Posted by on 18 Jun 2012. Filed under Current Affairs, Events, Top news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Asbestos Scare After Contested Demolition of Cvernovka

The old thread making plant in Bratislava named Cvernovka is at the centre of attention after the owners of the land, Hamilton Group, started demolishing a building at the weekend, with fears that asbestos from the building may have been released and possibly mixed with other building debris.

SME daily cites company head Jeremy Cristau as saying the company’s demolition permit was due to run out and the Borough of Ruzinov had not replied to their extension request, and so he decided to start demolishing some of the buildings on the 110 year old estate, which activists have been trying to have preserved as a cultural monument.

The borough building authority representative told SME daily that he knew nothing of the activity, which was halted after activists raised the alarm, and borough mayor Dusan Pekar said it shouldn’t have gone ahead.

On the asbestos scare, the company says the one building with asbestos in the roof has been left intact, but there are some doubts as that roof also looks damaged. An examination of the building should reveal more.

One of the people working in the plant area, which is rented out commercially, told The Daily that the estate is now being heavily guarded by security guards with dogs, and gate checks on everyone, whereas before people could basically just come and go as they wished.

Mr Cristau has a vision to revitalise the whole area, with luxury apartments and some interesting architectural plans, but the latest incident might put those on hold for a while.

46 Comments for “Asbestos Scare After Contested Demolition of Cvernovka”

  1. George M

    Cristau, a small tip for you . When in a giant hole, just stop digging and perhaps get out .

    • cristau

      Dear David and dear George,
      I think I have done my job trying to explain but I thinkn it is a waste of time on you two. You have your mind set and whatever will be written it will not be changed. The sad side of all this is that even (and I say even not to be arrogant as one is implying), even if at the end it is proofed that we did everything according to teh law, that we fulfilled all the obligations and even beyond, that the Police will drop all the accusations against us, then we will still be suspected by the likes of you of having paid our way off whilst the simple explanation could be that there was nothing to be brought against us. The other sad thing is the mind set you have invites only one thing: the normal real estate investors to stay away as they dont want to face the same hypocrisie we have just gone through and what you will be left with is just the investors who do not care. George and David, you semm to despise those who make money, I can only suppose you are in charitable industry or are you one of those studios who like to trash investors but wouldnt mind designing one their projects… I suppose that you would do the design for free, lets discuss then… ;-)
      Fortunately, I have received more emails of support and interest than of commenst such as yours, clearly a majority of people dont get abused by misleading, incomplete and sometimes just fictionnal information… It seems you are very keen to jump on board any of that info as the witness who from a distance is able to make the difference from an asbetos tile and the other types of roofing used in Cvernovka, the health authority who measures asbestos in a school up wind from Cvernovka. and the list goes on. whatever is said in newspapers must be true, isnt it David and George…
      I think that time will show that my assumption above will be correct and we did nothing illegally including doing works on a saturday in order to avoid disturbing too much our tenants… which usually work during the week…

      Rgds all

      Jeremy

  2. Franz Harmer

    Dear Mr. Cristau,

    I am a partner in one of the studios you mention, that is about to move into Cvernovka. We have been very preoccupied with all the preparations that come with a move, and are finally moving in tomorrow morning.

    The potential asbestos risk is naturally deeply, deeply concerning to me- especially so since I have 25 employees moving in that I am responsible for. I understand that all this is not yet confirmed, but in these situations I’m sure you will agree caution is never misplaced. Should the risk be substantiated at a later time, exposure will already have become a given. Also, if I should reassure my employees, I must first be reassured myself.

    There are a couple of immediate and easily effectuated steps that we can take to minimise exposure. I would greatly appreciate if you could get in touch, or put me in touch with an english-speaking colleague that can help me effectuate those steps asap.

    I have set up an email address for the purpose, due to the public medium

    thedaily [at] aliceintokyo.net

    Best,
    Franz Harmer

    • cristau

      Dear Mr Harmer,

      I would like you to pose and think: I was on site every day of the demolition at least 4-5h… And within 10 mtrs of the site… If there was really a threat and we knew about it, do you think I would be there personnally? So naturally we are also concerned about health and safety, hence the guarding of the property to avoid people going around and taking risk. My immediate concern is because of the ban on works, the specialised company who was going to take off the remianing aprt of the asbestos left on purpose over the traffo station is prohibited to do their work and there is a permanent risk that the building collapses and the asbestos gets mixed in the rubble. And i challenge anyone to contest I wasnt there, there is enough coverage of it… About Asbestos, there are a few facts to be known: a/It was there for 30 years, b/ there is 4 types of asbestos c/ as stated by the health authorities only one is dangerous and only in case of prolongued exposure d/ measurement have been made but questions as reported by the authorities: it could come from all sorts of palces not the least cars. e/ as documented to the various authorities, the asbestos on our site was dealt with by an approved company. I will tell you a little amusing story, one of the tenants called in the authorities on the basis he had proof of asbestos in the rubble. when they came he showed a bag full of rubbles. All the inspectors laughed as that was bricks and tiles, nothing which remotly looked like asbestos. The extension of the story is that we have pics of him climbing towards the aprt where there is asbestos still to be removed… I will wait patiently on that subject until all investigations are carried out and the truth comes out… We are ready to meet and as a tenant I think you know perfectly who in our team to contact. Rgds Jeremy

      • David Connor

        Sorry to get also into this conversation but I cannot do differently.

        Your personal involvement on the site might be a proof of either that everything with asbestos is completely ok or that you think that it is ok. Both of that might be good for your health but the second sure is not for the health of other people around.

        Your concern about the asbestos that cannot be taken off now on a building that is already partly demolished just points to the fact that the whole demolition was done in an rush. It would be much more convenient to take the asbestos off prior to the start of the demolition.

        Which leads to the point that if you have done it all “normally” not on a suspicious Saturday and informed everybody in and outside of the building in front that an expert firm is taking of the asbestos, maybe there might be much less confrontation with the police these days. Uninformed people make uniformed decisions.

        About the asbestos

        a) Yes it was there intact for a long time. But the most dangerous effect of it is when it is cracked up and spread as dust in the air.

        b) Actually 6

        c) Actually all of them are dangerous
        >All types of asbestos fibers are known to cause serious health hazards in humans. While it is agreed that amosite and crocidolite are the most hazardous asbestos fiber types, chrysotile asbestos has produced tumors in animals and is a recognized cause of asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma in humans. <
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asbestos#Health_problems

        d) Yes it was a rather multivalent approach from the authorities at this point since they could have just said it right in the beginning without even taking any measurements that asbestos is all around us anyway.

        e) I am not really sure how this was documented since nothing was published yet about it but there are several witnesses that report that the asbestos roof tiles were thrown inside the demolished buildings by some workers through a hole in the roof prior to the demolition. If they were mixed with the debris or were taken away before is of course hard to say at this point.

        About the little story. Again it must be some other tenant since the one I know about just called the police and spoke with them about his suspicion on the gate afterwards for a while since they called him to come out from the building. He was not showing them any "proof" or climbing any roofs as far as I know. The police left after your personel told them that the asbestos was already removed. Truly a master police work to be reassured by the suspect that everything is allright. Meanwhile your simplistic personel (quoting you) took initiative and started to threaten him…

        I think everybody is looking forward to your documentation of the whole story – the sooner the better as the truth (whatever it might be) is always good to be known.

        Best

        David
        Cvernovka Fan

  3. Ludwig

    I will repeat my question: can anyone actually explain what is there to be preserved in Cvernovka?
    Cvernovka is an area left to decay for the most of it, it’s 90% old commie buildings and 10% old factory. Just an ugly and useless old factory. NOT a national heritage. NOT a pamiatka. The buildings to be preserved in Bratislava are others.
    But yet, it SEEMS everybody got hysterical about Cvernovka while nobody cares about, for example, rebuilding Vydrica. What a farse.
    Adding to it, the J F Hamilton project is a good one, certainly MUCH better than the rest of the eyesores recently built/being build/that will be built in Bratislava.

    So, the real question we have to ask ourselves, why the massive media coverage? Who is the puppeteer?
    The only fault of J F Hamilton might have been not having paid off the right people. I cannot believe the amount of space in newspapers and tv for Cvernovka and the silence for other projects (demolition of an ‘historical’ house in the area where Twin City was supposed to be built, one tower of the newly built Apollo Business Centre evacuated because unstable, the new modern house being built under the castle right next older houses, and the list goes on).

    Anyhow, I have been living in Slovakia for too long and I’ve given up. Cvernovka will not be rebuilt. It will stay like it is now for years to come. And Bratislava will be a better place (right, Grant?)

    • cristau

      Ludwig, people will start asking themselves if you are not working for me…
      But you are right, lets look at who profits from all this media excitment… where does it come from… The activists love media coverage, it is their only way to exists, but the others… And also which are the leading media making the coverage, who owns those media… I dont intend to accuse anyone, i am not that kind of person. but did any newspapers publish any docuemnts supporting teh claims. did any newspaper actually came and sat with me and my people to go through each claim and what we have as a real response. To date claims are made to the Police by so claled concerned citizens every day.. And the Police do their job thorougly by investigating each claim… The question is lets analyse the so called concerned citizen and count them…

      • No hidden owners here at least Jeremy and I offered immediately to cover your side of the story.

        • cristau

          which i agree to without problem.

        • cristau

          Dear David,

          Lets take the time to go through your post:
          1/ The tenant you refer to is not a tenant but a sub-tenant of some sort. When he tried to enter, because of the security measures he was not allowed in as he couldnt proof he had a right to go in. He called in Police in front of the security making accusations of dangerous activities. What was the security to think: he was a rightful tenant or an activist trying to go in? The security people are some times a bit simplistic and since then have considered him as a potential threat. I think you should have a talk to him, as I was just informed that since then he had a talk with one of our managers and he excused himself about calling the Police because he panicked about his stuff. Since then i think he has now been allowed to go back in also. So is this a scoop you had?
          2/ Lets be serious, seeing your post and those of some other tenants, dont you think that if I told them anything of our plans it wouldnt be in the press within the hour. You would have loved to make the headlines with such a scoop… with regards to the discussion of my feet, dont you want to put the whole context of the discussion which was about smoking and fire risk in the historical building and if something happened not them but I would be blamed for setting fire and getting my ass quicked by activists and authorities. And if tha happened I would make sure their asses would also be quicked… Unlike some, I am a simple perosn and I talk in simple ways…
          3. About friends and reporting. Get facts right and dont report just beer pals discussions…
          Interesting thing, you dont comment on the fact that new studios are coming, as we can be seen from the new one commenting below…
          So over-all before accusing someone of lying make sure your truth is more general.
          All the best
          Jeremy

          • David Connor

            Dear Jeremy

            1) Most of the tenants in cvernovka are sub-tenants and none of them had much of a proof about it in their pocket on that day as far as i know. If you hire simplistic people to work for you it is then your responsibility to get things in order when they take simplistic measures to solve delicate matters… And no, maybe that is another tenant you are talking about (as his story sounds a little bit different) or not all of the information gets to you, which is a pity because it looks like when it does it can be mutually helpful.

            2) First of all that was just your presumption that the tenants have much interest in cooperating with the journalist. Maybe now that you still accuse them of it they really don’t have much choice. And maybe if you have communicated with them during the past year you might have had different opinion. But mainly why should you be afraid about any media coverage in the first place when you say everything you do is ok? That sounds highly illogical. And no I have it from different sources that the discussion about feet > backside was not about smoking but more about taking photos. But never mind, I can understand that in a pressure situation like this a man on site might loose his nerves. Just to add a notion that smoking was not a problem in Cvernovka in terms of fire hazard for more than 10 years already so I don’t understand why it should be now.

            3) It looks like beer pals have more information than you or that media at this time so I will stick to them for a while if you don’t mind.

            Come on. Don’t try that thing about the new studio again. As I wrote earlier:

            > I think it is good that you decided to build up on the cultural potential that Cvernovka had before you came. <

            you should rather admit that you overstepped it when you said "you put all the studios in Cvernovka". But ok lets not get to that over and over again since it looks you will ignore it anyway.

            I know this doesn't really have an end but I hope at least some things got straightened out a little bit on both sides.

            Best

            David
            Cvernovka Fan

  4. Grant

    I noticed the developer actually commented on your article and fair play to them, but in spite of all the rhetoric, these are still some buildings with character and history, and there are precious few remaining here. These buildings would cost a lot to be redeveloped using the remaining structure which is why they want to pull it down while they still can. The local government should actually take responsibility for once as business is there only to serve itself, not the people. You can’t really blame business for doing what it’s designed to do, which is to make money. You can certainly blame the authorities though.
    As for anyone who questions why this or any other building should be saved; in 10 years from now, this city will have had virtually all it’s history ripped out for more featureless glass business centres and hotels (why on Earth does Bratislava need so many hotels?) and the idiots that call this all progress will perhaps mourn the loss of this city, which will probably resemble Slough in England. On the other hand, maybe they’ll have a comfortable life and not give a toss as long as they have their house in Cierna Voda and an Audi on the driveway…

    • cristau

      Grant, whilst you call our answers rethoric, i see again that you have not had too much of a look at what we really do… by the way do you know how many 2/3 star hotels of quality there is in Bratislava… Last series of question for you, the demolition permit was issued in 2008 and extended in 2010. Demolition started in 2008 so why did all these protectionists wait until 2012 to wake up… rgds Jeremy and PS we are not developers…

      • Caterpillar

        You intentions might be one of the best that “developers” (or whatever you want to call yourself) brought to Bratislava up to date but the execution is rather poor so far. Lack of transparent communication is maybe the worst part of it. And if you say that the protest waited until 2012 is because this is the time when there was something to protest against. Until now the situation was rather unclear. And yes it is a problem of the Slovak authorities that they didn’t adress these issues sooner or rather that they adressed it very poorly when they were deciding which parts should be treated as cultural heritage. I know this is maybe not your problem but it is a problem of the people who live in Bratislava/Slovakia and by adressing them with such arogance as you sometimes tend to doesn’t help the issue.

        • cristau

          Dear Caterpillar ;-)
          Transparent communication? Look at the articles pre June. We actually published the volumetric study in November and it was on internet. We updated the study with proposals from architects and again it was on internet. I have been meeting the activists, Mr Guldan, Mr Pekar, Mr Fatcnik since Januray and introducing our plans which have not changed since then. All of them said nice, lets discuss. I have applied for a permit for renovating the hostel in December, anyone who has been in it will tell you the extremely poor state of sanitation it is in, and guess what I am waiting for the last statement from the Primators office since then… So anyone accusing me of not being transparent or not communicating, I really dont know what more I can do whcih would not be used against us… It is like this lcaim that I have threaten my tenants… I only told them that our relationship was about respect, I respect them by allowing them to remain there at su-normal rents, not be so strict on their respect of our rules such as not smoking but on the other side I expected respect also by not attacking us through hidden blogs and misleading information (SUCH AS THE THREATS…).

          • David Connor

            Jeremy,

            as you might well know the threats are not a misleading information.

            According to my information one of the tenants that originally informed the police about the asbestos as he was really deeply worried about the health safety of the people in and around Cvernovka was threatened by the security guards quite brutally when the police came to check the premises and left afterwards. Moreover he wasn’t let in to the building on the next day and has been threatened even more and as far as I know he is banned from Cvernovka even today. Even though he still has his stuff inside. Can’t really see any logic in that since he was just fulfilling his citizens duty.

            Another thing is that you talk a lot about respect but it seems it is just a one way ticket since it looks like you didn’t inform nobody from the tenants prior to the demolition which can obviously cause a lot of problems to anyone who is running his business there. Moreover after journalist started to publish images and footage of the demolition the first people on whom you directed your anger were again the tenants although there were no indications that they had anything to with it. Telling someone who you are doing business with that “your leg will meet his ass” or that “i was in army so be careful…” just because you think he did something that he did not does not show much respect to him…

            And nobody is attacking anyone. As you can see “they” are publicly quite silent about all this. On the other hand you can’t except them not to be talking about it with their friends or colleagues, since is a rather frustrating position you have put them in. So it is not a surprise when such a friend finds such information so serious that when he sees how you openly lie about the fact that “you have put all the studios there” he cannot do different but react in this “semi-public” way.

            Bare in mind the the intention of such action is not to do you harm but just give you some feedback about your own actions.

            Best

            David
            Cvernovka Fan

      • Caterpillar

        You intentions might be one of the best that “developers” (or whatever you want to call yourself) brought to Bratislava up to date but the execution is rather poor so far. Lack of transparent communication is maybe the worst part of it. And if you say that the protest waited until 2012 is because this is the time when there was something to protest against. Until now the situation was rather unclear. And yes it is a problem of the Slovak authorities that they didn’t adress these issues sooner or rather that they adressed it very poorly when they were deciding which parts should be treated as cultural heritage. I know this is maybe not your problem but it is a problem of the people who live in Bratislava/Slovakia and by adressing them with such arogance as you sometimes tend to doesn’t help the issue.

  5. The illustrative picture to this article has been removed as some might find it misrepresenting

  6. EXPAT

    I want to see something done at Trnavské mýto
    83104 Nové Mesto … The old Granit Building now owned by Wustenrot (translated in English “Stand and ROT”), the baren lot out front looks like it was abandoned after the War and just left to decay, it was improved for a couple of weeks with a traveling fair!…. Even the barren lots around Mlynske Nivy across from the Bus station could be use for something good (Maybe a 15-20 story parking garage for the CITY workers!
    The city planning commission needs to get there heads out of their rears, look at the city from a human view (opposed to their nice drive to the half a million dollar houses and up scale neighborhood), and realize the problems with underdevelopment in some areas and over development in others!
    Heck, to find a normal development for a family to purchase a normal working class house in this city is impossible, even in the surrounding suburbs! 200,000+ just to get a small 3-4 room house with a 45 minute commute to the city, then to find no parking or to pay 180 euros a month to be able to be close enough to walk to work (15-20 minute)…… Suppose they think everyone can afford this price if you drive a car or live outside the city! Bratislava is in desperate need of parking, and I don’t mean add more sidewalks for cars to squeeze onto!

  7. Ludwig

    Ian – the building in the picture is in Ruzinov, you can see it from Mileticova Street and from Jegeho Alej. It should be an old college but I am not 100% sure, so don’t take it for granted.
    But, I agree with you it’s a very nice building and guess what? it’s totally abandoned (even partially damaged by a fire) and I heard no ‘activists’ complaining about it.

  8. Ludwig

    Can anyone explain to me what is there that needs to be preserved?
    Cvernovka is a totally abandoned area, there are no interesting buildings that need to be preserved (an ordinary bad-looking old factory is a national heritage? give me a break!).
    Has anyone actually took a look at the J F Hamilton project for Cvernovka? It is a much better project that most of the others in Bratislava, why is there nobody complaining about architectural disgraces like AuPark Tower, CBC, Apollo, the new Forum Business Centre? Or why there is nobody complaining about a new modern house being built right under the castle???

    • cristau

      thanks ludwig. at least someone who does look beyond the misrepresentations provided by a couple of so called activists. by the way we have all the permits and the demolition has been done in the strictest respect of procedures. we didnt receive any order to cease work, we agreed to slow down to allow the authorities to try and find a mistake, which they havent to date. unlike the article suggest our process has not be hampered by the media frenzy, we have applied for a renovation permit in december and still have not received it… the reason is not the demolition but the fact we prefer waiting rather than… i think you see what i mean.

      • Ludwig

        Mr. Cristau – I really hope this project will go ahead. Best of luck.

      • Ian McLeod

        Sir anyone who willing to make a effort to improve an area and invest in a project should be supported. Good luck and I hope it goes well.

        • cristau

          Many thanks for your kind words. we have actually received many supportive messages even from slovaks in the last few days from across the generation and social spectrum. People are sending us request for teh first project we want to build. As the price will be very reasonnable for the standard we have set, we intend to be selective so we are asking those asking more details about them. I sense a real wish for some change and if we can be part of the process we will haveived one of our goals… I just need the primator to sign one last statement which has been on his desk for over 7 weeks…

  9. Why preserve these historic buildings, whats the point? the commie regime couldn’t care less, why should this one. In Slovakia the future is onward and upward! Lets cover everything with polystyrene, or knock it down, and complete our lego house, steel/glass prefabricated panel dream land….

  10. George M

    ~~~Despite their fancy rhetoric, there ( J F Hamilton etc ) sole aim is to make as much money as possible per square metre with little regard to the local environment or the social impact their developments will make.~~~

    …and on the the other side we have ….the Elected Town Council and the Planning & Zoning Department to administer and enforce Zoning Regulations and the General Development Plan through long-range planning. The Department guides public and private development through comprehensive planning, development policies and review standards in order to create and maintain a balanced community.

    The Planning & Zoning Department checks on how `them developing ` does direct and manage issues in areas such as Land Use, Circulation (Traffic), Open Space, Economic Development, Housing, Water Resources, Environmental Planning, Costs of Development and Known Growth Areas. The Mayor and City Council adopt the City’s General Development Plan and any subsequent amendments to it. If the Town approves the plan or application, it is sent to Mayor and Council for adoption. Only after adoption by Mayor and Council, can ground breaking or building removal occur.

    Well in the normal world ..but in Slovakia brown envelopes full of beads and trinkets exchange paws and bypasses all this need for the bother of planning approvals and residents discussion .

    • cristau

      Dear George M, Before making such a statement I think you should look more carefully at what we are doing. If indeed brown enveloppes had gone around, do you think Mr Guldan a member of the Ruzinov parliament, Mr Pekar, the mayor would be going around making all this fuss. Let me ask you another question, if a brown envelop had been running around, do you think that it would take me 7 months to get the statements for the renovation of the existing dormitaroy house in Cvernovka. I am not even talking about the building permit, just the necessary statements to start the building permit procedure. I am not talking a new building but the renovation of an existing. And I think I will start publishing pictures of the state of taht building and why we are renovating it… I would also like to remind you that all the studios which exists in Cvnervoska and create the so called special atmosphere are there because we put them there. No later than last month we asked the authorisation to put in an additionnal galleria and a start up center created by AIESEC students. I talk about authorisation as to put the there I need to get the preservation office approval, the building usage permit and so on. Then there is the construction at our cots and all that for euro 3 a sqm. We are also building a museum for an art collector who will be free for both the collector and the general public. So yes of course our sole aim is to make as much money per sqm. do you also know that we have zoning permit for much more than what we planned… No, because we dont advertise that as we dont want to give the feeling this is a smoke screen for more doutful targets.

      • David Connor

        > I would also like to remind you that all the studios which exists in Cvnervoska and create the so called special atmosphere are there because we put them there. <

        Dear Jeremy, please at least don't lie so openly. The studios were in Cvernovka long before you bought it. The fact that you are using them for your own PR and at the same time you personaly or through you security service threaten their tenants not to be involved in this discussion just illustrates your working methods.

        • cristau

          Mr Connor, I think you need to update your information based on the new studios we have agreed to take on… You should know about them as I use them as PR… For the other comment you made, I will not lower myself to answering you as I note you make two strong accusations… question, why do you hide behind the name David Connor…

          • David Connor

            Jeremy,

            as you might notice i was reffering to this missleading sentence

            > I would also like to remind you that all the studios which exists in Cvnervoska and create the so called special atmosphere are there because we put them there. <

            which is in past, not future tense and does not mention any new studios at all.

            I think it is good that you decided to build up on the cultural potential that Cvernovka had before you came. I just think that you should not be greedy and take all the credit since it were the tenants which build their studios there out of nothing in past 5-6 years. They invested their own money and time into an empty warehouse and created the "so called atmosphere" without help from any big investor, municipality or grants.

            I think the reason for using an alter ego is quite obvious taking into concern the atmosphere you and your security service has created nowadays. But the name is not important, please don't try to get away from the subject. It is not a problem for me to reveal the real name at proper time and place.

            Anyone who wants to experience the threats by himself should visit Cvernovka and try to make some photos of the site on his way inside as I tried when I was visiting the ongoing exhibition of VSVU diploma works which is in the Gallery right now. And which by the way is not accessible otherwise than through the quite dangerous looking "building site" since the only other entrance from the street is blocked (what does not really make much sense for someone who wants to visit a public event there).

            The funniest moment of it all for me is that you say everything is legal (which maybe is) and that there is no asbestos problem (maybe there is not) and at that same time you do everything to prevent any photos or footage of the actual state of the site to be published – which should not by any means harm you if it is like you say.

            I think all of this didn't have to happen if the situation was approached more sensitively at this moment because I was quite a fan of the approach you presented in the past year. The question remains which of these two opposite approaches is the real you and which is a PR facade.

            Best

            David
            Cvernovka Fan

  11. Dave Crawford

    J F Hamilton Real Estate Group – UK/French owned.
    From their web site:
    ” We are focusing in aquisitions of interesting buildiings with historical features………………
    Renovation of our buildings is based on high demands of quality of work…….”
    So having aquired this historical building they bulldoze it?
    Permits aside, developers of all types are a real danger to the architecture and history of all countries. Despite their fancy rhetoric, there sole aim is to make as much money as possible per square metre with little regard to the local environment or the social impact their developments will make.

    • cristau

      Dear Dave, as you seem to have gone through our website, please take time to look at the buildings we renovate and the projects we work on in detail before making such comments. we are building senior houses, student residence and affordable dwellings whilst focusing on quality. Contrary to your statement, we take great care of the social impact we have. just ask our employees, ask our tenants, ask our partners. not the least the young artisist and students we house in the protected building. i give you a date in 2 years when the project is ready and lets discuss about CSR and social impact. rgds J Cristau

      • Dave Crawford

        Mr. Cristau,
        Thanks for the response, a rare if not unique event.
        I did look at some of your companys’ other projects and to be honest I was very impressed BUT this development is taking place in Slovakia which, to be diplomatic, has ” different” rules to the other countries in which your company has worked.
        I admire your faith in “the highest authority in Slovakia” something I don’t share. My own personal experience of the Slovak authorities with regard to historical buildings is that they haven’t got a clue. Two years of rejected plans, materials changes, revision of window designs even a change of the final finished colour of the facade only then did I discover that our local expert had not even visited the site or done any basic research into our property. The reason for the delay and all the revisions – she insisted that our renovations maintained the true style of the Renaissance. When we told her our property was built in 1946, by the Americans as part of the Marshal Plan, she reddened but offered no apology, even though her “expert opinion” had cost us a small fortune. Moral – beware of SK “experts”.
        From the comments posted there appears to be some confusion as to which building the article is about. My learned friend Alec described it as a fine example of a mill from the 1800s while you say it is actually a RC framed building with a brick facade and others describe it as a derelict eyesore. We are all hostages to the “facts” as portrayed in the article and one of your posts actually contradicts the reported actions of the Local Authority. I based my original comments on the jist of the article and subsequent comments. If it was a historical building it should have been saved, if not, then carry on and we will see what your vision looks like when it is complete.

        • cristau

          Dear Dave,

          When I have time, I am alays open to meet peopl, discuss ideas and get our message through as we believe in communication. Unlike what our opponents say, we have hidden nothing as the plans for the site have been on internet since November with the volumetric study. We are continuously upgrading as our architect make proposals for teh facades and layouts which take time as we are miticulous. To date we have received no formal statements from authorities which go against our actions apart for the entries of Mr Pekar in the construction book which as we will soon be demonstrating were invalid or out of the point. He asked for 2 days to review more in detail the documents which we granted him which meant resuming on monday evening. We tried to call him monday but got no where so we waited another day and still nothing came so we resumed works on Tuesday evening. Now this is being used against us. We are not worried as we have worked in Russia, Africa and other difficult countries such as Brazil. We have always kept to our line of getting specialists (and not just one but minimum 3 per speciality to get various opinions), getting all the permits and approvals, all the specialised companies lined up. This was not an over-night thing. The demolition process started actually in 2008 and has been ongoing since then so the company had plenty of time to prepare. By the time we came in alot of the work was done, we just counter checked all the stages already done and all the future steps. If we look at carefully at first the attacks where on the permits, now this has calmed down and moved on to asbestos… What next, we know and look forward to it. The real deception doesnt come from authorities or activists but journalists. Their work here has been substandard and puts into question all other reporting they do… But I will get to that officially once we have dealt with all the extra work imposed on us by the activists. That is life but we have a mission so we will go on.

          • Mr Cristau, I can understand your general dislike or mistrust of journalists and how they are reporting the demolition work etc., but as I explained to David, here we tried only to provide basic facts of what had taken place with no intention of any deception, quite the contrary.

          • cristau

            Dear dave,

            Just to update, we have now received from the Ruzinov Building office an injunction to stop works. Whilst our engineering and legal teams consider it illegal we have stopped all works to comply with the injunction. works will resume when it is correct for us to do so…
            Jeremy

        • David, could you explain what “facts” you were hostage to? You blame us for the position you presented?: “Permits aside, developers of all types are a real danger to the architecture and history of all countries etc etc..” I hardly think that is fair, especially considering the fact that the article does not take sides for or against the demolition or the development at all, and is focused on the asbestos issue, giving basic information about the actions that took place and the things that were said. You should take responsibility for your own opinions.

          • cristau

            Dear John,

            Actually your article is taking all the necessary precautions which the local newspapers are not. The world heavily is a bit abusive considering we just have 10 people and two dogs for a 40,000 sqm plot with over 500 cars in and out each day. I think you should look into te fact that now the activists are no longuer discussing the validity of the permit as they had before but on the asbestos… If you want, you can come to our office and check for your own eyes all the statements and documents we have and the very little the other party has… However unlike most, we respect every injunction, every request made as we didnt brake the law before and will not start today. rgds Jeremy

          • Dave Crawford

            John – I do take responsibility for my own opinions. Perhaps I should have said we are all, including you and your staff, hostages to the contradictions and mistruths of Slovak officials in the article and the subsequent comments they generate. I note you have now removed the “illustrative” picture of that fine looking building from the article – my fault for not looking closer at the caption but I thought is was the building in question. Mr Pekars reported statement along with the comments of another spokesman led me to believe that the demolotion was unauthorised, when in fact the developers had all the necessary permits. Indeed, the comments of others added to my confusion as to the actual status of the building, as I pointed out in an earlier post.
            My general opinion of developers has not changed but I will accept that there are some who do make a real effort to preserve building of historical value and we shall have to wait and see what Mr Cristaus’ vision looks like in bricks and mortar.

  12. EXPAT

    With the shortage of land within and round Bratislava, all must be done to provide better housing, but at what cost? It is a shame that heritage sites cannot be preserved, but come on, they can’t even keep up the schools let alone an old factory for visitors! This is the 21st Century and if something is a blight or eyesore on the community, something should be done. It is sad that people can just go and demolish things because they wish to, but if they had the permits and they have proper planning, this is their right. If they don’t and they still go ahead with their work, they should be fined heavily, not a slap on the wrist!
    As I see it, when the planning commission gets a proposal to build new apartments, there should be additional schools built, playgrounds and parks as well as upgraded walkways, PARKING and services for the residents. Not just a building in the middle of a lot with the only plans to build up and fill the rabbit cages with families!

  13. alec hodges

    CVernovka is an important industrial heritage site dating from the late 1800″s.When the factory ceased trading a few years back it became the home to young artisans.Whilst the Bratislava town webpage only shows the drab communist era additions- at it’s height the factory employed over 2000 people making yarn – the original buildings, which can be viewed from the tower block alongside reveal a typical Viennese style small factory with classic lines. Sadly the legal system in Slovakia is overwhelmed by Micky Mouse lawyers, judges and officials who allow greedy investors and planners to run rough shod over the people.

    • cristau

      Dear Alec, I think that before making a statement about greedy developpers you should study a bit more about the buildings themselves. The highest authority in slovakia has not considered most uildings as having any historical value. Mrs Konrad on her trip around the property came to the same conclusion once she had gone in. reason, beyond the facades lies a pure basic concrete structure. count the number of pitched roofs on the historical pictures and the most recent and you will get part of the answer… i deny the term greedy as on the contrary we intend to build affordable housing slovaks and senior people. probably something which is of no concern to you but is to us. i hope you actually took some time to go around before it come down as you seem to say it is interesting… with regards to artists this part of a voluntary decision by the owner to introduce the concept and has been continued no later than last month with the arrival of one new studio, a start up hub and an office for aesec… rgds J Cristau

  14. Ian McLeod

    Checked it online looks like your are right Ludwig and this is not the building.
    Wonder what building this is any one got the answer???????

  15. Ludwig

    The building in the picture is not part of Cvernovka.
    Cvernovka has no nice-looking buildings…

  16. Ian McLeod

    What a great looking building it a shame it can not be saved:(

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