Companies and business in general are thriving in the West Bohemian metropolis of Pilsen with its population of just over 181,000 people. Apart from the local breweries that export the golden nectar to almost the whole world, there are other companies with a long tradition that are competitive even beyond the borders of the Czech Republic.
With regard to the development field, these undoubtedly also include the Czech-Bavarian company InterCora, which builds and rents commercial real estate for retail, and has recently celebrated their 30th founding anniversary. During this period, they built over 100 shopping centres with a total area of over 2 million sq m, some of which they manage and operate.
Restored shopping centre
And what did such a decadal anniversary celebration look like? On Thursday, 9th November, InterCora festively presented the new look of the Alice shopping centre in the Skvrňany district of Pilsen. The entire project corresponds with current trends and meets the strict ecological criteria imposed on new buildings. The shopping centre was built on the site of the former Jednota housing estate building from the 80s. The whole construction of the Alice shopping centre was very fast. Demolition works started only this January – Penny Market closed on 4th January, 2023.
The new centre with an area of 2,500 sq m was inaugurated by representatives of the developer and companies collaborating on the construction as well as the current tenants. At the beginning, both owners of InterCora thanked everyone who participated in the company’s success – employees and business partners, as well as city administrations.
Ing. Ivan Hlaváček, who makes up, together with Dr. Günther Zembsch, the tandem of owners of the InterCora Group, told Development News: “We managed to establish an internal strategy – to demolish buildings that are not functional and are energetically disadvantageous. We decided that building a brand-new building was better than rebuilding or renovating and trying to bring in improvements.” That it was the right decision was stated by the Mayor of the municipal district of Plzeň 3, Mgr. David Procházka, who praised the good cooperation between the developer and the city on the project. Ing. Ivan Hlaváček subsequently added that the area around the building still awaits final completion: “Collaboration with the city of Pilsen proves a very good cooperation, as we left the adjacent plots to the city, but brought them into a state when they are prepared for a completion of a park, which is to be opened next year.”
The main tenant – the Penny Market store and the MÚÚÚ butcher’s shop – were retained in the new shopping centre. The original tenants were then joined by TEDI, Pepco, SUPER ZOO, Devětsil pharmacy and TABAKRA tobacco.
The celebrations included a conference and a theatre performance
After the inauguration of the new centre, the guests moved to the Vienna House Easy Plzeň hotel for a conference which InterCora has recently been organizing on annual basis, this time held under the auspices of the Mayor of Pilsen, Mgr. Roman Zarzycký. This year’s main topic was entitled Transformation of a Trader in the Age of Data. The engaging introductory presentation was delivered by Dr. Günther Zembsch, who has been involved in the field of development for over 40 years, and also acts as an analyst and a successful visionary of new concepts. The conference culminated in an economic analysis presented by Ing. Miroslav Singer, former Governor of the Czech National Bank.
However, the celebrations did not end with the conclusion of the official part of the conference; they continued with an evening cultural programme held at the New Stage of the Josef Kajetán Tyl Theatre, providing the guests with the opportunity to watch the musical Candide by Leonard Bernstein.
Arnošt Wagner, Photo: Author and InterCora’s archive
We asked both CEOs of InterCora:
What did you, as investors, consider to be the biggest obstacle in the implementing of the project?
Answered by Dr. Günther Zembsch: Definitely the location of the object, including parking spaces in the existing residential development, so, it was necessary to take into account the issues of the surrounding area. On the one hand, in terms of the number of parking spaces, and at the same time, it was necessary to create a cultural environment in the middle of a localized zone with an area of 2.500 m², where a new city park should be created. This will naturally connect to retail and a restaurant, which should transition into a park with a children’s playground and another network of urban fixtures and fittings, benches, etc. So, there will gradually be a nice living area for the residents there.
What was the main reason when considering whether to reconstruct the original building or demolish it and build a completely new shopping centre?
Answered by Ing. Ivan Hlaváček: It was decided mainly on account of economic aspects and calculations. We drew up a proposal with a building and zoning permit. Of course, we carefully considered and compared various options. In the end, we came to the conclusion that the complete demolition of the building, which was eventually done, and the construction of a completely new centre was a more economical and time-efficient option than pursuing some kind of revitalization, which would have involved a number of compromises – and the new Alice centre would still not have reached the required standard. The economy of the new operation is multiply better than it would have been with the best possible effort to revitalize the original building. So, this great advantage was preceded by the right decision.