A New Opportunity
for Brownfields in Our Region
We often associate the term “brownfield” with forgotten dilapidated buildings and areas without
positive utilization. Presently, however, investors and the public have begun viewing brownfields
from a different perspective. People are starting to view these areas as unique opportunities
for development, and so, brownfields are becoming increasingly sought after by developers and
companies. These entities now often prefer construction in brownfields as opposed to meadows,
which is also in line with modern ecological efforts. The potential of these unused buildings and
areas was the subject of the 15th annual conference, “Brownfields as Opportunities”, hosted by
MSID, the Moravian-Silesian Region and the Institute For Sustainable Development of Settlements.
This year the conference was symbolically
held in one of Ostrava’s most iconic
brownfields, in what used to be the kitchen
of Ostrava’s former and most luxurious hotel
Palace, which highlighted the event’s unique
atmosphere. The attendees, composed
of developers, architects and municipal
representatives, were presented with
the overall vision for the Moravian-Silesian
region’s transformation, the new direction of
MSID, and the POHO 2030 program.
Further blocks of the conferences were
dedicated to completed, ongoing and
scheduled regenerations of brownfields
around the region. The importance of
brownfield development in the context
of city prosperity was then presented by
the representatives of Ostrava and Opava.
Slezan Holding, from Frýdek Místek, later
highlighted brownfield projects in the private
sector, which was followed by a presentation
about the ongoing reconstruction of
the former shopping center Ostravica-Textilia.
Attendees were also given information about
current and planned options for brownfield
regeneration financing in our region.
The following day, guests were taken
on a tour around brownfields, dubbed
the “Brownfield Trip.” This experience
included a number of successful examples of
how life was brought back into brownfields.
Participants were presented with other
inspiring examples of
how these spaces can be used as well. They
visited the Neumann brother’s laundromat,
the exhibition of the Slezan Textile company
history, the location of a future boulevard in
Frýdek Místek and the Palkovická barracks.
The original Hotel National building from
1913 was constructed on the grounds of the
city’s first inn from 1779, called “By the Green
Tree” (U Zeleného Stromu). The building,
which at the time boasted Europe-wide
fame, was designed by the Vienna architect
Wunibald Deininger, and was inspired by the
decorative style which was gaining popularity
at the time. The construction of this hotel,
and its 80 suites, temporarily filled the gap in
accommodation in the industrial city had at
that time. The ground floor had a restaurant
and multiple private club rooms, while the
two upper floors contained guest rooms.
The luxurious hotel also had a bar, called
Amerikan, which hosted the hotel orchestra
and a sweets shop with a ladies salon.
The hotel’s first reconstruction and expansion
project, which increased its capacity to
160 rooms was spearheaded by famous
coffee shop owners Ferdinand and Jacob
Gronner, who purchased the hotel in 1928.
While these changes were underway, a new
wing was also constructed for the hotel,
including a large coffee shop. These four
buildings then made up a complex, which
became known under the familiar name
Hotel Palace. The famous Palace cafe first
opened in 1930, along with the Boccaccio
bar in its basement, which hosted dance
After 1945, the hotel was nationalized, and
became a part of the Interhotels Čedok
national enterprise. Later, in the 60s,
the complex underwent a tasteless
reconstruction. After the turn of the century,
the NBC developer company gained
ownership of the hotel, and in 2008, it
received the city’s approval in the demolition
of most of the complex despite their original
intentions of remodeling it.
The complex was finally saved in 2010,
when it was acquired by the Sedm Stromů
company, which, in spite of complications
this brought them, persisted in realizing their
Kampus Palace project. The project cost over
a hundred million Czech crowns thus far,
and included the construction of 111 guest
rooms, ranging from single suites to triple
rooms. Up to 260 students at a time have
found a temporary home here since 2016.
Presently, after the Sedm Stromů company
split, the complex is owned by Palace Holding
and operated by Kampus Palace. The large
marble staircase is practically all that is left
of the original hotel’s interior. Some parts
of the complex still remain unused, which
offers the opportunity for the expansion of
the already existing student accommodation
in the center of Ostrava.
POSITIV 4/2022 ǀ 23