Katowice has taken over the KWK Wieczorek property on Szopienicka Street from SRK. This is another step towards the construction of a gaming and technology Hub.
The city took over the properties on Szopienicka Street from the Mine Restructuring Company by donation. The land owned by the State Treasury covers around 93,902 sqm.
“In the history of most cities, we can define the milestones in their development. In case of Katowice, it was the Culture Zone. Today we are witnessing another big event which in a few years we call a historic moment. The acquisition of this real estate brings us closer to its revitalisation and to giving it new functions. It will be turned into a New Technology District which, as we hope, will attract new investors and create new jobs,” says Marcin Krupa, Mayor of Katowice.
“The Hub is expected to boost the development of the city. We have the foundations for its creation. We have been hosting the Intel Extreme Masters finals for years. The event brings together the world’s e-sports stars and attracts thousands of fans while being broadcast all over the world. On the other hand, we have investors, entrepreneurs, people who create and program here. We need to use this potential so we implement further steps to finalise this investment,” the mayor adds.
By taking over the land, the city fulfils its statutory obligation to protect and care for its monuments. It will revitalise the post-industrial areas and save the “Pułaski” shaft by making it public. There are several buildings on that plot. They range from a carpentry shop, mechanical workshops, a bathhouse and a guildhall, a hoisting machine, the building across Szopienicka Street called the “chain bathhouse” and the footbridge over the road connecting the bathhouse and the guildhall, called the “connecting beam”. The notarial deed for the acquisition of the property was signed on Monday, 17th April, at Goldstein Villa in Katowice.
“From the very beginning we have participated in the important large-scale project of the Technology HUB. On 29th February 2020, we signed a letter of intent with Katowice to build a New Technology District on the site of the former Wieczorek mine. It’s almost 9.5 hectares of land with great potential and a history of nearly 200 years that will be written anew. It will still be a mine, but a mine of modernity,” says Janusz Smoliło, CEO of SRK S.A.
“The Mine Restructuring Company manages the assets of decommissioned mines in the most rational way. This is one of our basic tasks which we implement together with the projects from the technological innovation department. To introduce optimal solutions for post-mining assets we cooperate with local governments, which contributes to socio-economic revival and the preservation of cultural heritage, especially the historic areas,” adds Marek Pieszczek, Vice President of the Management Board of SRK S.A. for Mine Liquidation.
The Gaming and Technology Hub will be part of the New Technology District. The facilities will be located around the “Pułaski” and “Poniatowski” shafts. The hybrid project involves the development of buildings of the mine, as well as the construction of new facilities. It mirrors the successful revitalisation of the Culture Zone and the new headquarters of the Silesian Museum. The Hub is expected to include office and coworking space rentals, shared use infrastructure services, television and recording studio rentals, labs, IT infrastructure, conference rooms and educational spaces as well as accompanying services for companies with hundreds of employees.
“The Hub is not only the infrastructure but also the entire technological ecosystem created by many entities from different industries. They are united by creativity and the drive to generate new projects and solutions. Katowice has rich organisational and human resources and we are already using this potential. We are working intensively with universities so that the understanding between the world of science and the business is even greater which should achieve the most effective cooperation,” explains Wojciech Maroszek, deputy director for the Hub at Katowickie Inwestycje S.A., which is a substitute investor. “We are also promoting the Hub which will help attract more fantastic companies to Katowice,” he adds.
The acquisition of the property is the next step towards realising the investment. Currently design works for the first out of six planned phases are underway: adaptation and revitalisation of the already existing buildings. At the end of March the applications for building permits for the first phase, along with construction designs, were submitted. At the same time, detailed designs are being prepared to start works next year. In April, a competition for an architectural and urban design concept for the second stage was announced. It includes a concept for a new facility, located southeast of the historic shaft building. It will feature production halls with a dominant function of production studios for e-sports (the space should be used as TV studios, production halls, warehouses or labs). In addition, there will be a technical area with director’s offices and production support rooms as well as a guest and audience service area. The facility will house training rooms for players and outside – parking space for cars and bicycles. Pedestrian and pedestrian/bicycle paths will be created within the Hub, connected to the existing infrastructure along Szopienicka Street. In addition, recreational space includes greenery, small architecture and illumination of the buildings. Those who want to apply can do it until 12th May 2023.
Right now the “Poniatowski” shaft’s technical condition is being assessed. This is the sixth phase of the project implementation and it includes five buildings: the hoisting machine building, the workshop and fans building, the shaft superstructure with the hoisting tower and the connector, the lab and the bathhouse. The contractor is preparing an architectural and construction and installation inventory, as well as the reports on the technical condition and fire protection of the buildings. This will help determine the possible adaptation of these objects, their use, and will help prepare design documentation for new functions.
The project called “District of New Technologies – Katowice Gaming and Technology Hub” is divided into six phases. Its estimated value is about one billion PLN. Katowice is planning to obtain funds for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd phase from the Equitable Transformation Fund. The project is included in the list of operations under European Funds for Silesian Voivodeship 2021-2027. It is estimated that PLN 300 million can be obtained.