Wrzesińska 2: Two Colours of Praga

Warsaw, September 2020

In September 2020, Zeitgeist Asset Management has started renovation works on the 19th-century tenement house at 2 Wrzesińska Street located near the Praski Port in Warsaw. The company purchased this house two years ago. By mid-2022, 127 apartments for rent, from studios to 4-room flats will be constructed here. The visuals are already available. The elements worth noting include the dark green of the forged balcony railings contrasting with the subtle finish of the facade.

From Plac Koński ("Horses Square") to the cultural melting pot

"While working on the project, we were looking for common features linking old and new architecture,” says Luiza Grunwald, Managing Director at Zeitgeist Asset Management in Poland. "These days, the surroundings of the Praski Port are an eclectic construction site, where the identity of Old Praga district is quite hard to find.” That is why Zeitgeist invited for cooperation Anna Rostkowska's PROART studio, recognised for the renovation of many historical buildings, such as the Presidents’ Palace and luxury bourgeois houses at 13 and 15 Foksal street in Warsaw.

Today, Wrzesińska 2 is a ruined vacant lot, a remnant of the 19th-century tenement house in Warsaw's Praga district, erected by August Zieliński in 1863. At that time, Wrzesińska Street was located in the vicinity of the Praga slaughterhouse and the "Horses Square", bringing together local craftsmen. After World War II, building no. 2 housed the first documented Jewish school of the Central Committee of Jews in Poland.

Today, this area attracts tenants who want to absorb Warsaw in its extreme colours. From the climate of Old Praga, with its brick, numerous alleys, cafés and cultural institutions, through the proximity of the green areas on the right bank of the Vistula, to the rapid transfer to the centre of the capital - by metro, tram or on foot.

"The offer will be addressed to people who value independence, who need a place that is inspiring but not overwhelming and loud. Not many locations are available in Warsaw which, being close to the centre, allow to breathe in nature. And look at the left bank with a slight wink of the eye.”, says Peter Noack, co-founder of Zeitgeist Asset Management. “This location is a great fit with our portfolio. We are looking forward to renting the apartments” – adds Peter Noack.

Colours Green and Ash Grey

In the design, the architects tried to highlight what remained of the original character of the building. "We found fragments of forged railings of old balconies, in the colour of rotten green", says Anna Rostkowska, head of PROART Anna Rostkowska Pracownia Architektoniczno-Konserwatorska. "This colour has inspired us so much that it has become the leitmotif of decors in both the old and new parts of buildings." The facades are maintained in a grey tone, with a predominance of light, subtle colours.

Ultimately, the property will consist of two buildings: an old tenement house preserved in its original shape (with an outbuilding and a courtyard) and an adjacent new 8-storey apartment building. In the historical building, wooden elements are to be reconstructed, including a massive gate (eventually green) and a structure supporting the roof. The antique roof truss will be exposed in the interiors on the top floor. The gate clearance itself, finished with stone, will retain its original shape. "We have a person in our studio who deals exclusively with windows and doors. On the basis of fragments of old shutters she recognised their type, thanks to which we can rebuild the windows in their original form," adds Anna Rostkowska from PROART.

The architects sought the visual coherence of the old and new building. "We proposed to transfer colours from the tenement house to the new building, which created an interesting visual effect," says Maria Grzeszczakowska, architect at PROART, responsible for the project. "In addition, the façade of the new building was finished with bricks to match to the nearby buildings". As a result, thanks to its simple form and delicate colouring, the property gives the impression of light and modern, and the stylish finishes give it an atmosphere so characteristic of Old Praga.

127 apartments for rent

A total of 127 apartments for long-term rent are to be built in both buildings, and several commercial premises on the ground floor. They will be located on a plot of 1.5 thousand square metres, bordering Wrzesińska Street on one side and Kępna Street on the other. The apartments flats will be offered in the form of an institutional lease - directly from the owner, in a safe and stable manner for the tenant.

The height up to 4.5 m will be the advantage of interiors in the old building. The small flats will be adjacent to the large, 3- and 4-bedroom apartments, each of which will have windows facing two sides of the world. The investor also constructs an underground car park. Bicycle parking places will be available in the underground garage and in the open patio. The patio itself will be developed with greenery and benches, with gardens belonging to ground floor apartments. There will be a lot of storage rooms in the building to offer more comfort in the residential parts. The construction works are carried out by FineTech Construction.

Following the echoes of history

References to history are typical for projects implemented by Zeitgeist Asset Management in Europe. More than 90% of the buildings renovated by the company are listed by heritage conservators. The most interesting projects can be found in Czech Prague, where the company has already invested in 25 projects. These revitalisation projects include Křižíkova and Na Struze, which are the flagship examples of restoring the splendour and quality of historical interiors, known to most Prague residents.

Currently, Zeitgeist AM operates in the Czech Republic (headquarters), Poland, Hungary and Germany. It specialises in development and asset management services for private and institutional investors. The company is present in various segments of the real estate market, with a special focus on projects that increase the value of investments resulting from refurbishment. Since its establishment in 2014, the company has been growing rapidly, currently managing EUR 515 million of assets and 462.9 thousand sq. m of land and 338.9 thousand sq. m of rental areas.

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