‘Mr. Praguer’s’ Prague
Kaprain Holding and its owner, the financier Karel Pražák [the surname translates as “Praguer”], are a growing presence on the Prague property market. Pražák, a former colleague of wealthiest Czech and investor Petr Kellner, has over a short time completed some major real estate acquisitions. Most recently he acquired a large car park property situated right alongside Kellner’s O2 Arena in Prague 9’s Vysočany quarter. Housing worth billions of crowns is to be constructed on the site.
Pražák has also been busy making an acquisition at the top of Prague’s high-end shopping boulevard, Pařížská, across from the river Vltava. At one end of the avenue, opposite the Hotel InterContinental and the Charles University Law Faculty, he snapped up the former HQ of the International Association of Students [MSS], a Socialist-era building which later ended up as an abandoned casino.
“We sold this piece of real estate in a standard selection procedure. There were many interested bidders,” said Tamir Winterstein, owner of the Lighthouse Group, which sold Pražák the lucrative car park by the O2 Arena at a price that has not been disclosed. Winterstein retained a minority stake in the property.
Investment specialists appraised Pražák’s acquisition activities as well directed. “In the wider centre of Prague free land plots are insufficiently available goods. Looking ahead these are very appealing and strategic parcels of land in the vicinity of the metro,” said Jan Hospodář, a partner in consulting firm 108 Investment Advisory.
The first move of Pražák at his Vysočany site will be to build an office part for his project. It will adjoin Českomoravská street. A construction permit for a 25,000-square metre development already exists. Winterstein anticipated that the investment would amount to around EUR 40m. Further constructions are planned.
“The original plan not only counted with office-administrative buildings and a hotel, but also with residential buildings. We intend to stick with this plan in line with the standing permit volume. We’re currently discussing the specific shaping of the buildings with architects,” Pražák told E15 daily.
The Vysočany development will liquidate a substantial amount of parking places used by visitors to the arena. “The O2 Arena makes use of its own extensive parking building which will not be changed at all by that project,” said Radek Stavěl, spokesman for Bestsport, through which Kellner’s PPF investment group operates the entertainment venue.
No less intriguing is Pražák’s acquisition at the end of Pařížská. Having failed as a casino, the building later became the focus of an ambitious Italian owner who wanted to turn it into the Prague branch of London’s world-famous luxury department store Harrods.