The Černý Most centre will be expanded when in full operation

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield have recently announced that the Černý Most shopping centre will undergo modernization and will be expanded by 9.100 m², representing 32 shops and restaurants and three new cinema screening rooms.

The inauguration is planned for the autumn 2025. The construction began in May, emphasising the lowest possible carbon footprint and using materials from local suppliers. The centre will be fully operational throughout the reconstruction.

Karolína Šustrová has been the Head of Operations for the Czech Republic and Slovakia at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield for 12 years. She usually deals with asset management of shopping centres, but due to the expansion of CČM, she has been, since this January, temporarily managing the leasing department. As part of her agenda, she also covers the topic of sustainability, which has, in recent years, become a really key issue within the Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Group. 

What is the current status of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, which operates Centrum Černý Most?  

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is currently present all over the world, including outside Europe. The original Unibail-Rodamco was represented only in continental Europe, but after the acquisition of Westfield they acquired a large portfolio in Great Britain and America. It is a company that focuses on premium shopping centres in the largest metropolises. They focus relatively narrowly in this type of assets, and the portfolio in our region corresponds with this. We currently have three shopping centres in Prague: Centrum Černý Most, Westfield Chodov and Metropole Zličín. And we also manage the Bratislava Aupark Shopping Centre from Prague, which is now undergoing a divestment process, i.e. a sell-off. 

Has the structure changed in any way? 

When it comes to management, the company’s management puts a relatively great power into the hands of local teams. As for the matrix structure, the Czech team falls under the regional Chief Operating Officer Jakub Skwarlo, who covers an area of Germany, Austria, Poland, as well as the Czech Republic and Slovakia. However, even the individual departments in the Czech Republic have a large degree of autonomy.

You are planning to expand CČM within two years and to do so at full operation, as is usual for Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.

That is right. The expansion of the Černý Most Centre – and investment in retail in general – has actually been quite unique since interest rates increased. We are therefore happy that this project was approved internally. At the same time, it proves that the company still sees potential in our region. In fact, the project was also created due to the fact that we identified the prerequisites for the expansion of the centre by additional areas, both from the point of view of customers and retailers’, i.e. tenants’ demand – as well as those who are interested in the centre. 

The project mainly concerns the expansion of the offer of restaurants and entertainment areas. 

Yes, but the areas for fashion and other retail concepts will also be expanded. We are talking about 9,100 sq m of additional leasable area, which will be added in the northeastern part of the existing shopping centre. The reconstruction will take place when in full operation, which means that we will first build the new part and only later connect it to the existing building in such a way that it has as little impact on customers and operations as possible. 

You mentioned that it will focus on food court and entertainment. Are you planning a new catering concept there? 

The concept of the Dining Plaza in Chodov is in a certain way reminiscent of what we want to introduce in Černý Most. Today’s offer no longer meets customers’ expectations and demands, so we want to significantly expand it, including restaurants with waiting staff, etc. At the same time, the entire zone will be even better adjusted to families with children, and common seating areas, for instant, will be supplemented with a children’s corner.

This looks like yet another attraction for visitors

Our vision is to expand the gastro offer and improve the overall atmosphere. There are relatively few restaurants in this catchment area. Therefore, we believe that we are able to attract customers there and create an atmosphere different from the ‘classic food court’ that we know from other shopping centres, so that they feel comfortable there. At the same time, we will open three new cinema screening rooms, which represents another expansion to the area of entertainment. The Černý Most centre is primarily aimed at families with children, but this represents yet another element for creditworthy clientele.

The building will be certified in BREEAM Excellent. Can you tell us the reasons?  

Of course. We have actually been working with BREEAM certification for a long time. We use it for the entire Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield portfolio. The Černý Most Centre now belongs to the pan-European leader in terms of BREEAM in Use certification. It achieves the Excellent for the building level – and even the Outstanding for management level. It is, in a certain way, recognized by all investors and it is something that really plays a fundamental role, even in our non-financial reports. We consider BREEAM a very good guide to what we should focus on in the area of sustainability. It is quite comprehensive, it really monitors all areas from biodiversity to energy efficiency to work with the community, etc. We have also been working with the BREEAM certification in a long-term with local partners who help us. 

And what about the building itself? 

In this case, it will proceed in the BREEAM New Construction Excellent standard, which is a set of standards for very demanding conditions that we have to meet within the construction. They relate to energy efficiency, water recycling, photovoltaic panels, air recovery, material standards, etc. We plan to re-certify the centre after completion of work on BREEAM in Use V6, which is the sixth version of the more demanding Double Outstanding, that is, Outstanding for both management and the building.

Does it mean that you will recycle the original materials and pay as much attention as possible to the surrounding environment? 

I dare say that Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield is truly a leader in sustainability. As the first player in commercial real estate, the entire group is committed to decarbonization by 2050, which is confirmed by Science Based Targets. We take it seriously. It is not just about certifications, but we really have a sustainability strategy. As for the construction, it is partly related to BREEAM in Use, but there are also some of our internal regulations. In connection with them, we check the carbon footprint of the entire building very carefully and try to reuse and recycle some of its parts, whether they are parts of facades, elements from railings, floors, etc. What plays a major role is the use of low-emission concrete, or cement. It is to significantly reduce the carbon footprint. Builders don’t like it very much, because the material takes longer to dry, but the saving in terms of CO₂ is huge. We also have solar panels on the Černý Most Centre and more will be installed on the roofs of the new extension and used for its operation.

Let’s go back to water recycling. How will it work?  

Greywater and rainwater will be used for flushing of all toilets as well as for watering greenery such as our communal garden situated behind the centre in direction to the residential area. It is a really nice project. We have recently received the Sustainability Star Award for it at the Sustainability Summit.  

Is it a public space then? 

It is public, but it does not mean that anyone can just walk in there. Those interested must be registered – but it is for free. The event participants will also get a lot of advice on what to grow and when and how to do it.

Do you also have bees? 

There is a total of 10 bee colonies there, so we also have honey, which we give out as gifts to customers and our employees during various events. 

Is there any other interesting issue you would like to talk about? 

The unique Dining Plaza restaurant zone will operate with a minimum number of one-use plastics. We will use a new eco-friendly dishwasher and our tenants will serve food on porcelain dishes with metal cutlery. This means that we will significantly reduce the use of plastic and plastic waste, which is extremely important. We do the same in Chodov, and it is certainly a significant step from the point of view of waste.  

What can customers look forward to once it is completed? 

The number of shops and restaurants at the Černý Most Centre will increase by 32, i.e. to a total of 213. But as a result of the fact that part of the centre is to be restructured, there will be 22 new restaurants and 20 new shops. Apart from the aforementioned restaurants and the entire Dining Plaza concept, where I think customers will feel comfortable, these also include VIP cinemas – three luxurious cinema screening rooms built on the roof. Customers will have the opportunity to order food and drinks, use the most comfortable seats and enjoy the most modern technologies in terms of sound and visuals during the performance. Maxíkov, the children’s attraction where, among other things, we organize regular English courses, theatre, yoga for children, etc., will continue its operation and will also do so during the reconstruction. 

To what extent will the retail area increase? 

The existing arcade on the ground floor will be followed by a section with new shops, where some of the existing tenants will be relocated. There will also be new concepts, larger establishments, and at the same time a relatively interesting number of new brands as 9,100 sq m is quite a large area. What is also worth mentioning is the fact that the food court – Dining Plaza – will be moved to the upper floor and the food offer will be maintained during the reconstruction. 

What is the rental situation? 

There was a lot of interest in the project. The new part of the centre is almost fully leased. I will not reveal the names of the new brands yet, but the customers certainly have something to look forward to.  

Arnošt Wagner

Photo: Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield archive

New opportunities emerge in uncertain times

The 34th edition of the MIPIM trade fair took place in Cannes between 12th and 15th March. The main motto of this year’s MIPIM was ‘Housing matters!’.

Over 20,000 participants gathered in the south of France, including investors, real estate experts and representatives of public and state administration from a total of 90 countries. On an area of 19,500 sq m, they could visit 340 stands and exhibitions. The traditional participants, as well as new delegations from North America, the Middle East, South East Asia and other countries, demonstrated attractive investment areas at MIPIM.

MIPIM once again attracted representatives of the world’s largest institutional investors, such as pension funds or mutual funds, insurance companies, university endowments and sovereign wealth funds. Overall, MIPIM welcomed investors managing over 4 trillion euros in assets.

MIPIM 2024 has so far been the most sustainable edition characterized by four commitments: to make MIPIM cleaner, greener, more diverse and to increase its social impact.

This year, the Czech Republic remained on the sidelines – unlike its neighbouring countries (with the exception of Slovakia) – after a long time, not one city or region was presented at MIPIM.

Nevertheless, the representatives of Czech, or global locally operating companies found their way to Cannes. We asked some of them for a brief summary of their impressions.

  1. How did you take in the main theme of this year’s MIPIM and in what form?
  2. We are preparing an article about artificial intelligence in architecture. Was this theme evident at the fair?
  3. Which presentations were interesting and in a certain way inspirational for you?
  4. The MIPIM Awards competition always enjoys great interest in Cannes. Was any of the submitted projects one of your favourites?

M.Sc. Tero Loukonen, Head of Research, PASSERINVEST GROUP, a.s.

  1. Housing and its various sub-categories (co-living, student housing, multifamily, etc.) were present in various discussions during the week. A lack of affordable housing is a big discussion topic in many markets. The half-day summit ‘Housing matters!’ held on Monday was an inspirational one. Sustainability, Net Zero and ESG were also very much discussed in various sessions during the week. I felt that investment market sentiment was better than in last year’s EXPO REAL, although the MIPIM discussions did not clearly indicated as to when the investment market would become more active, even though many expect increase in transactions this year. Many speakers felt that we were at the bottom or close to the bottom when it came to the re-evaluation process. Some were of the opinion that now is the right time to start looking for opportunities to invest while others believed that re-evaluation in Europe was not over yet. Nevertheless, the market seems to be more confident in where the interest rates are heading, and the investors can see that.
  2. Yes, it was. Several speakers were talking about AI in various conference sessions. And I also attended the ‘AI and Real Estate’ session, which was actually one of the most attended conference sessions held in the large auditorium of ‘Leaders’ Perspective Stage’. Firstly, it was an impressive presentation given by professor from Columbia University followed by a panel discussion where a director from a global architectural company spoke about the way the AI changes architects’ work. He had actually presented ‘AI and Architecture’ in SOUP Urban Festival in 2023.
  3. Yes, there were plenty of them, so I will just name a few here. In the ‘Housing matters!’ half-day summit, which was held on Monday, there was a presentation by Kai-Uwe Bergmann, a partner of the Bjarke Ingels Group, on ‘Housing scenarios for the future’. On Tuesday morning, there was the ‘Places where people want to work’ session held at London stand, followed by a very good discussion in the ‘Global investors vision’ session held on Tuesday afternoon. The Wednesday’s session ‘AI and Real Estate’, which I have already mentioned, was a very impressive one. The ‘Trends in U.S. Real Estate and Capital Markets’ held on Wednesday was a great discussion. On Thursday, there was a really memorable discussion held at the ‘Macroeconomics and raising financing’ session. Otherwise, the presentations held at the exhibitor stands of Grand Paris and NEOM from Saudi Arabia were also impressive and memorable.
  4. I attended the MIPIM Awards ceremony on Thursday evening, so, I had a chance to see all the nominees and winners. I liked Krallerhof’s project Atmosphere by Hadi Teherani Architects from the Best Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure Project category. And the Lyf one-north Singapore in the Best Residential Project category. The Ellikon Commercial Hub in the Best New Mega Development category also looked amazing. So, I had more than one favourite in the Awards. It was a great show as usual.

Ing. arch. Oleg Haman, President of the Community of Architects, CEO and co-founder of the architectural and design office CASUA

  1. The theme of this year’s MIPIM was resilient and sustainable cities. The exhibition of the Middle East countries corresponded with this perfectly. The cities presented were completely new and situated in the wild or in the desert. From architectural point of view, these were mainly the works of large, renowned London studios.
  2. Personally, I did not notice the theme of AI in architecture at MIPIM. But that does not mean it wasn’t there.
  3. MIPIM presentations – especially those given by former politicians – are really very inspiring. I was planning to go to the presentation of the former Prime Minister of Finland, but it didn’t coincide with the cocktail party we were hosting.
  4. This year, I registered four of them – Royal Belge in Brussels, Esbjerg Maritime Centre in Denmark, Atmosphere by Krallerhof in Leogang, Austria, and Living Places in Copenhagen.

Michal Hink, lawyer, Partner at DLA Piper Prague LLP

  1. Considering that I deal with the topic of rental housing (Built to Rent/PRS project) a lot, I’ve noticed that this topic resonated at MIPIM quite frequently. For one thing, our office dealt with it, and we also saw that our clients were interested in both these projects and investments in this segment.
  2. Personally, I didn’t notice the AI theme much at the fair. I probably just didn’t follow it much nor searched for it in the individual discussion meetings.
  3. This year, I did not pay much attention to the presentations held at the fair, but rather to personal meetings and meetings with specific clients, which means that my input in this area wouldn’t be too relevant.
  4. Projects that captured my attention from among the MIPIM AWARDS finalists this year were the Trojena Ski Village project in the Best new Mega Development category and the Elektrownia Powisłe project in the Best Urban Regeneration category.

Milan Stříteský, CEO, Business Network CZ s.r.o., Official Sales Representatives of RX France for MIPIM, MAPIC, MIPIM ASIA for CR & SR

  1. This year’s MIPIM has been the crucial event for the international real estate community. The 2024 edition is taking place at a time of global political and economic uncertainty, the ongoing urgency to address climate change, and crucial challenges facing key real estate sectors such as commercial and residential property. And MIPIM aims to help the global community discover solutions to long-term structural challenges through high-level networking and discussions. More than 200 delegates from the Czech Republic and Slovakia participated in the MIPIM trade fair. In addition to the traditional presence of companies like CTP Invest, new exhibitors such as CRESTYL GROUP and 2N showcased their products and services. The event also featured representation from several hundred companies within the real estate business sector in the Czech and Slovak markets. This year we have collaborated again with ULI, WBCSD, IIGCC, and World Green Building Council to find international solutions through variety of MIPIM conference and networking programs, which includes high-profile businesses such as Bouygues & Schneider. As an event, MIPIM also has its own role to play. 2024 was our most sustainable exhibition to date, distinguished by four commitments: making MIPIM cleaner, greener, and more diverse, and increasing our positive social impact. This year the residential sector which is actively seeking new models to meet the market demand, from rental to ownership and other life-cycle transitions has been one of the key topics discussed at MIPIM during ‘Housing Matters!’, the new half day conference launched in pre-opening of MIPIM. The event brough together investors, developers, local authorities, associations, and urban experts, exploring solutions to the rising housing demands, soaring prices and housing inequality and sharing visions of a sustainable housing future. Finally, understanding the vital role of fresh perspectives and leading industry voices in transforming the real estate sector, we launched the MIPIM Challengers program this year. This innovative initiative is designed to offer 16 young built environment professionals from around the globe the chance to showcase their ideas at MIPIM. We received an overwhelming response, with over 150 essays submitted from 20 different countries. While the majority of entries originated from Western Europe, our final selection is diverse, featuring participants from further afield, including Mauritius, South Africa, and the USA. This mix underscores our commitment to bringing together a wide range of insights and experiences to drive forward-thinking change in the real estate industry.
  2. We suggest you to have a look to the RIBA Artificial Intelligence Report discussed at MIPIM and which revealed that 41% of architects are now using AI and 43% of those architects believe it has improved the efficiency of their design process. IA has been a hot topic discussed several times during the event (e.g. Sanna Marin, and a dedicated session ‘AI and real estate: How can it be used properly, what are the implications, how revolutionary will it be?’ has been organized in the MIPIM Official programme.
  3. Please read our final release mentioning conversations at MIPIM regarding new areas of opportunity and optimism.
  4. The MIPIM Awards showcase the world’s most sustainable and visionary projects since 1991. This year, 209 projects of completed or yet to be built projects from 39 countries have been submitted for the globally renowned real estate competition. The six key criteria are overall sustainability, integration of the project in its environment and community, quality of the user experience, economic contribution, originality of the concept, and architectural qualities. The winners were selected by both the jury’s and MIPIM registered delegates’ votes, cast online and on site.

Lenka Kostrounová, Real Estate Finance Manager at ČSOB

I would summarize the impressions regardless of the questions, because I had slightly different priorities at MIPIM. Overall, I would like to summarize my impressions from this year’s MIPIM: As always, it was a great pleasure to meet the important European players from the field of development and investment, to exchange opinions and share experiences. Otherwise, this year’s fair resonated with topics such as rental and social housing as well as cohabitation. It is evident that the lack of apartments is not only a problem in the Czech Republic, but also in a large part of Europe. Another key theme of the fair was ESG and AI in real estate. These topics are becoming more and more important and it is great to find out during mutual discussions with the others and the participants how one or the other understands this topic and how far along they are with their implementation. As for the ESG, there is nothing precisely lined up apart from the basic facts, such as the obligations to reduce the carbon footprint or reporting rules. It is up to each country/company to find a way as to how to achieve the goal. I am glad that ČSOB pays a lot of attention to the topic and is one of the active members of the Council for Sustainable Buildings.

With regard to the receding inflation and the fact that interest rates in euros are unlikely to rise any more (they are even falling in CZK), the mood among the participants seemed significantly more optimistic than in the previous year. However, the same cannot be said in the case of German visitors, because inflation, rising rates and the impact on valuations there were often very dramatic. Anyone interested in the real estate world took part in the event, even though the ticket price of more than EUR 2,000 has a big impact on companies’ budgets.

I was very surprised by the non-participation of the representatives of the Czech public and state administration. It was the first time since I have been going to MIPIM, which is over 15 years, that there was no stand of Czech cities. I do not share the opinion that we Czechs can meet at home. After all, it is about showing the world/Europe what construction is being planned in our country, what has already turned out well and why, who is active on the market. I only met the representatives of Ostrava (Hana Tichánková, Deputy Mayor for strategic development, and her colleagues Jiří Hudec, Ondřej Vysloužil and Adéla Koudelová), who were there this year as visitors, not exhibitors. Many thanks for their interest – Ostrava is a dynamically developing city and the fact that they actively participate in the fair every year, perceive European trends and try to adapt to them, clearly contributes to their PR among both investors and developers. The complete opposite of the Czech approach was Poland and their cities, which did everything for being marketed at MIPIM in order to making their projects (and participant) visible.

Zuzana Chudoba, Managing Director, BTR Consulting s.r.o.

I will not answer the individual questions, but I will summarize my remarks: The entire MIPIM trade fair was intertwined by the theme of housing. That is, in any form – student, long-term, short-term, co-living, senior. It is obvious that demographic and economic development, plus housing needs, not only in Europe, have exceeded the offer, to which we now respond with a delay. Which is emphasised by the sub-theme of MIPIM, Housing matters! Overall, I felt a positive mood in the area of investment in the housing sector, which will certainly be supported this year by falling interest rates and greater confidence in all markets. And also, the lack of housing or accommodation capacities and a certain increase in prices in this area.

It is a shame that the Czech Republic, nota bene Prague, which has been dealing with the lack of housing supply in various forms of housing for a long time, did not participate in this important European event, and thus showed, in my opinion, that they are not interested in cooperation with foreign investors, who could certainly help to partly solve the current problem with their investments.

In general, one could feel that the participation at MIPIM was lower than in previous years. Which is certainly connected with the constantly tense situation in the area of available resources and the willingness to invest. However, according to the opinions of various investment groups, it seems that the market could pick up this year and as of the second half of the year, we will – hopefully – see more transactions compared to the previous year throughout Europe. The approach of countries such as MIPIM’s main partner – Saudi Arabia or Oman – is very interesting. Both countries presented not only very interesting large-scale projects in their capital cities, but also the ability to permit the newly emerging districts and start construction in a record time compared to the Czech Republic (maximum of two years), as well as the commitment to build and complete them and also to improve the overall living comfort in their specific climatic conditions. Overall, I would say that the mood was positive with an even more positive outlook for the future.

  • Best cultural, sports & education project: Esbjerg Maritime Center, Esbjerg, Denmark

The traditional top of MIPIM’s events was the final ceremony of the MIPIM Awards’ announcement at the final gala evening in the Palais de Festivals in Cannes.

The winners are:

  • Best conversion project: Royale Belge, Brussels, Belgium
  • Best cultural, sports & education project: Esbjerg Maritime Center, Esbjerg, Denmark
  • Best hospitality, tourism & leisure project: ATMOSPHERE by Krallerhof, Leogang, Austria
  • Best industrial & logistics project: ESR Higashi Ogishima Distribution Centre, Kawasaki, Japan
  • Best mixed-use project: Royale Belge, Brussels, Belgium
  • Best office & business project: St. John’s Terminal, New York, United States
  • Best residential project: Living Places Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Best urban regeneration project: BASSIN 7, Aarhus, Denmark
  • Best new development: Casa BFF, Milan, Italy
  • Best new mega development: The Ellinikon Commercial Hub, Metropolitan Pole of Hellinikon, Athens, Greece
  • Special jury awards: ESR Higashi Ogishima Distribution Centre, Kawasaki, Japan

Replacing lighting is just the beginning

Replacing lighting is only the first step in optimizing the building‘s operation. Facility managers and building managers more frequently turn to lighting control systems that not only reduce energy consumption, but also increase comfort and control. 

Samuel Prezbruch, sales manager of Nikatron s.r.o., informed us about the key aspects in the implementation of the lighting control system.

Let’s start by asking you to tell our readers what Nikatron does?

Our main focus is the development and manufacture of the Savee control system for managing lighting and other energy-intensive systems in buildings. In doing so, we help our customers reduce operating costs and increase the sustainability of their premises.

So, is it just a management application?

That’s a good question! At Savee, we focus on a comprehensive solution that includes both software and hardware elements. On one side stands our app, which is a central management and display device. At the same time, we also develop special hardware, i.e. smart boxes that communicate with the app and are directly involved in lighting control. So yes, Savee is focusing on both software and hardware to provide users with the most comprehensive and efficient solution to manage their spaces. We call it a 2-in-1 system.

What are the benefits of your solution?

The Savee system offers several key benefits. These include the ability to be implemented into existing cabling, eliminating the need for costly and lengthy renovations. These costly reconstructions are one of the most common reasons why a project becomes many times more expensive and ultimately does not happen at all. That’s why we focused on eliminating these problems and we’ve created a wireless technology that allows our boxes to communicate with each other. Adding Savee boxes to the wiring and activating the software can therefore be done without stopping operations ‘overnight’. As it is a web-based application, it can be viewed on all types of operating systems and brands including PC, tablet and phone. It is therefore possible to centrally control lighting from a single point. With advanced monitoring and data analysis features, users also gain valuable information to optimize their energy processes. In addition, Savee enhances comfort and safety in the building, providing users with the ability to customize lighting to their needs and preferences, while monitoring the status of lights and preventing potential failures.

What all is needed for implementation?

At the outset, we meet with the customer at their premises to establish their needs and wishes. We analyse the current lighting condition or the condition of the existing cabling. Often, in addition to controlling the lights, the customer also requires a complete or partial lighting replacement. In this case, we will invite a lighting partner to work with us on the project to design the lighting replacement together with the control, i.e. a solution suitable for the client. We then create a quotation together with a description of the solution and send it to the client. If requested by the client, we will include additional extensions in the lighting control design where the added benefit of Savee products will become apparent. This is the scalability and robustness of the network. If the project expands in the future, we can just ‘buy the boxes’, integrate them into the cabling and control, for example, another 200 lights using the existing infrastructure.

So, who is Savee suitable for?

At the outset, it should be said that we are not at all focused-on houses, flats and apartment buildings. There, the competition is sufficiently saturated and diverse. On the contrary, we focus our activities and products on industrial halls, technology parks, sports complexes, shopping centres and municipalities. We have both indoor and outdoor product variants, so weather conditions are not a problem for us. Our implementation into existing cabling makes us suitable for brownfield projects and retrofit buildings. Of course, new build and emerging projects are no problem for us either.

And what specifically can you offer for facility managers?

We support facility managers by providing a comprehensive solution for the management and control of lighting in their buildings. This includes central control options, data analysis to identify cost-saving measures, information on overall lighting savings and a short payback period for the investment.

Do you deal only with the domestic market or do you venture abroad as well?

Currently, our company is focusing on the Czech and Slovak market, where we are gradually building a network of partners at the level of integration companies and lighting companies. We are also planning to expand abroad, especially to Austria, where we have already started the first negotiations with partners. We believe that our innovative solutions can also bring value to customers on a European scale.

What are the next plans for the Savee product?

Our goal is to continuously develop and improve the Savee product to best meet the needs of our customers. We plan to expand functionality, integrate with other systems such as BMS and provide ongoing support and service to our partners to ensure maximum satisfaction with our products and services. I would like to invite all who are interested in the Savee system to the AgroKomplex fair, which will take place from 21st to 24th May to 24 in Nitra, Slovakia.


Photo: Savee Archive

Laboratory for the intelligent building automation LOXONE Campus

The Loxone Campus was inaugurated in Kollerschlag, Austria, near the Czech and German borders, last year and thus wrote a new chapter for the dynamically developing Loxone company. 

The architectural masterpiece fits harmoniously into the plein-air of the green hills surrounding the town of Kollerschlag. And this is one of the paths where this year’s packed programme of events, organized by our magazine for its partners and entrepreneurs from the field of development and facility management, went. The visit to the Loxone Campus in Kollerschlag, Austria, took place at the invitation of Pavel Lískovec, Branch Manager of the Czech branch in České Budějovice. 

Loxone Campus

The total area of the campus is 8 ha, but it is not noticeable at first glance, because the Campus is perfectly integrated into the undulating terrain. It includes, among other things, warehouse premises and a logistics centre with an area of 6,000 sq m, offices with a capacity for 300 employees, as well as an hotel complex with 80 rooms, a restaurant and a wellness centre with an outdoor heated infinite pool. Everything is equipped with modern intelligent building automation systems.

The entire project cost EUR 70 million. The planned budget was 12% lower, which is remarkable following the changes in the prices of construction work, because no special solutions had to be implemented during the construction, which was excellently designed by the ARKFORM studio and was, from the beginning, fitted with top technologies. 

Harsh beginnings

There are two owners behind the company, and no other shareholders, which helps a lot in making strategic decisions in order to move forward.

When the founding members of the company, Martin and Thomas, were building their houses at the beginning of 2008, they were already faced with the fact that there was quite a lot of technology inside – heat recovery, air conditioning, heating, heat pumps, shading, lighting, etc. So, they looked around the market to be able to connect all the technologies together and not become their slaves. That was also the initial impulse when they started thinking about the connection of all technologies in houses. After two years, the portfolio gradually began to expand and today, it produces lights, speakers, etc., but according to the founders, Loxone is still primarily a software company.

The initial vision was that when you come home, there will be an appropriate temperature and tuned up energy consumption, which has worked out great. Many difficulties had to be overcome in the initial five years. There was even a moment of a threat that they would withdraw from the project and the company would come to an end, because not everything went exactly well at the beginning. The reason was that people – clients – did not know the new technologies. They were new to them, and at that time, building automation belonged to luxury real estate, etc. However, despite the crisis, the company managed to be directed to further growth. 

How did the Campus originate

In 2018, the owners Martin Öller and Thomas Moser, the founders of the Loxone Group, took a 100-day holiday and although they had been involved with everything until then, they handed all the competence over to the managers. The employees didn’t know what was going on, and the owners did not follow what was happening inside the company at all at that time because they trusted ‘their’ people. In those ‘free’ days, they strategically considered what the production programme would be in the next 10 years. That is when the idea to build LOXONE Campus was born. First, they cleared up what the size of the premises needed to be. This resulted in a 13-storey building that was originally supposed to be built in this beautiful country setting full of green fields and meadows. However, this idea did not find understanding among the local authorities.

So, they started to think about a campus that would fit in here and blend in with the surroundings. Although there is a 600-kW photovoltaic system on the roof, there are almost 80% green roofs. When you build offices for 300 people, everything needs to be thought through, which resulted in the motto: in order for employees to do a good job, they need quality facilities. 

Restaurant Glorious Bastards

That is why one of the attractions is the franchise of the famous Glorious Bastards chain known from Vienna, Linz and Salzburg. It is characterized by an industrial style and a firmly set design. Another thing was the thought that the employees as well as the partners would need to be educated. That is why many people come here not only from Europe, but from all over the world. The complex therefore also includes an hotel, which will be 80% filled by the LOXONE company with their clients and partners.

Pavel Lískovec, head of Loxone’s České Budějovice branch, says: “This year, we have seven training sessions planned here from us, from Czech. If each of the cooperating countries or local branches does the same, the sessions will be taken in turns over and over again. When designing the complex, the architectural plan took into account people’s need to also have a place to relax. That is why there is also a wellness centre with an outdoor infinite pool for relaxation there.”  

The Loxone managers wanted to be able to present new technologies and equipment at the Campus, so it was necessary to build a lecture hall as well as large warehouses sized to meet the requirements for the next 10 years.

Pavel Lískovec adds: “It is kind of a short story about the creation of LOXONE Campus. We thought that it was the height of what the owners wanted to prove. Nevertheless, they have recently announced that this is only the beginning. This campus is one big laboratory. We started with luxury villa residences. Today, we deal with ordinary family houses and apartments with lesser civic amenities, but developers are increasingly asking us to prepare for building automation, even with regard to today’s EU requirements. So, instead of having one expert for each system, we connect them all together, which results in great savings – there is no need for that much hardware, and we bring much more comfort into the project.” 

Arnošt Wagner

Photo: DE&FA Archive

Great thanks for the invitation and the above-standard possibility of a two-day tour of the entire LOXONE Campus, including areas where a regular visitor cannot get to, go to Pavel Lískovec and his Czech colleagues. At the same time, we also greatly appreciate the warm welcome and invitation to the gala dinner extended by the owners of the company and the main managers of the LOXONE Group. 


The KLM development company is building retail in the Czech Republic

Almost 20 years ago, three entrepreneurs – Rastislav Čačko, Vladimír Buček and Michal Kozáček – merged their companies and founded the KLM development company. Its name has nothing to do with the airline but represents the initials of their wives‘ first names. 

At first, they focused on the development of apartments and logistics and business premises, but gradually they started specializing in the development of retail centres, to which they currently pay most attention. Two of the partners, Ing. Rastislav Čačko a Ing. Vladimír Buček, informed us about KLM’s activities. 

Which centre was the first one?

RČ: The first retail park was built in Zvolen in 2012. I come from there, so, we naturally had very good relations there. We managed to buy quite a lot of land there and gradually built the entire retail park, which today occupies an area of about 40 hectares. It has become the most significant retail centre in central Slovakia. Today, there are Metro, Merkury Market, OBI, several stores such as Lidl, Tesco, McDonald’s, KFC, Burger King and also our OC Klokan, which is quite successful and in which we applied many green elements that we started using in shopping centres and will continue to do so.  

What is your vision for the Czech real estate market?

RČ: In Slovakia, we have opened 27 shopping centres worth about 3.5 billion CZK in approximately 10 years, and we have been preparing to enter the Czech Republic for about two years. We bought several projects in various stages of development, mostly with planning permission. We are completing the process of obtaining building permits and gradually starting the construction of particular shopping centres. Preparation was very complicated because the prices of construction work increased significantly two years ago. Therefore, in addition to obtaining a building permit, our decision when to start construction was also influenced by high costs, even though the rent was already agreed in advance and its amount did not reflect reality. So we adjusted the projects that did not fully meet the parameters of our standards, and at the same time, we also adjusted contracts with our future tenants. After all, the contractual conditions and the form of the rental agreement in Slovakia differ from those in the Czech Republic. Today, we have a comprehensive team in the Czech Republic and we have our own CEO who leads it. We managed to successfully open the first project in Humpolec and the second one in Lipník nad Bečvou. We are currently starting construction in Bystřice pod Hostýnem and in Úpice. 

VB: It needs to be said that the impulse to expand into the Czech Republic came from tenants who were very satisfied with our work in Slovakia and wanted us in the Czech Republic as well. That was the reason for us to say: OK, let’s see how it works there. We managed to buy a few decent projects and continue looking further. We don’t want to stay with the six we have. We want about 20 of them. The plan is to have three or four projects a year. We are now in the phase of looking for other acquisitions.

Which projects will you implement in the near future?

RČ: We have more of them in progress; one of the, let’s say, closest one is in Uničov, where we are just before having the building permit issued. It will be a nice project, 7,000 sq m, and then we are preparing another one in Karlovy Vary. There are several other prospective offers on our table, which we are evaluating further. 

What is the added value of Klokan projects?

RČ: It is the care of the environment, which – as we all feel – is undergoing significant changes. Retail parks, logistics centres and similar buildings cause overheating of the environment and draining of surface water from the site. On that account, we were also looking, in cooperation with civic associations, for some construction options that would mitigate these negative effects a little. The goal is for shopping centres to have less impact on the environment and to create a more pleasant environment in the city. So that retail does not only represent an economic model, but also a benefit for the community. 

You have already seen it work in Slovakia…

RČ: We tried it in Zvolen, where we invested EUR 1.5 million in these green measures. We started with a green roof on a large area – 13,000 sq m. In its time, it was the largest green roof in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and I think it works very well. We continued with green walls, drainage tiles, complex accumulation of water in a particular place, which is collected in storage tanks and then used for irrigation. In Zvolen, we planted a unique alley with more than 100 oaks and an educational trail in cooperation with the owner of the SuperZoo network, Dušan Plaček, and the local Technical University. 

VB: Now, these ESG measures are a must and are required. We were a little ahead of our time. Three years ago, we started planning, and when Tatrabanka was financing this property for us, they said they needed bigger projects. And we are already doing all that. You don’t have to force us into it. Our Zvolen project was the first one that Tatrabanka financed under the ESG measures.

Let’s go back to the Czech Republic, where you come with your projects…

RČ: We entered the Czech Republic having experience from Slovakia, where we have already done a good number of projects and where we represent the largest developer of retail parks. Of course, everything started with surveys. We drove around Western Europe; we saw how it worked there and which model was successful. Both, in Slovakia and Czechia, there are suitable conditions for retail parks, because they do not work everywhere. But here, they do. There is a lot of interest from tenants, because they want to be closer to the customer. We used to start in cities of 20,000 people. The catchment area gradually decreased and now we are somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 inhabitants per such a shopping centre. In the Czech Republic, it is a little less, although I must say that in the post-covid period, or in times of energy crisis, not all tenants want to go to places with 5,000 or 6,000 inhabitants and that they prefer larger centres. The first two projects have been successfully opened and I hope that this year we will open a centre in Úpice and in Bystřice pod Hostýnem. We will start building in Uničov, we will open it in a year, and the same goes for Karlovy Vary. The tenants are interested in long-term cooperation, they like the functioning green measures, they appreciate, for instance, the decrease in electricity consumption by an average of 30% compared to older projects. That was a very surprising number even for me. 

Are you trying to adapt projects to the location? Is each of them somehow unique?

RČ: Entering each city is subjected to the basic rule that a certain group of tenants is interested. We mostly know their expansion plans, we know where they are going, where they are not located and where they would like to go. Then we choose the most suitable location in the city with respect to future traffic situation in a horizon of maybe 20 years, so that we don’t build something that would become separated in three years’ time by motorways and would not be interesting anymore. So, we evaluate the zoning plan and the possibilities of connecting to utility services. It is not always possible, so, in some projects, we also changed the zoning plan in order to be able to build. So far, we have always succeeded, even though it increases the duration of the project. Today, it is no longer the case that you open two years after purchasing the land. On average, it takes four to five years.  

VB: Over the years, we have already standardized the projects, determined the minimum clear height required by the tenants. We make sure to save energy. Heating is needed, but on the other hand, the customer must feel comfortable there. So, it is all set to certain modules that we repeat, and they only differ in their positioning within the terrain like in Humpolec. The positioning in Karlovy Vary will be complicated just as it is in the unstable environment in Myjava; there, we place the construction more into the ground, but it almost always looks the same on the outside.  

Why did you choose the name OC KLOKAN?

RČ: Three or four years ago, we wanted to create a certain name that was, as part of the construction of our shopping centres, close to people and that would identify us as KLM, so, we asked a marketing agency to find us a name. From several options, we chose the word ‘KLOKAN’ (kangaroo), which is comprehensible in both Slovak and Czech, evokes a pleasant feeling, is close to families, and also evokes what the retail park is used for, i.e. a relatively quick shopping. This implies the typical kangaroo sign – a hop, which makes the ‘hop in for shopping’ a beautiful slogan that goes with the name. In the less than two years that the ‘KLOKAN’ has been around, we already have eight shopping centres and this year, there will be 13 or 14. It is starting to take off nicely and we have very good feedback about the network itself and the redesign of the stores. 

VB: The task was to make the name applicable in the Czech Republic as well, because at that time we knew that we wanted to expand there. At the same time, we wanted the name to be popular, to evoke positive emotions, and I think Klokan fulfils that. 

You are talking about development. That means that you are constantly active in searching for suitable opportunities, right?

RČ: We are constantly looking for interesting plots of land in excellent locations with good transport accessibility in basically the whole of the Czech Republic. We are really looking for plots with an area of 1 ha at minimum, with the upper limit not limited, but we are more or less interested in plots up to 5 ha. We try to make the expansion regular. We have a certain goal of opening at least three or four projects a year. However, this does not limit us, so, if there are only two of them, nothing happens. We won’t do it at any cost, but the land has to be top notch so that tenants and customers are happy, shop there, and the shopping centre is profitable and successful. 

So, when the opportunities are right, you really have no limits… 

VB: So far, we register a great interest from partners to expand, expand branches, but there are also new brands coming. They see that the Czech market, even though it is much more saturated than in Slovakia, still represents a large area. In doing so, they de facto give us the impetus to search for new areas. 


Arnošt Wagner

Photo: KLM Archive


Czech Republic’s roadmap towards a carbon-neutral built environment by 2050

The Czech Republic has committed to supporting Europe’s target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. In alignment with this goal, the Czech Green Building Council (CZGBC) has introduced a comprehensive Zero Carbon Roadmap. 

This document serves as a foundational guide for attaining a carbon-neutral built environment within the Czech Republic, outlining specific steps and measures necessary to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. The CZGBC has already presented the document to the relevant ministries and offered assistance in the implementation of the recommended measures.

Extensive international support

The initiative aligns with the global commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement, signed by 195 countries, including the Czech Republic. Moreover, it supports the European Green Deal, aiming to make Europe a carbon-neutral continent by 2050. Statistical data confirm that without fundamental changes in the construction and buildings sector, achieving decarbonisation is virtually unrealistic.

“Through annual consultations with key stakeholders, barriers to decarbonization in the construction sector have been identified, and corresponding steps to overcome them have been proposed. The CZGBC has engaged with government representatives and offered assistance in implementing the recommended measures,” says Simona Kalvoda, CZGBC Executive Director. The decarbonization roadmap received support from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Taiwan Business EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund, and the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC).

Similar roadmaps have been developed in ten other European countries, including Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Key actors in decarbonization

The primary stakeholders in the Czech Republic’s decarbonization efforts include government bodies such as the Ministries of Industry and Trade, Environment, Regional Development, and Finance. Additionally, participants in the construction value chain, financial sector, professional organizations, research institutions, and educational establishments play vital roles. The roadmap provides recommendations for each of these entities.

Categories of Proposed Measures

The proposed measures in the roadmap are categorized into four key areas:

  1. Accelerating Renovations and Implementing Energy Savings 
  2. Reducing Embedded Emissions
  3. Development of Community Energy
  4. Cross-Cutting Measures

Specific Steps for Stakeholders

Individual actors in the decarbonization process are provided with specific steps, including the development of a national strategy for climate protection, engaging the financial sector in renovation efforts, supporting manufacturers in decarbonizing production, and updating technical standards for greater use of natural and recycled materials.

The transition to sustainable energy and green building requires a coordinated approach. While some businesses have taken steps, collaboration and support from state institutions are crucial. The CZGBC has engaged with government representatives and presented the roadmap to ensure favourable conditions for implementation.

The Czech Republic’s commitment to the Zero Carbon Roadmap signifies a proactive stance in contributing to Europe’s carbon-neutral aspirations. The comprehensive approach outlined in the roadmap emphasizes the importance of collaboration among various stakeholders to achieve meaningful and effective decarbonization in the built environment.

Access to the Roadmap

The entire Zero Carbon Roadmap document is available for download on the [Czech Green Building Council’s website](

Entering the Czech market can be smooth

Founding a new branch or entering the Czech market can represent an insurmountable obstacle for foreign as well as domestic companies.  However, one only needs to find a reliable local partner who can help not only in his area of expertise, but also provide a lot of interesting and useful advice. 

Mgr. Jan Pešl, the Sales Manager of the Brno company Compactive, s. r. o, told us more about it.  

What does Compactive do?

We provide comprehensive services in the field of electrical installations, information and communication technologies. We design and deliver complete solutions for low-current and high-current electrical systems connected by data networks with information, communication and security system and audio and video technology. This is also the origin of our company’s motto: “Harmony in technologies”. 

It means that you are not just consultants for foreign companies that are considering entering the Czech market? 

We certainly are not, but we have direct experience working for foreign clients and we found out that we actually enjoy it and most importantly that we are good at it and have something to offer our customers. I think we understood what a foreign company needs when entering unknown waters.

What is it?

They need a partner who is a professional in his field and who does not only blindly fulfil requirements, but proactively looks for suitable solutions and advises and offers more suitable alternatives.

How did you get to that? 

We have been cooperating in the long term with various developers who approach us for the design and implementation of fitouts for branches of foreign companies. We strive to establish close relationships with our customers, to become their equal partner and not just one of many suppliers. This naturally places high demands on us. Quality comes first for us and we decided that we don’t want to compete for the lowest price in tenders because we don’t like following the statement of materials and assembly blindly without thinking about the work. What is to our advantage is that we communicate in English directly with the project manager and the customer’s IT department. We want to create added value and devise solutions together with the client. This is what makes customers turn to us repeatedly and recommend us to other companies in their area. That is what we are extremely grateful for.

Do you only do electrical installations for foreign clients?  

It usually starts with the electrical installation, but after a few meetings and finding mutual trust, we find out that the client’s needs go far beyond the simple laying of cables. We kind of open up their eyes and broaden their horizons. As a result, our work is very creative and involves a lot of listening as well as making recommendations based on our experience and constant education. After all, the portfolio of our services is quite broad – we deal with high-current and low-current installations, data networks, data centres, building security (camera, access, security or fire systems) as well as audio and video technology. Apart from our field of business, however, we can connect the client with other interesting companies that have a similar mindset and provide, for instance, interior design, furniture, lighting, internet connectivity and VPN. It is a well-functioning ecosystem. Right now, we are completing an order for an American pharmaceutical company, equipping new offices in Prague. The project offers a wide variety of activities, from the installation of structured cabling through coordination with other professions to the configuration of the IT infrastructure in cooperation with the client’s IT specialists on the other side of the globe. The quality of our work and smooth communication made such an impression on the client that he himself told us that he would like to have all branches in the world only handled by ourselves. This is the best image for us.

How do your customers view the cooperation? 

They are certainly grateful for a partner who is local to the Czech market and they don’t have to think about everything by themselves. They gradually build trust in us and, for instance, start consulting us about the next course of action. If we know, we advise, if we don’t, we put them in touch with someone who might know. Moreover, we also offer post-warranty services, so our cooperation continues in the long term. When the premises turn insufficient after some time, we often cooperate on extensions or equipping new premises.

How is the situation with Czech legislation and standards in the field of electricity?

Of course, Czech standards must be observed, no exceptions apply there. Clients are sometimes aware of some basics, but they rather find themselves groping in the dark and thus rely on the representatives of the individual professions who can help them with everything and look after everything. It is all about trust. Naturally, large corporations often have their own standards, but these must be set aside if they are in direct conflict with Czech standards. For instance, when we were implementing the Brno branch of Primark in cooperation with an Irish electrical company, we constantly consulted the client’s internal standards versus Czech standards. Some of their standards set the safety bar high above the legislation, but others were, on the contrary, inadmissible, so we searched for a suitable alternative. And this is something that the customer cannot be prepared for in advance.  

Where do you see the niche when a foreign client enters the Czech market? 

Certainly in the difficulty of finding someone the foreign company can turn to. Ignorance and lack of clarity on how to proceed play a big role. A company coming from abroad usually finds one big partner to cover the entire operation, which is understandable. On the other hand, this increases the risk of not being able to meet all the client’s needs and requirements. Last but not least, there is a problem of a language barrier, because even today, English is still not standard in all companies.

How could the whole process be improved? 

I think both parties would benefit from a platform where they could learn about companies entering the Czech market and about local partners who can help with the entry. If, as a state, we are trying to motivate foreign companies to establish themselves here, we should make the whole process as easy as possible for them, not only from legislative point of view, but also from factual point of view as in practice, things usually don’t go exactly as planned. 

Mgr. Jan Pešl, Sales Manager 


Photo: Compactive archive



Crestyl has become a regional developer

Originally a Czech developer and investor, Crestyl strengthened their position in the Central European residential real estate market at the end of the year and is working on 70 projects in Central Europe.

In one of the largest real estate transactions in Central and Eastern Europe, they took full control of a major Polish residential developer, Spravia. In the challenging real estate environment, Crestyl has thus expanded their operation in the exceptionally high-performing Polish residential segment. Due to the transaction, Crestyl’s total balance sheet has increased from 850 million to 1.3 billion EUR with the intention of further growth in both the Czech Republic and Poland. Crestyl’s total portfolio now includes 70 projects in Central Europe.

“While the Czech Republic is our home market and we rely heavily on it, Poland is a key part of our future – we want to continue to develop there significantly,” says Omar Koleilat, co-founder and CEO of the Crestyl Group.

Crestyl has been operating in the Czech real estate market for over 20 years and is one of the leading developers with a broad portfolio of residential and commercial projects. In all their projects they focus on quality, design, superior processing, use of first-class materials, and overall comfort for their residents and visitors. Spravia, which Crestyl acquired, is one of the largest developers of residential real estate in Poland. Since 1999, they have already completed 147 projects and their individual stages, building more than 21,500 residential units and premises.

“Crestyl is known for their long-term specialization in mixed-use projects. We want make good use of our experience in this segment and our knowledge of design and architecture in the Polish real estate market and expand Spravia’s scope beyond its traditional residential projects,” adds Simon Johnson, COO of Crestyl Group and its CEO in the Czech Republic. He refers to, for instance, the largest project in the centre of Prague, Savarin, the recently completed DOCK quarter in Prague’s Libeň, or the newly emerging Hagibor quarter near the Želivského underground station in Prague.”

Kamienica przy Kinie – Poznaň


Photo: Crestyl’s Archive

Delta Pods Architects reprezents four principles

Delta Pods Architects reprezents four principles: Ecology, economy, social aspects and design

DELTA is an international provider of real estate services and is represented by approximately 400 employees at several locations in mother country of Austria, then in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine. DELTA’s services include architecture, construction management and consulting.

Its subsidiary Delta Pods Architects is an internationally active architecture firm with a transnational, interdisciplinary team with around 160 architects, civil engineers and building technicians. In addition to Austria, there are currently offices in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine. In addition to architectural and general planning services, the company also specializes in digital tools (BIM), interior design and local construction supervision. Delta Pods Architects has already realized numerous projects in the following sectors: research, health, production, education, housing and labour. Reference projects include the Elisabethinen Wien Mitte, which was awarded the 2023 monument protection medal, as well as pharmaceutical projects for Boehringer I. and Biomay, among others. The office developed by Delta Pods Architects in Slovakia for Takeda was honoured with the Innovative Office of the Year award in 2023.

Klaus Ransmayr, Chief Design Officer at Delta Pods Architects answered the question od Development News.


The DELTA Group established a new brand of Delta Pods Architects at the turn of the year. What can clients expect?

We are a team of architects, technicians and planners who work together for common values and goals: A sustainable future for all and enhancing the quality of life through a responsible building culture. The architecture of Delta Pods Architects is the expression of a basic attitude. We align our position with four principles: Ecology, economy, social aspects and design. Therefore, we always research the latest technology and listen carefully to the needs of our clients and future users. Our solutions are versatile in their use, attractive in their design, and sustainable in their materials. As a result, they outlast the life cycle of entire generations.


Klaus Ransmayr, CDO, Delta Pods Architects, is an internationally educated architect and creative based in Vienna with substantial experience in conceptual design, schematic design and design development of office, mixed-use, commercial, residential, industrial, and other complex and award-winning developments. For Delta Pods Architects, he is responsible for leading the design for all projects in design and planning phase and a key person in the management team for business development and acquisition. As CDO, Klaus Ransmayr holds the leadership role in guiding projects from the initiation through the design, ensuring continuity of design intent and quality through the planning and execution up until the delivery of the project. In this role, he represents the company towards stakeholders and carries the responsibility for design as well as strategic and commercial decisions. His substantial technical, commercial knowledge and experience, and the ability to guide the project teams through the entire design process, have helped and allowed him to deliver numerous projects successfully. Previous to his position at Delta Pods Architects, Klaus has worked as partner and Design Director at HENN as well as Asymptote Architecture and Coop Himmelb(l)au.

What are your goals? What will be this international team of architects specialized in?

We strongly believe that architects have a responsibility to shape the world to the better. For us, our slogan ‘Beyond Building’ means creating worlds, not just buildings. We think of them in the contexts of environment and surroundings, architecture and technology, design and usage, footprint and life circle. This claim is complex and multidimensional. We meet this challenge with precise solutions. Our services range from architecture, interior design, general planning to local construction supervision/management. We are pioneers in using digital tools and BIM and see sustainability consulting as one of our core-strengths. We see architecture as a communicative process with a high level of social responsibility, too. We plan and design sustainable buildings and are convinced that we are building a better world together. The user, the client and all other parties involved in the planning process are intensively involved in the development of the concept. Thus, we accompany our clients from the first idea to the complete implementation of the project.

Why did you start Delta Pods Architects just now? Is there any special reason for such timing?

The DELTA Group was founded 47 years ago, always having architecture as one of its core-businesses. Throughout the years, each branch developed an independent architectural department. Over the last years we noticed that projects get more and more complex and the demand to involve a large number of specialists is ever increasing. For this we see it as a big potential to combine all our international experience and expertise to be able to best serve those demands. We are now able to react a lot more agile to local resource requirements and are always able to find the best people for the job within our company. 

You were appointed as a head of the team; what are your visions for the future and what do you want to achieve together?

The future of architecture is a vibrant and evolving field, shaped by a combination of technological advancements, environmental concerns and changing human needs. I’m a very passionate architect with a strong believe in the potential of architecture’s impact on society. The future holds endless possibilities for innovation, creativity, and positive impact. My vision for the future of Delta Pods Architects is not just about buildings, but creating spaces that enhance the quality of life, foster sustainable living and inspire future generations. 

Dynamically developing new technologies are increasingly entering to construction technologies. But I am afraid, that this trend is not at the same level not in all the countries. How do you want to work with an affordable offer in different states?

Delta Pods Architects is working globally but acting locally. This means we totally understand that there are alternating standards and also expectations in different countries. We have a strong focus on maintaining the architectural quality independent of where the project is being realized. This is only possible with a strong local presence. 

What possibilities or chances for modernization do you see in the Czech Republic? DELTA has implemented top projects here, so how do you want to follow the successful ones?

The Czech Republic has seen some very high-level ambitious projects recently. We are extremely happy about this development and hope, that this trend continuous and that we will continue to contribute to this in the future. We have strengthened our team focusing on early-stage design and conceptualization as well as sustainability consulting. In Austria sustainability in architecture transitioned from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’. We hope that this will also be increasingly demanded in the Czech Republic.

What was the first important task you decided to do?

The DELTA Group has a very strong team with focus on later design phases. Therefore, one of the first things we as Delta Pods Architects decided to do was to strengthen the conceptual and schematic design phase. We installed a design department at our Vienna office being responsible for overseeing the design for all projects. The synergy of our teams makes it easier for us to achieve maximum architectural quality in our projects at an international level. There is such a vast number of realised projects within the DELTA Group. Getting an overview of what has been done and making this accessible to everyone within the company was also one of the first tasks we started. This is key to understanding the level of experience and expertise not only internal but also external.

PR Marcela Kolářová a Arnošt Wagner

Photo: Delta’s Archive

Industry leaders are marked out by efficient and sustainable warehouse operations

Although the development of the real estate market in the Czech Republic has been turbulent in recent years, one long-term factor has persisted: record high occupancy of logistics properties in desirable locations, accompanied by a limited supply of land for further development. 

At the same time, customer demand for space adding value beyond four walls and a roof is steadily growing. Whether it’s a new development or operations under an existing lease, they require warehouse space that can be used to its maximum potential, with an emphasis on economy and sustainability.

A range of solutions in one place

Prologis, a global leader in logistics real estate, recently introduced a unique service called Prologis Essentials. This centralized platform can be used by customers in logistics buildings for the convenient purchasing of warehouse equipment and advanced solutions directly from Prologis. These include handling equipment, racking systems, security features, automation elements, robots, and a wide range of other useful amenities, with installation and maintenance provided by Prologis through a proven network of partners. In a standard scenario, the customer would have to source and purchase such solutions themselves, making a significant impact on their costs and the speed of setting up their warehouse operations.

“We have been operating in the global market for 40 years, and during that time, we have gained a wealth of knowledge about our customers’ needs. We have now translated this knowledge into a practical platform. We know what logistics warehouse customers want, and the challenges they typically experience, so we’re committed to meeting their needs and enabling them to operate as efficiently as possible. In addition, the scale of our business allows us to offer very competitive pricing for the implementation of these solutions,” explains Vojtěch Štěpnička, Prologis Essentials Solutions Manager for the Czech Republic.

Energy savings are key

The Essentials Solutions range is divided into four categories: operations, energy and sustainability, electromobility, and workforce. These topics are increasingly at the forefront of customers’ minds, and the Prologis Essentials platform aims to help them optimize their businesses in these areas by innovating in a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way. 

“On the Czech market, we see that energy-efficient solutions are increasingly in-demand. We take a multi-faceted approach to this; firstly, we take full account of energy developments in the region when designing new buildings. For example, the recently completed speculative construction of two new distribution centres at Prologis Park Prague-D1 Ostředek created spaces that are completely independent of gas, and that feature high-quality LED lighting with motion sensors or heat pumps as standard. Secondly, for customers in our older buildings, we can explore and tailor solutions to increase energy efficiency in their operations through Prologis Essentials,” says Vojtěch Štěpnička. Prologis already offers customers the option of installing electric car charging infrastructure to support electromobility, while in the near future, the company intends to implement a pilot project in the Czech Republic for the construction of solar power plants in its parks.

Tailored financing

Products and services available through the Prologis Essentials platform are suitable for every type of business at any stage of operations, from those just getting to work in a new warehouse, to those looking to reconfigure or expand their premises or move to a new location, with options available to suit a wide of range of activities. As such, Prologis offers an equally wide variety of financing options: rental, operating lease, purchase, or in the case of older racking systems, buy-back. The Essentials platform is also unique in that its solutions are available to all logistics customers, regardless of whether or not they are based in a Prologis building. “Deferring investment can save costs in the short term, but we know from experience that industry leaders tend to excel in creating superior operational efficiency. The pressure to increase efficiency will gradually drive logistics real estate users to invest in automation, and the Essentials platform offers the ideal tools to benefit from these changes without incurring high upfront costs,” concludes Vojtěch Štěpnička.