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Before and after: the largest construction projects in Budapest during the past ten years

The following satellite photographs feature the “before and after” pictures of 10 Budapest based investments, which were started and/or finished after 2010. The outlooks can be switched by the button- sliders in the middle of the photographs. The left sides are showing the 2009 sceneries, while the right sides present the outlooks in the 2019/2020 period.

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KöKi Terminal

The management of the desolate Kőbánya-Kispest based traffic junction (bus- underground- train station) was started in 2004 when the central- government (in a joint effort with the local- government) slowly but steadily played the area (and its buildings) into the hands of an offshore-based property development fund (R-Co Ingatlanfejlesztő Zrt.). Constructions were started in 2008, and delivered in 2011. Before becoming the owner, the name of Tamás Leisztinger is featured twice as an investor the investment, while Strabag was the implementer during the construction. By the time the project was delivered it made a considerable amount of debt, moreover, the industrial styled train station built by György Kővári in 1980, which was strongly resembling to heritage monuments, disappeared completely.

Köki Terminal

Kossuth square

Due to the underlying ideological narrative, the “historical” reconstruction of Kossuth square was condemned by many as the aim was the restoration of the Horthy- era outlook. Before the beginning of the 2013 constructions, the condition of the square was disappointing indeed, considering that it is one of the most important representative squares of Hungary.

Kossuth square

Ludovika – National University of Public Service

Established by the second Orbán-regime, the university is not affected by the recent financial hardships of the entire higher education system. The area once related to the Ludovica Academy, to The Hungarian Natural History Museum and to the Orczy- Garden, is now filled new building blocks while the older ones were renovated. The implementations are still active: The recent period was around the scandalous removal of the Natural History Museum.

Ludovika – National University of Public Service

Széll Kálmán square

The 5,3 billion worth reconstruction project was praised as it was condemned, however, the most memorable moment of the story was when, regardless the overwhelming public effort, the emblematic clock of the square was replaced with a new digital one. Following the deliverance of the square, it took two whole years for the new digital clock to function properly, without any daily or even hourly technical breakdowns. By that time, the new clock was regularly mocked by stickers and cheap IKEA clocks, attached by urban guerrillas.

Széll Kálmán square

Danube Arena

The gradually increasing financial investments of the 2017 Swimming World Championship was covered by Átlátszó in details ( find the summarising graphic here). The most spectacular investments were around the construction of the Danube Arena and its surroundings: Exceeding the original 14 billion worth plans, the final expenses were increased above a 130 billion worth sum.

Danube Arena

Groupama Arena – Telekom Headquarters

The renovation of Népliget and its greater surroundings were started in 2002 with the coach- station itself, but shortly after the constructions were halted for some time. On the other side of the Könyves Kálmán circuit, the deconstruction of the obsolete Albert Florian Stadium (owned by the local football club Ferencváros) was started in 2013, while the new stadium was delivered by 2014. The constructions were implemented by ‘Market Zrt.’, the firm of István Garancsi, while the 15 billion worth construction costs were financed publicly. Due to the relocation of the new stadium, a considerable size of the area was emptied next to the Könyves Kálmán circuit. In 2016, this area was used as the grounds for the construction of the new Telekom Headquarters. The 50 billion worth of construction was implemented again by the above mentioned Market Zrt.

Groupama Arena – Telekom HQ

Puskás Arena

The modernisation plans of the national stadium was not coming from the 2010 Orbán regime, yet, it was executed by them: In 2011, they published the plans of a brand new stadium for only a 35 billion sum of forints. This was later on changed for new reconstruction plans of the old arena with a possible extension to it, then followed by a 60-80  billion worth plan in 2013, just to deliver a new one in 2014, counting up to a 100 billion forints. The deconstruction process of the old arena was finally started in 2016. The opening ceremony of the new arena was during the Hungary- Uruguay football match on the 15th of November in 2019. Mostly every government-related constructor can be found on the list of implementers, while the final cost of the investment was exceeded a 190,5 billion forint sum.

Puskás Arena

Kopaszi-dam – BudaPart

It is a common fear, that due to the involvement of the oligarch friend of the prime minister István Garancsi in the BudaPart-investment, the Kopaszi-dam would loose its public space nature. This fear is also strengthened by a government edict, which ratifies the investment as a “high- priority case of national importance”. As practice shows so far, these signs are worrying indeed.

Kopaszi-dam – BudaPart

Pannon Park – Biodome

The investments of Budapest Zoo, namely the construction of Pannon Park and the “Biodome” on the grounds of the late Budapest funfair was originally planned as a 12 billion forints worth investment. Today, predictions talk about a 63 billion worth final sum, but the constructions are still on the go. The implementer is once again Market Zrt., an article of Átlátszó on the rise of the construction costs can be read here.

Pannon Park – Biodome

Árpád Bridge – Agora Budapest, Nordic Light, New Age

Property development on the Pest side of Árpád  bridge was started in 2017 March (namely, next to the crossing of Váci street and Róbert Károly avenue). The area was once a home for the Szikra printing- office, a coach station and a commercial area. Today, this area holds ground for three construction projects simultaneously, financed by British and Czech investors.

Árpád Bridge – Agora Budapest, Nordic Light, New Age

Written by Bogi Németh and Attila Bátorfy, translated by Zsombor Gál. The Hungarian version of this article is available here. 



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