Prague’s District 8: From Pride to Haven for Drug Users – Prevention Efforts Funded by City Hall

A once ambitious project in Zenklova Street, Libeň, intended to be the new headquarters of Prague’s District 8 city hall, turned into a deserted building attracting drug users and homeless individuals. The construction, which began four years after its approval in 2010, cost approximately 1.1 billion Czech crowns. However, in 2015, the construction company Metrostav ceased its work due to unpaid bills from the city hall. The financial crisis and unclear ownership of the building further complicated the situation.

The abandoned building became a magnet for drug addicts and homeless people, significantly contrasting luxury and neglect in the surrounding area of Palmovka metro station. According to Martin Šálek, the spokesperson for Prague’s District 8, unfinished construction sites often attract various individuals.

The Prague Development Company (PDS), currently responsible for preparing the European Union Agency for the Space Program (EUSPA) site, has acknowledged efforts to enter the building. The building is guarded at the expense of the Prague City Hall, with ongoing security measures to prevent homeless people and drug users from settling inside.

The monthly expenses for the building’s security, including mobile facilities, amount to 230,000 Czech crowns (excluding VAT). According to the city hall spokesperson, these measures are deemed necessary to prevent undesirable activities and potential theft, which would further burden the city with additional costs.

However, these expenses will continue as the EUSPA is expected to move into the building in approximately two to three years. Architectural firm CASUA is working with EUSPA and PDS to develop a suitable architectural solution that meets the agency’s future needs.

Despite the challenges faced by the unfinished building in Prague’s District 8, efforts are being made to secure and repurpose the space for the EUSPA. Until then, the city will continue vigilance in preventing unauthorized entry and undesirable activities within the premises.