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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » September 28, 2012
Warsaw Voice Life & Style Guide
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The Revitalization of a Centuries-Old Meeting Place
September 28, 2012   
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Wrocław is often called “The Meeting Place” and not without reason. There are many unique buildings which help it earn such a reputation, buildings where many businesses meet and come together. However, one in particular, stands out in the very heart of this culturally-rich city, namely Pasaż Pokoyhof. This historic building has been brought back to life following an extensive renovation and is an inspiring space, attracting an array of businesses, as well as hosting cultural and arts events, echoing the building’s history and strong roots originating several centuries ago. The restoration of the Pasaż Pokoyhof’s rich historical legacy is a key factor in the emergence of one of Wrocław’s liveliest quarters and is synonymous with the vibrant renewal of the city.

Pasaż Pokoyhof, located at 2-4 ¦w. Antoniego St., is just 200 meters from the Market Square and is set amid a lively and picturesque district of four religions. It is a five-level rectangular building comprising of 15,000 sq m of office and retail space, set around a striking central courtyard that is accessible from either side on ¦w. Antoniego or Wlodkowica streets. A truly impressive building built in 1910, throughout its history it has served both as a business and a cultural center. The immediate vicinity of the building also plays host to hotels, bars, shops and restaurants as well as places of worship of four different faiths, giving this area a cosmopolitan diversity and urban mix with an authentic character and special atmosphere, by day a bustling office and business area and after dusk transforming into a buzzing nightlife and entertainment spot.

Going back further in time, the very spot on which Pasaż Pokoyhof was built was associated with a rich tradition of hospitality. The quarter originally hosted a Jewish inn during the 17th century, offering food and accommodation for Polish merchants. The original name consists of two words. “Pokoy” is a version of the name of the Buqoi family, which used to own the quarter. “Hof” is the German word for “courtyard” and the name was first mentioned in sources from 1612 as “Pokquaies-Hoff” and in 1624 as “Buquoihofe.” As the name of the area evolved, so did the buildings located on this spot. The current building was erected at the beginning of the 20th century, designed to host different commercial activities. Since the early 20th century, Pasaż Pokoyhof has housed a department store, a cotton factory, various warehouses, offices and retail outlets—and currently it hosts the city’s most fashionable alternative bar, called Szajba.

The building’s physical appeal stems not only from its 4-meter-high ceilings, grand staircases, the detailed facade, and its “heart”—the inner courtyard—but also from a thorough renovation program which has added many modern amenities, including elevators and a ventilation and air conditioning system. Original concrete columns and the brick inner walls will make you feel that you are standing in a downtown New York loft and add to the special atmosphere of the building. Pasaż Pokoyhof’s impressive and welcoming courtyard has also been transformed into Wrocław’s possibly most attractive courtyard and plays host on long spring and summer nights to fashionable cafés. The last stage of the renovation is the refurbishment of the building’s front facade—this has already begun and will be finished at the end of 2012. The restoration of the original gold and green mosaic tiles on Pasaż Pokoyhof’s facade will undoubtedly help the building further outshine its neighbors in this picturesque and historical area.

With its many different faces, Pasaż Pokoyhof is a building that truly never sleeps. During the day the building bustles with bank clients and engineering, accounting and legal firms, and one can also easily spot various artists working in their ateliers, helping to add to the creative buzz of Pasaż Pokoyhof. After 6 p.m., dance and yoga enthusiasts converge on the studios in Pasaż Pokoyhof and emerge after their workouts to relax in the welcoming cafés and lounge bars surrounding the courtyard. Pasaż Pokoyhof truly appeals to every type of business and individual.

Izabela Lipkowska, leasing director for Immobillo Group Sp. z o.o, says, “Pasaż Pokoyhof currently has over 40 different tenants who each bring a different character to the building. The building’s appeal has resulted in limited space being available to lease as it has attracted many tenants within a short space of time. The building offers premises from 20 to 2,500 sq m on each floor that can be easily adjusted according to the client’s requirements.”

Anna Patrzyk-Sperzyńska, leasing director for Immobillo Group Sp. z o.o., adds, “Pasaż Pokoyhof is not your typical office building; this is an alternative and unique place where you can be inspired by the other tenants around you and where you will naturally feel a positive influence on your daily work.”
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