Prague councilors have approved the sale of nearly 3,855 city-owned dwellings — just a few hundred shy of the entire number of apartments sold last year in the Czech capital — for which the city hopes to fetch at least Kč 4 billion. There is talk, however, that speculators will manage to circumvent controls seeking to grant favorable terms only to current tenants.
Czech anti-corruption police and the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) are looking into allegedly suspicious sales of property belonging to the state railways Český dráhy (ČD), the business daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Monday.
A luxury five-star Sofitel hotel was to arise on one of the most prestigious addresses in the Czech capital. But it was not to be. The lot on the corner of Mikulandská street and Národní třída, the avenue that runs from the Vltava River to the edge of Wenceslas Square, is still an unassuming parking lot, belying the fact that it is the most expensive plot in Prague.
The Czech capital Prague was the most expensive city in Central Europe in 2011 to buy residential property with the average price at € 2,500 per square meter, with price levels comparable to Berlin, according to a new study by international consultancy Deloitte. “At the same time, Prague is among the few European cities where the prices of new residential real estate exceed the national average more than twice,” it said.
The so-called “Metropolitan sounding board” (MOZD) – a group of some 60 experts on disciplines ranging from urban affairs, architecture, engineering, sociology and theology – held its first meeting on Saturday to brainstorm about ways to bring Prague into the fold of modern European capitals.
Now 16 months after Prague 7 called a tender to secure new headquarters for the district’s town hall comes a twist in the case: what had previously been presented as a classic public tender has been recast as mere “market research.” Could it be that the district mayor, Marek Ječmének (Civic Democrats, ODS) is looking to de facto cancel the tender without having to admit the process has failed – yet again?
Orco, the Prague-traded debt-ridden property group, sinks back into loss in 2011 with its overall debt to asset ratio worsening. The group is seeking a deal with a key group of bondholders to translate their debt into equity and is looking to sell off more assets to cut the debt burden. If it is not successful in those aims the outlook looks bleak.
Following almost a year of speculation as to whether the Czech developer ECM would be declared bankrupt, or given a chance to restructure, the Prague Municipal Court has decided on the latter. Astin Capital, which represents a group of holders of ECM’s Eurobonds with a face value of over Kč 3 billion, has been given 120 days to present a restructuring plan. If it fails, individual creditors including ECM itself will be given a chance.
Almost a year has passed since the Prague 7 administration issued a tender for new premises. From 11 offers, two potential locations have been selected: part of PPF Group’s Argentine Star project, and Mercury Tower, belonging to the firm Argentinská 38. PPF is asking Kč 762 million; Mercury Tower’s is Kč 845 million. Regardless, Prague 7 doesn’t have the money, and controversial moves to raise it have run into trouble.
District administrations in Prague reportedly plan a home privatization bonanza in 2012, with up to three times as many city-owned apartments set to be sold to their residents as there were in 2011. According to estimates, the sales should raise a total of between Kč 8 billion and Kč 10 billion. The Czech capital has nevertheless been slower than other major towns to off-load its residential properties.