Within the broader centre of Prague there are several hundred buildings that are in need of reconstruction. Acord Invest has been specializing in the reconstruction of these buildings since 2006, by turning them into residential housing, and have, since then already reconstructed dozens of these.
We discussed this interesting topic with Serge Mayer, founder and Company Director of Acord Invest.
What buildings does you company specialize in
The core of our business activities is the reconstruction of dilapidated buildings situated within the broader historical centre of Prague. There are a whole number of them and they really do need reconstructing. Some of them are completely empty, uninhabited and in a desolate condition. We purchase such buildings with the help of our partners, reconstruct them and then offer them to interested parties via the sale of the individual apartments. It is that type of work which makes sense to us as we not only retain the historical value of these buildings for future generations but also bestow their premises with a new life that they would not have otherwise. We choose such buildings that are somehow unique – especially for their location or architectural design. Then we reconstruct the buildings sensitively in close co-operation with specialists from the conservationist area and architecture and bestow them with new utilization.
How many buildings have you already saved this way?
Since the moment we commenced our activities in 2006, we have already reconstructed 32 buildings in Prague. Our work proceeds on approximately two levels there. Some projects are reconstructed under our own charge and others for our partners to whom we provide individual services on a managerial basis. However, if we were to add up all the projects we have participated on in Prague, we would arrive at this number.
What apartments do your clients currently show most interest
Our clients want luxury housing in the historical centre of Prague. We can provide them with that via the reconstruction of historical buildings. Nevertheless, we must transfer the currently high standard of luxury housing into the historical stage scenery, including state-of-the-art solutions for heating, air-conditioning, security and other details. We are trying to get the best we can from the existing properties and to adjust them to the modern man and woman. On the outside, it is a historical building as it was hundreds of years ago, but the inside offers luxurious housing that corresponds with the modern man and woman’s requirements. Those showing interest in our apartments are mainly people who want to live in the centre of the capital and have the highest standard of facilities there. Those are young managers, who work in Prague and don’t want to spend hours on commuting daily to the outskirts of Prague or even beyond its boundaries as well as investors who purchase apartments for their children. Such people prefer maximally equipped smaller apartments of a very high standard.
Do you come across some fundamental issues during your business
The World Bank, which annually issues a list entitled Doing Business, has recently announced that the Czech Republic fell, with regards to the issuing of building permits, from 127th place down to 156th place, which is particularly embarrassing. With regards to the fact that we don’t build on green land but reconstruct existing buildings, this process, fortunately, doesn’t take us that long. On average, all this process takes two to three years but might have been much shorter if some of the holdups were dropped. Those also represent considerable extra costs, which the final client wouldn’t have to pay. We firmly hope that the amendment to the law, which is currently in preparation, will help to speed up the whole process. It is at least the first step in the right direction.
What interesting projects are you currently working on?
We are currently really pleased about the Terasa Lavande project, which non-traditionally interconnects a Neorenaissance building reconstructed in a first-class standard with an entirely new one. The basis of this non-standard project, situated near the Míru Square and the greenery of Havlíčkovy Sady, is the reconstruction of an historical town building from the 19th century, which is extended by a new cascading construction to the inner block. And it is the cascading terraces and relaxation evoking lavenders that gave it its name. The atmosphere of the housing in the Terasa Lavande project was inspired by Croatia in the Mediterranean. The building got its name from the scent of lavender, the queen of all herbs that spreads over the fields of this sun-soaked country. The newly reconstructed building will provide its residents with the comfort of luxury city districts and 25 parking places inside the building as well as sufficient peace and quiet as if on holiday. The project is now heading to completion and the first tenants will be able to move in at the beginning of next year.
What are your plans for the future?
Apart from continuing on existing projects, we are, in the near future, planning to focus on the reconstruction of buildings intended for rental housing. We are planning eight such buildings in the first phase in five-year time as we are aware of the fact that there is tremendous demand for this type of housing. An entirely new trend we see coming from western countries is also housing with a minimal private and maximal shared area. One will have approximately 10–15 sq m for his/her own privacy and other premises, including a kitchen, common areas and laundry room will be shared with other tenants. The significant advantage of this solution lies in the fact that the shared premises will be fitted with equipment that one would not acquire himself/herself, such as a gym with a treadmill or a cycle wash. This trend will certainly not suit everyone but we are convinced that it will mainly find its supporters amongst younger people.