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Prague will pay approximately CZK 800 million less for the lease in Škoda Palace where the majority of the City Hall officials reside. The Prague City Assembly approved the agreement, which involves concessions on the City’s part, at its June session. Prague’s officials agreed, for example, that instead of Czech crowns they would pay the rent in Euros and that the lease would be extended. The City also waived its pre-emptive right.

As the City will not pay the rent in Czech crowns, it is not clear how much exactly it will save in the payments, but the discount should amount to approximately CZK 800 million out of the originally intended CZK 4.4 billion. The City’s Councillors consider the result a success. “At the beginning the battle lines were drawn sharply; at the end a little miracle happened,” Councillor Radek Lacko (ANO), who participated in the negotiations, commented the agreement.

The opposition is not completely happy with the result, however. Prague Assembly member Václav Novotný (TOP 09) criticised the fact that the City waived the pre-emptive right for Škoda Palace. Mikuláš Ferjenčík (Pirate Party) concurs with him: “Copa Retail has not made the agreement because it is being nice to us. It will pay for them because they can sell Škoda Palace at a higher price if we do not exercise our option.” Councillor Lacko believes that the discount is “like two birds in the hand, whereas the option would be two birds in the bush”.

The Assembly members emphasise primarily the fact that the lease is only a temporary solution and that it is necessary to find a new residence where the City Hall officials will move after 2028 when the agreement with Copa Retail ends. “We need to follow up with a lasting solution,” said Jakub Michálek, Chairman of the Pirate Party’s Assembly faction.

Prague’s officials moved in Škoda Palace in 2006. Pavel Bém was at the helm at the time and the City agreed on a twenty-year lease worth CZK 4.4 billion. Bém’s followers considered the lease disadvantageous, however. Prague even filed two actions against the owner of the Palace, Copa Retail. It did not succeed with the lawsuits.

Source: Czech TV