published: 16.12.2013, 14:12 | updated: 16.12.2013 14:20:09
Prague - The Prague district construction planning office has approved the demolition of the Praha Hotel, a former luxury accommodation facility for top Communist officials built at the end of the 1970s, but the decision can still be appealed, the office announced today.
Part of the public and some experts oppose the demolition.
The owner of the hotel is the PPF Group, owned by the richest Czech Petr Kellner.
PPF says if the verdict takes effect, the demolition works will start in January. It plans to build a school complex instead of the hotel.
The investor filed an application for the demolition in late August.
The planning office gave consent to the demolition of part of the hotel complex, including over 60 garages and a glasshouse on December 5.
PPF spokesman Radek Stavel said the company would like to renew the park that had been on the plot until the 1970s.
Besides, the hotel´s basement should be connected with an adjacent building and a plot where the Open Gate primary and secondary boarding school would be established, similar to the school facility the PPF is running in Babice near Prague.
The Praha (Prague) Hotel was opened in May 1981.
Until the collapse of the communist regime in November 1989, it served as an accommodation facility for the ruling Communist Party (KSC) and the Czechoslovak government. Mainly prominent foreign government delegations and top Communist officials stayed there, including Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.
Many Czechs therefore view the hotel as a symbol of the previous regime.
The new owner bought it at the beginning of 2013 with the intention to demolish it.
In reaction to it, a group of art historians, artists, architects and heritage protectors submitted a proposal for declaring the hotel cultural heritage to the Culture Ministry.
However, not all experts agree with the initiative. Architecture historian Zdenek Lukes questions the hotel´s architectonic value. He has said in the press it is a mediocre building.
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