Moving Brno’s train station — it’s the story that never dies. More ink has been spilled on this transport hub than any station in the country’s history. At its heart, though, it’s probably a development story driven by a power struggle between a whole cast of competing interests: city politicians and bureaucrats, state politicians and bureaucrats, Czech Railways, and well-place land owners. The list must go on and on. If the station was actually moved 400 meters the way some city planners want, some land owners would suddenly be sitting on a fortune, while presumably, other fortunes would be lost.
In the latest instalment, HN writes that Czech Railways will be selling four hectares of land around the main train station to a company called Brno New Station Development (BNSD). Local agencies put the value of the land at around CZK 400m, but it’s unclear if that’s how much will be paid in the end (like, totally unlikely).
It’s one of those standard stories. No one really knows who owns BNSD, the company doesn’t file annual reports, and according to HN, a member of its top management is the deputy chairman of Brno’s ODS chapter. To help matters, BNSD has a 40 year lease on the land that the railways now wants to sell. Oh, and it also has the right of first refusal in the case of a sale of the land. That of course probably means there will be little to no competition if the land actually goes to sale, which must be pretty convenient for someone.
Transport Ministry officials claimed a few years ago this purchase option would not be part of the rental contract, but now, mysteriously it is. Czech Railways isn’t interested in showing the contract and there doesn’t seem to be anyone with the necessary muscle or willpower to make them.
The signs of a mature democracy really are everywhere, aren’t they?
HB Reavis continues to make inroads into Poland. The latest scalp was for the Slovak-based developer is a win in a pair of land tenders for over 17,000 sqm of land in central Warsaw. Polcom Investments, part of the HB Reavis Group will take over the land plus buildings on Chmielna Street. The total transaction value was PLN 171m. Cushman & Wakefield organized the tender for the vendor.
The construction materials and interior arrangement retailer Dedeman will pay €1.6m for a 20,000 sqm plot of land in Bistrita, northern Romania. The Romanian website Wall Street
says it’s purchasing the land from the industrial fittings producer, Ario Bistrita, which went into insolvency, in a transaction due to take place on Oct. 5 this year. Dedeman operates 24 stores open in Romania, but its expansion plan calls for a network of 45 outlets by 2015.
AFI Palace Cotroceni rental income falls
AFI Europe saw its rental income fall 8 percent in the first quarter of 2011, compared with the same period last year. It collected just €5.8m in the first three months of the year compared with €6.2m last year. The company is gearing up to develop another shopping center on land it bought from Laromet in 2007. AFI Europe agreed to pay €78m in all for 156,000 sqm plot (€500 per sqm), but it apparently took threats of execution by the vendor before final payment was made.
UMB Spedition will build Radauti ring road for €82m
UMB Spedition is to build a 16 km ring road around the northern Romanian village of Radauti within 36 months. The builder, which is controlled by Dorinel Umbrarescu, signed the €82m contract for this key infrastructure project in Suceava with the Regional Direction president. The company will also be modernizing the road from Suceava to Botosani.
Anyone still planning to buy agricultural land in order to build on it will really wish they’d gotten around to it back in 2010, as the price for getting an exemption from the agricultural fund just went up. That’s the word from the legal firm Wilson & Partners.
The Amendment was published in the Collection of Acts (Sbírka zákonů) on 28 December 2010 andbecame effective as of 1 January 2011. It will have substantial impact on all the upcomingprojects as in most cases the Payment shall be increased several fold.
Here’s the original. It might just be worth reading, seeing as some land could jump 9x in price.
The huge land deal people have been talking about this week is Ikea’s agreement to purchase of a 51,000 sqm plot not far from the center of Bucharest. The price is said to be €35m, roughly one-third (on a per sqm basis) of what land was going for pre-crisis. Along with a generous helping of retail, the company will also be building residential and office buildings on the site. Intriguingly, company officials claim that no Ikea store is planned for the location.
It’s not clear whether this is by chance or by design, but a couple of Czech state institutions are looking to offload property. For starters, the Ministry of Interior wants to shed 117 properties, including some an old barracks in Klecany and a former factory in Kolin that’s currently used to do laundry for the the ministry. No, that’s not a joke.
Also, we read that plans to move the Charles University hospital in downtown Prague (second district) have been scuppered. This is a serious chunk of property, as the complex stretches across 13.5 hectares, but it’s in a seriously prime location. Anyone who was hoping to get their hands on the land for, say, a luxury residential scheme will probably have to look elsewhere.