Prague wants to repurpose Czech Post buildings as 'starter' apartments

Some buildings being sold off by the post office are suitable for housing, and the City Hall hopes to acquire them. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 17.05.2023 13:00:00 (updated on 17.05.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague City Hall would like to take over some of the post offices that are being decommissioned so they can be converted into rental housing for young people. National mail service Czech Post (Česká pošta) will close 35 of its 106 branches in Prague.

Prague has long had a housing crisis, and the construction of new apartments has been slowed by bureaucracy. City Hall is trying to find ways to expand housing for its residents and sees the post office restructuring as an opportunity to acquire real estate that could be used to create new rental housing.

The city’s first project is to acquire part of a post office building on Moravská Street in Prague 2. The building also contained a hostel, which could easily be converted into small flats. Together with Czech Post, City Hall is now analyzing other suitable properties for purchase and preparing a list of them.

Prague Deputy Mayor Alexandra Udženija, responsible for housing, said one of her priorities is apartments for young people who cannot afford to buy or rent an apartment in the current market situation. Acquiring Prague branches of Česká pošta that are suitable for housing would significantly help the city with rental housing capacities, she said in a press release.

“I will not allow these premises to be turned into other offices or short-term housing and hostels. I want the city to live and young people to have a place to live. Of course, I know that this is not a complete solution, but we are in a situation where every apartment counts," Udženija said.

Buildings with small-sized apartments, such as the one in Moravská Street in Prague 2, could be ideal for starter housing as is typical in foreign capitals such as Berlin or Amsterdam, she added.

Interior Ministry intervened to stop the auction

Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda said he called Interior Minister Vít Rakušan, who then asked Czech Post director Miroslav Štěpán to cancel the auction. The postal system and its property fall under the jurisdiction of the Czech Interior Ministry. The city will now be informed in advance about future sales of Czech Post property so it can have a chance to purchase it. “Thanks to the cooperation of the parties involved, we were able to settle this matter even before the start of the online auction,” Svoboda said.

City Councilor Adam Zábranský, responsible for housing in Prague, said transforming the Czech Post building into urban housing is a “win-win” from his point of view. “The post office will get the money it needs, and the city will get a building in return, which it can further develop for the benefit of the people of Prague,” Zábranský said. He added that under the previous City Hall administration, the city bought postal buildings on Durychova Street and Sofijská náměstí.

Czech Post announced in March that it would lay off thousands of employees and close hundreds of branches later this year due to financial issues and fewer people using the company’s services.  

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