Ostrava city centre will boast the Czech Republic’s tallest building

3/7 2020

A unique plot of land in the heart of Ostrava next to 28. října St. – a plot known as the “Ostrava Teardrop” because of its shape – is being sold by the City to an Ostrava-based company which plans to build a commercial and office development incorporating a hotel and apartments. 

Ostrava city centre will boast the Czech Republic’s tallest building

Tall building: visualisation. Source: RT Torax

This vacant land, covering an area of almost 8 300 m2, is being purchased by RT Torax for 61.7 million CZK including VAT. The sale was approved by Ostrava’s City Assembly at its session on Wednesday 24 June.

The plan to sell the land was approved by the City Assembly last May. The deadline for submitting offers to buy the land was the end of September 2019. As part of the sale, the City stipulated certain conditions, and compliance with these conditions was then evaluated by an expert working group. The conditions included a minimum bid price of 37 million CZK. The City also stipulated that the building should have at least 12 above-ground levels, and should comply fully with the City’s currently valid zoning plan and with the spatial regulations issued in January 2019.

Mayor Tomáš Macura gave more details about the site: “Since the 1980s, people have spoken about the Teardrop site as a potential location for a tall building. The Ostrava Tower project is an ideal solution for this location. A 60-storey building with a height of 238 metres would also be the tallest building in the Czech Republic. This new landmark would continue the development of the Karolina district in the heart of Ostrava, providing high-quality residential space and excellent civic amenities. Until 1986 Karolina was the site of a coal mine and a coking plant, but now it has been completely transformed to become a bridge between the historic city centre and the Lower Vítkovice complex.”

Bids were submitted by two potential investors. RT Torax met all the stipulated conditions, and the company was also able to present an attractive – and somewhat unexpected – solution. The investor plans to build a commercial and office complex with two towers – a residential tower (48 floors) and an administrative tower (60 floors).

The residential tower will contain apartments. The lower floors of the administrative tower will contain offices, while the upper part will provide premises for a hotel with a restaurant at the top. The ground floor will offer retail space and a conference centre, and there will also be an underground parking garage for around 700 cars. The ground floor will function as a linking point between the Forum Nová Karolina shopping mall, a main transport artery (28. října Street), and a city centre boulevard (Jantarová Street).

Zuzana Bajgarová, the Deputy Mayor with responsibility for investments, gave more details: “The Karolina district is still quite a sensitive topic for many people, who often perceive a conflict between this new zone and the historic core of the city centre. In my opinion, it is more appropriate to view it as a new, contemporary quarter which will make a very beneficial contribution to the city centre as a whole in the long term. RT Torax has presented a highly ambitious project which corresponds with our vision for the future development of the city. There’s no doubt that the project will face many challenges – after all, far less ambitious projects also face obstacles – but the City is willing to work closely alongside the investor and help find solutions as needed.”

The transfer of ownership is contractually conditional upon the payment of the entire purchase price and the issue of a valid building permit, for which the company must submit an application no later than December 2022. The building must be completed by May 2026. The City has a pre-emptive right to re-purchase the land at any time before the final approval for use is issued.

Tomáš Häring, representing RT Torax, added: “The City of Ostrava’s approval of our purchase of the site expresses their strong support for the project we would like to implement here, and we are very grateful to the City for that. In the upcoming months we will be undertaking a highly challenging geological survey at the site. It is our intention to build an architecturally interesting, functional and innovative building with a strikingly unusual appearance while also maintaining high architectural standards. It will be a unique structure not only in Ostrava, but in the Czech Republic as a whole.”

The “Ostrava Teardrop” site is located in Moravská Ostrava, bounded by 28. října St., the Nová Karolina shopping mall, Těžařská St. and Porážková St. The city centre location is surrounded mainly by buildings containing civic amenities. To the south of the site is an entrance to the Forum Nová Karolina underground parking garage.

The Karolina district is unique in several ways:

  • in 1842 a mine shaft (the Karolina shaft) was dug near today’s Palace Hotel – the shaft was named after the wife of industrialist and banker Salomon Mayer Rothschild
  • despite protests from Moravská Ostrava’s town council, in 1858 the mine-owner Salomon Mayer Rothschild built the first coking plant in the Ostrava region, named the Karolina coke works
  • the new building planned by RT Torax will be 238 metres high, making it the tallest building in the Czech Republic