Prague wants to buy failed hotels to build its own housing supply
The City of Prague is looking into the possibility of buying hotels and dormitories put up for public auctions as a way of adding to its supply of flats. Having privatized much of its housing stock to private owners, the city now admits that astronomical prices for renting or buying apartments is making it difficult for lower income people and those in numerous essential professions to live in Prague. Prague has established its own development company, whose long-term goal is to assemble land plots and coordinate the construction of new apartment projects, but this will be a long-term process. The current Covid-19 pandemic, on the other hand, presents an immediate opportunity to acquire real estate that could be quickly adapted for the city's uses. "We're primarily interested in hotels, in accommodations facilities and in apartment buildings with a capacity for 20 to 90 people," said city councilor Adam Zabransky, according to the daily newspaper Denik. Ideally, the city seeks single-room studio apartments that include bathrooms and kitchen areas. But Denik quotes real estate agents who think the city may have an unrealistic understanding of current property prices if it thinks it's possible to offer discounted rents in any buildings it might manage to buy.