Prague greenlights major part of Hlavní nádraží transformation

A new roof and zoning plan will allow new buildings to be developed directly by the station, new tram lines, and the redevelopment of the surrounding park. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 24.06.2024 10:23:00 (updated on 24.06.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

City of Prague councilors have approved a plan to change the zoning plan of Prague’s main train station Hlavní nádraží. This development will allow for the transformation of Czechia’s busiest rail station, with Penta Real Estate – the developer in charge of Hlavní nádraží’s reconstruction – now deciding what it may build on top of and around the station.

A transformed landscape

“We want an international competition not only for architecture, but also for overall urbanism, because that's the only way we'll get the best proposals, the best architects, and a proper view from abroad,” said David Musil, head of Penta, soon after Prague’s decision. 

According to Musil, the City of Prague can now determine what it actually wants in the area; what type of buildings will surround the station, how tall they’ll be, what the surrounding green space will look like, and even which new transport connections will serve the main train station. 

Prague Deputy Mayor for Territorial Development Petr Hlaváček says that the Hlavní nádraží development will be like the Florenc 21 project. “The goal is to ensure a clearly defined public interest and its protection during the future development of the site,” said the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR), which is also co-ordinating the Hlavní nádraží project.

Not everyone on board

Some politicians and members of the public have criticized the proposal to build above the main railway station. The council meeting, which lasted for several hours, saw Senator Marek Hilšer and representatives from the Arnika organization express their concerns about the plan. They are troubled by the fact that the initiator is a private investor rather than the city, and that the application process was suspiciously fast and not in the public interest.

Penta, on the other hand, argues that there is a public interest in the project, as it will help reduce the heat island effect created by the tracks. Additionally, the project will connect parts of the city that are currently separated and lacking pedestrian connections. Pavel Streblov, the director of Penta Real Estate for commercial construction, believes that the project could create a new city district above a central transport hub.

Work to start at end of decade

Last year, IPR revealed plans that would modernize and transform the main train station, with the project estimated to launch in 2028. The plan includes the development of a cultural zone and a "station square," to enhance the current park and its surroundings. This will create a more appealing public space and improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. The design will also include features like fountains, drinking water taps, and outdoor cafes.

Additionally, the proposal includes a tram stop in front of the entrance hall and a tram connection to the nearby Masaryk railway station, which will eventually connect to the Prague airport. The city also plans to add a new tram line from the National Museum to Wilsonova and Washingtonova Streets.

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