Neinver runs Polish biggest investment

At the beginning of December, Neinver and PKP S.A. have commenced a one of the biggest infrastructural and commercial projects currently underway in Central Europe. The construction of the Railway Station in Katowice, Galeria Katowicka, an office building and road infrastructure began with demolition works of the old station hall and an adjacent overpass.

The reconstruction of the Railway Station in Katowice takes place in the very heart of the capital of the largest metropolis in Poland. The Station is a strategic point for Katowice. Each year, it is visited by 12 million passengers – tourists from Poland and abroad, residents of the City and the whole Agglomeration. 520 trains depart from the Station daily.

“The investment in Katowice is an exceptionally important and prestigious project for us. We are proud to say that nobody else has ever undertaken such a giant operation in the very center of a big city. Katowice is among the fastest-developing cities in Poland. We are positive that an integrated transportation and business center to emerge after the reconstruction will change the City itself and have a beneficial impact of local economy” – says Barbara Topolska, Managing Director at Neinver Polska.

In 2012, the Railway Station in Katowice will become the most modern large station in Poland. It is going to meet all international standards. The investment also involves building an underground bus terminal, Galeria Katowicka and an A-class office building. Based on an agreement with the Katowice City Hall, road infrastructure around the Station will also undergo reconstruction. The basic idea of the architectural design was to thoroughly reorganize and rearrange the public space.

According to the designers’ idea, the building of the new complex is supposed to match the existing architectural forms surrounding the Station. The new Station hall will be based on 16 restored ferroconcrete columns (so-called “umbrella-pillars”), which function as the load-bearing structure of the old building. Two pillars will be displayed to form a veritable “city gate”, a monumental entrance to the Station hall. The new Station building will be spatial, well-lit and equipped with all elements necessary to function adequately, such as cash desks, waiting rooms and retail points. Modern ramps (both moving and fixed) will enable people to move easily throughout the Station and platforms. Upon leaving the Station hall, visitors could directly access Galeria Katowicka, a shopping center comprising four levels, one of which will be situated underground. The most presentable part of the new center, the Fashion Alley (located at +2 level), will replace the current terrace leading towards Szewczyka Square and will connect the new Station with the retail center. The shape of the gallery invokes the images of Katowice’s traditional corner buildings and the pre-war arrangement of the streets in the City Center.

The total retail space of the buildings constituting the complex will amount to 53 000 sq. m, while the office space will feature 24 000 sq. m. The investment’s value is estimated at EUR 240 million. Roughly 2 000 people will be employed with construction works and the new shopping center (Galeria Katowicka) shall provide 1 500 job places. Neinver was selected to run the investment in a public tender, which saw the participation of 16 biggest developers in Poland.

The architectural concept has been devised by a French-based company, SUD Architectes, which has also designed Manufaktura in Łódź and a transportation system in the center of Lyon, among others. The arrangement of Galeria Katowicka is the product of Medusa Group, an architecture company from Bytom, Poland. The general contractor is Strabag, while Cushman&Wakefield is responsible for commercializing the retail space.

During the reconstruction process, the residents of Katowice and travelers are using a temporary station featuring 11 ticket sales points, an information desk, an ATM, deposit boxes and other facilities. The building is adapted for the disabled.

Neinver Poland, the investor, along with its partners, Meyer Bergman, PKP S.A., Katowice City Hall and the Municipal Transport Union of the Upper-Silesian District (KZK GOP), is carrying out an information campaign dubbed “Katowice. Attention: Changes!” Both residents and travelers have been prepared for transit-related changes in the City Center since August 2010. Owing to the campaign, people receive information on all events concerning the Station and the surrounding road infrastructure at key moments.