The site of the former Zbrojovka complex changed considerably as the year went on. The initial, preliminary phase of the site development was successfully completed and after 12 long years, a zoning change was finally approved last month. The whole project has thus been given the green light to roll out the full-fledged development of one of the largest brownfields in Brno. Following the completion of the site’s first office building and its surroundings, the first tenants, Kiwi.com and Axians, moved in. The project is now progressing in earnest with preparations for the first comprehensive stage of development that will take place in the southern part of the site.
After more than a decade, the long-discussed and planned change of zoning has finally been approved. The change enables the realisation of plans for new functional spaces within an area spanning no less than 22 hectares in Brno’s Židenice quarter.
The new development will create residential properties, office buildings, amenities, and public and commercial facilities. It will also determine the layout of the future new boulevard as well as transport links between the site and the surrounding city, and the site’s boundaries. “We are delighted with the city’s unanimous decision to support the change of zoning and its declared support for active participation in the development of the city’s brownfields. This will greatly contribute to the reduction of suburbanisation in the city while utilising the potential of the surrounding, already developed areas. The change of zoning is a fundamental step for the Nová Zbrojovka project as it opens the way to the full-fledged development of the site. We currently expect the works to take at least 10 to 15 years,” said Miroslav Pekník, Development Director for Brno Region at CPI Property Group (CPIPG), the owner and investor of the Nová Zbrojovka project.
CPIPG this year completed the overall development plan, also known as the Masterplan, including all transport and infrastructure links. The Masterplan reflects the ideas and architectural and urban development studies created for the project between 2016 and 2019. And it’s not only the city’s architects that have had their say on the studies, the general public was also given a chance to contribute views. “The Masterplan was created and thoroughly discussed in order to meet all requirements, regulatory and otherwise, of the intended change of zoning. As a result, the investor was able to finalise a comprehensive idea of urban development encompassing the volumes, arrangements and functions of individual structures within the Nová Zbrojovka project. The studies also detail all transport, infrastructure and educational structures and buildings whose close coordination with the city is essential for the success of the project. In fact, Nová Zbrojovka depends to an extent on the realisation of these elements,” said Jan Růžička, Project Manager for Nová Zbrojovka.
South Zone – a combination of history and modern architecture
In line with a sustainable development strategy and with respect to the sheer size of the project, not to mention the rather rigid sequence in which the transport and infrastructure elements must be put into place, the whole project was split into eight coherent phases of development. The first to take shape is the South Zone. It will include a myriad of functions: from diverse housing through to office and workspaces to sophisticated public spaces with a square and a water element as well as leisure-time and cultural facilities. The diversity of functions and public spaces will not only ensure the viability of the initial phase but will also provide high-quality foundations for the development of the whole new city quarter.
The development of the South Zone includes the preservation and reconstruction or development of existing buildings of the historical Zbrojovka armoury complex, including the former headquarters and the boiler room complete with its chimney providing one of the local dominant features. The preserved structures will serve as a memorial to the original industrial character of the site and its rich history.
“Over the next three months, we intend to cooperate with the city, the local district and the general public in finalising the architectural and urban solution for the South Zone. That will be followed by the drawing up of documentation required for the planning process. We will strive to obtain the necessary approvals as soon as possible in order to commence building the first phase of the project. Nová Zbrojovka will then gradually begin to fulfil its promise for the city, the district, local residents and the investor. We also aim to begin designing the new boulevard, complete with backbone infrastructure networks. Moreover, we will simultaneously cooperate with the city to finalise all transport links and coordinate the preparation of flood defences and the construction of a new bridge across the River Svitava,” said Jan Růžička.
First tenants in new offices
Works on the ZET.office building and its surroundings were completed earlier this year. As the office building successfully received its final certificate, the first two tenants moved into their new offices. The tenants are Kiwi.com and Axians. Their employees and the public can enjoy adjacent provisional outdoor facilities, including areas dedicated to sporting activities, rest and relaxation available in the park surrounding the office building. Come next year, the investor also plans to invite people from Židenice and further afield to enjoy the facilities during a variety of themed, cultural, social and community events. The facilities are temporary by nature, as they will, in a few years, make room for the juncture of a new bridge and boulevard that will connect the site to the city’s ring road. All structures currently located in the park will be comparably easy to move to other parts of the site where they will continue to provide enjoyment. The features moved will include the freshly planted trees and the park’s amenities.
“Based on a design by a Dutch landscape architect who also collaborated in the creation of the Masterplan and designs for the South Zone, some 240 trees were planted in the park. They are planted in a way that enables their safe relocation within a window of about eight years. The park in its current form offers pitches for football, streetball and volleyball, a workout area, an oval running track as well as a food outlet that provides a range of refreshments. The food outlet is located in easily movable shipping containers,” added Miroslav Pekník.