JUNE 2021

Development Newsletter

New robotics R&D and production centre to be built at the Mošnov zone

Leading digital tech company ABB Czech Republic has unveiled its plans for a new robotics R&D and production centre to be built at the Ostrava Airport Multimodal Park (OAMP). The OAMP is part of the Ostrava-Mošnov Strategic Industrial Zone (SIZ), located on land owned by the City of Ostrava. The new centre will be unique within ABB’s global network due to the comprehensive range of its activities: these will comprise not only research and development (with a particular focus on laser robotics applications), but also production (making high-precision peripherals for robots) and a global repair centre.

The investment will cost over 300 million CZK in total, and in its initial phase it will create around 120 qualified jobs. The new centre will be opened in the first half of 2022, and it will feature some of the most advanced automated and digital production processes in the world.

ABB decided to locate this investment in Ostrava thanks to the strong availability of highly skilled technical professionals in the city and the region; the company cultivates close links with higher education institutions, particularly Ostrava’s VŠB Technical University. Another factor in the decision was the location of the OAMP, which offers a range of options as it is situated on major international air, rail and road routes. The company intends to fully harness the potential for eco-friendly rail transport at the site.

Source of images ABB Czech Republic

 

Ostrava is a top city for business

Ostrava has recently been ranked as one of the Czech Republic’s top business cities in the largest national survey of business potential. In the “City for Business” rankings, Ostrava was evaluated as the best place for business in the Moravian-Silesian Region, placed highly both for its overall business environment and for the helpfulness of its local authorities. According to the survey’s organizers, Ostrava ranked very highly in terms of the helpfulness of the public authorities – a parameter that the City influences directly. The City Authority focuses keenly on areas such as public transport and the cultural scene.

The City Authority maximizes convenience for businesses by offering long opening hours, and its website is well organized and contains a wealth of useful business-related information. Ostrava’s excellent overall ranking also reflected its first-place finish in the organizers’ test of the City’s electronic communication, when “mystery callers” made fictitious business-related inquiries to evaluate the quality and speed of the responses.

More information

Source (only in Czech)

 

We’re learning how to improve Ostrava’s housing estates

It’s clear to everybody that housing estates throughout the Czech Republic are in need of modernization. Now, Ostrava is learning how to improve its housing estates in conjunction with a team of researchers from the city’s VŠB Technical University and the Quality of Life Centre. If housing estates are to be a fully-fledged part of a city, they require constant ongoing modernization and integration into their wider environment. However, small-scale changes (including minor repairs of prefabricated high-rise apartment blocks or painting façades in bright colours) are no longer enough to revitalize these areas; a more comprehensive approach is essential.

One aspect of this comprehensive approach involves expanding the options for using the open spaces between the individual apartment blocks. Other steps include improving pedestrian and cycle access or revitalizing greenery.

Ostrava has been involved in a project headed by experts from the Technical University’s Faculty of Civil Engineering and the Quality of Life Centre; the aim of the project was to develop new approaches to the regeneration of Ostrava’s housing estates.

The conclusions reached by the project were presented at three pilot housing estates in Ostrava: Jirská, Odborářská and Poruba’s 7th district. Architects and urban planners showed and explained the innovative principles and approaches that Ostrava can apply when planning the development of all the city’s housing estates. The presentations also included specific proposals for the phased conceptual transformation of all three pilot locations.

More information (only in Czech)

Source of photographs: archive of the Quality of Life Centre

 

New Supreme Construction Authority to be based in Ostrava

The Czech Parliament has recently approved new legislation on construction, which among numerous other changes has created a new institution – the Supreme Construction Authority. This national-level authority will have around 400 employees, and most of them will work at the headquarters in Ostrava.

This is the first national authority to be based in Ostrava; besides the capital Prague, other national authorities are also based in the provincial cities Brno and Olomouc. The presence of the Supreme Construction Authority will boost Ostrava’s prestige and help to expand the range of vacancies available for qualified staff.

It has not yet been decided where the authority’s headquarters will be; Ostrava City Authority has drawn up a shortlist, and priority will go to buildings that are currently unused (or will soon be vacated) – for example, the former Faculty of Economics (part of Ostrava’s Technical University) in the city centre. Two years ago, the university decided to move the faculty to a new building at its Poruba campus.

Source: Czech News Agency (ČTK)

 

Ostrava’s excellent rating is renewed

On 23 June 2021, the rating agency Moody’s renewed Ostrava’s existing rating score of Aa3 (outlook stable).

Moody’s confirmed the rating following a detailed analysis of the City’s financial management during the past year, taking into consideration its current financial situation and future prospects as well as factoring in various types of risks – environmental, governmental and societal (especially the impact of the pandemic).

The rating is an important guide for investors, as it expresses the probability that the City will meet its debt payments in full and on schedule. The rating thus affects creditors’ willingness to lend to the rating-holder, as well as influencing the conditions attached to the credit. The higher the rating, the more positive is the perception of the rating-holder among creditors.

The City of Ostrava has been rated regularly by Moody’s since 2002, when it received the rating Baa1. Since then, the City’s rating (and outlook) has been improved on several occasions. The City has been rated Aa3 (the same rating as the Czech Republic as a whole) since October 2019.

 

Ostrava’s Vagonka factory has a state-of-the-art new paint shop

Last month, Škoda Vagonka – a leading Czech manufacturer of rail vehicles – completed the most recent phase in its long-term project which will double the production capacity of the company’s Vítkovice plant.

This latest phase (another in a series of investments running to hundreds of millions of CZK) has given the company a state-of-the-art new paint shop, automatic machining centres, a welding robot, and technical equipment for a further three welding lines.

The paint shop is one of the largest and modern facilities of its type in Central Europe, and it is able to spray a surface larger than a football pitch every week. This specialist facility will be used to paint rail vehicles built to European specifications as well as those designed for Eastern markets.

The modernization project represents a total investment of around 1 billion CZK, and it will take two years to complete.

Besides the production facility itself, the company will also be building new employee facilities, expanding its warehouses, improving its site logistics, and more.

Škoda Vagonka purchased land from the Vítkovice company, enabling it to double the size of its plant – and greatly expand production capacity. Of course, the company has also recruited new staff (around 400 during the past year). When the modernization project is complete, the company will have recruited around 900 new staff across a range of different professions.

Source: Škoda Vagonka


Attractive modern apartment living in the heart of the city

One of the City’s key strategic goals is the revitalization of Ostrava city centre. Important ways of breathing new life into the historic central district include the construction of new apartment blocks on vacant plots of land, as well as the modernization of existing apartment blocks.

A flagship project is the new apartment complex on Janáčkova Street – an example of a highly attractive and forward-looking residential development that is helping the City to achieve its strategic goal. The complex has been built on a formerly vacant piece of land next to the historic slaughterhouse, which is being converted into a contemporary art gallery. The new development has 26 apartments (all for rental) on seven floors.

The complex has now been officially approved for use, so it is ready to welcome its first tenants. The process of concluding rental agreements was launched at the end of May 2021, and the first tenants will receive the keys to their brand-new apartments at the beginning of July.

The residential development in Janáčkova Street is not the last project in the revitalization of this part of central Ostrava. Plans are underway to develop an entire city block along the extension to Masná Street; building work is set to take place over the next several years.

More information about the apartment complex in Janáčkova Street.

 

New innovation platform created at Ostrava’s Technical University

On Tuesday 8 June 2021, Ostrava’s VŠB Technical University ceremonially opened its new innovation platform, which is based on collaboration with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a top-ranking German research institute

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is a national research institute comparable to the national academies of sciences that operate in many countries. The main aim of the joint innovation platform is to develop more sustainable methods of industrial production. As part of the platform, researchers will explore the potential of various technological solutions for energy management, artificial intelligence, and smart industrial production.

The new platform will generate innovative solutions that will help industry reduce emission (especially carbon dioxide). The platform partners will investigate systems for heat energy storage or heat recuperation in industrial production.

More information: VŠB–Technical University of Ostrava

Source of photographs: archive of the VŠB–Technical University of Ostrava

 

London isn’t the only city with double-decker buses – now you can ride through Ostrava with a view!

On Saturday 5 June, Ostrava’s public transport company launched a new summer bus service linking two of the city’s top tourist attractions – the Lower Vítkovice area and the zoo. The service features double-decker buses, and it will run every weekend (plus on Czech and Polish public holidays) at regular 30-minute intervals. The fare will be the same as on all Ostrava’s public transport services.

The double-decker weekend shuttle service for visitors to Lower Vítkovice and the zoo was originally scheduled to begin last July, but it had to be postponed until this year due to the pandemic. However, these distinctive turquoise buses have already been in use since November 2020, serving route no. 78 (on weekdays).

Besides being a tourist attraction in its own right, the new shuttle service will help reduce pressure on the car parking facilities at the zoo, which currently struggle to cope with demand especially at weekends. Visitors will be able to park in Lower Vítkovice and enjoy top-deck views on their route to the zoo. The buses will also stop for passengers at Stodolní Street and the Music Conservatory.

The lower decks of the buses are fully air-conditioned, and both decks feature wi-fi and USB charging points. Although the vehicles are mainly designed for seated passengers, they also include space for standing as well as for wheelchairs and prams.

 

Other news

 

Online Moravian-Silesian MICE Tour was a great success

The first online Moravian-Silesian MICE Tour took place on 3 June 2021. The purpose of the tour was to put institutions from the Moravian-Silesian Region in touch with representatives of tourism agencies and associations, as well as presenting aspects of the region that still remain little-known.

The programme included presentations of hotels, tourist destinations, industrial heritage sites in Ostrava, and other organizations from the region – all with the aim of raising registered participants’ awareness of the wide range of opportunities that are available in the MICE sector (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions).

The basis of the tour was a video presentation featuring interviews with representatives of various companies and organizations, along with video tours of interior and exterior spaces. This was followed by the live M-S tourism presentation, in which the head of the regional tourism office presented a range of interesting cultural and sporting events as well as examples of ideal incentive options.

The online MICE Tour concluded with a B2B workshop where participants could establish new contacts, discuss potential cooperation, or share experience.

The online event was attended by a large number of participants from the tourism industry, who even in these very challenging times were able to find out plenty of new and useful information as well as setting up new business contacts.

More information: Convention Ostrava

 

New cycle route to link Poruba directly to the city centre

Ostrava’s Municipal Studio for Urban Planning and Architecture (MAPPA) is currently working on a project to improve the cycling infrastructure along one of the city’s main east-west axes (28. října - Opavská), which links the city centre with Poruba, the most populous municipal district. For several years, citizens have been demanding a safe and direct cycle route along this axis, and it is one of the City’s key strategic goals.

The first phase of the project took place in June 2021; this involved simple changes to signage that did not require any actual construction work. The changes affected relatively unproblematic sections of the route, from the Nová Ves crossroads to the junction of 1. máje St. and Přemyslovců St., as well as at the Miloš Sýkora Bridge in the city centre.

MAPPA is now conducting a survey of public demand for this type of cycling infrastructure, and the feedback from the survey will be used when planning more complicated changes requiring structural alterations. According to experts from the studio, the best solution will be to create a dedicated route that is separate from the roadway and is split into two parts, one for cyclists and the other for pedestrians.

More information: MAPPA (only in Czech)

 

World Para Ice Hockey Championships returned to Ostrava

In June 2021, Ostrava hosted one of the biggest sporting events to be held in the Czech Republic this year – the World Para Ice Hockey Championships. The event has returned to Ostrava after a two-year gap; Ostrava is the only city to have hosted the championships twice in a row.

Although the capacity of the arena was limited this year to just 2500 fans, and although the tournament was accompanied by a number of other restrictions connected with the COVID-19 pandemic, hockey fans still turned up in large numbers to enjoy the games and the adjacent fan zone.

The Czech team went into the tournament hoping to build on its excellent fourth-place finish in the last championships, but it ultimately finished in a (still highly creditable) fifth place. The overall winners this year were the USA, with an emphatic victory over Canada in the final.