a financial statement that Delta Center has consistently refused to acknowledge.

According to the city, the current ruling opens the way for unsavory tenants to be removed from Holešovice.

The dispute goes back to the mid-1990s when the then-administration of City Hall rented the Prague Marketplace for 50 years to the firm Delta Climatizer.

“Ten years ago, the speculation was that the site would be turned into a lot of land that would house apartment buildings to eight stories tall. The Prague City Hall then sent a request to the Ministry of Culture to remove the entire site from the list of cultural monuments. However, the Ministry of Culture refused. Just three months after the negative opinion of the Ministry of Culture, Delta Climatizer changed ownership and the company changed its name to Delta Center, under the ownership of Israeli entrepreneurs,” City Hall spokesman Vít Hofman said, according to press reports.

Current Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) used Facebook to comment on the ruling.

“The end of the aftermath of the wild ’90s in Prague? Delta Center has to vacate the Holešovice Market and pay Kč 246 million to the city for the rent due. Congratulations to Pavel Vyhnánek, deputy mayor for finance and budget, for a great victory,” he said.

“The judgment is not yet final, but it seems that the long-standing case is nearing a hopeful end. Then the marketplace can be magnified, so it will be able to serve Prague citizens in a dignified way!” he added.

Delta Center and its tenants including the Showpark are supposed to vacate the market within 30 days. However, the defendant's legal representative Petr Kolar told news server Aktualne.cz that the company had paid the rent and maintenance for the market until 2011 and therefore considered the termination invalid. The city disputes this.

The case had been stalled by a previous judge, who blocked hearings on the issue. A new judge finally moved the case forward, city spokesman Hofman said.

This is just one of several cases involving the market. The city could get Kč 164 million from other lawsuits involving tenants.

“The Art Nouveau and Neo-Renaissance elements today are marked by stands with cheap trinkets and a brothel. The reason is simple: in the past, politicians rented the market to a private company and gave them basically a blank check. We are determined to return it back to this city and make it like an area we know from other European cities. The Holešovice Market will be a modern retail and at the same time cultural, gastronomic and leisure center,” Deputy Minister Vyhnánek said.

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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