Brno - Some 10,000 buildings in the Czech Republic are unoccupied and dilapidating. But, despite massive subsidies available for redevelopment of brownfields, a vast majority of investors prefer to build on undeveloped land, mainly to save time, according to a recent survey by government agency CzechInvest.
"We have earmarked CZK 16 billion to support renovation of brownfields. But more than financial assistance, investors are interested in how long it will take before they can launch production," says CzechInvest's Martin Potůček. "They have two years in mind, but redevelopment mostly takes longer."
The survey has shown that 95 percent of investors want to build on undeveloped land. With greenfield projects it is easier to follow the timetable and there are no space restrictions, unlike with brownfields.
But the supply of undeveloped land suitable for construction is shrinking and investors are gradually moving outside large cities.
State offers millions for brownfields
"The subsidies available for property reconstruction range from CZK 1 million to CZK 500 million. Large businesses can get up to 30 percent [of the total costs]; small businesses up to 60 percent," says Potůček.
CzechInvest's goal is to use as much EU funding as possible to encourage regeneration of brownfields and thus reduce the total number of defunct properties. The agency also encourages investors to use brownfields for other than industrial purposes.
An example of this is a former health centre in Brno's Líšeň neighbourhood, which has been converted into a training centre of the company ZKL.
"The property was near our company's headquarters. Besides, the reconstruction of the former health centre gave us new space for research and development," says ZKL's Zuzana Fišerová.