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Czech real estate firm plans to demolish Janov housing estate, potentially for coal access

Janov - Litvínov, 20.4.2011 19:11, (ROMEA)

The CPI firm, owner of 600 units at the Janov housing estate, has already negotiated with the Litvínov town hall about its plan to demolish the housing estate. The town leadership would prefer the real estate firm repair the units it owns, news server iHNed.cz reports.

Forty years ago, the state razed villages near Litvínov in order to mine brown coal there and moved the residents into the Janov housing estate. Untapped coal reserves also exist beneath the housing estate, and it is now possible that bulldozers will soon be tearing it down.

CPI head Zdeněk Havelka has already presented the firm's plan to representatives of the Litvínov town hall. "I can imagine a rather heretical idea, which is that the existing tenants would be moved into one block on the housing estate and the rest of the buildings would be demolished," Havelka told Czech Daily Hospodářské noviny (news server iHNed.cz).

Is coal at play again?

CPI is one of the largest developers in the Czech Republic, part of billionaire Radovan Vítek's empire. Roughly half of the units it owns at Janov are unoccupied and the company has been unable to find tenants for them. Many socially vulnerable tenants live at the housing estate and extremists have selected it as a site for demonstrations. One of the buildings is said to no longer be habitable. "The housing estate has been enormously stigmatized. I don't have the feeling that it makes sense to repair these housing units," Havelka said.

CPI claims it has not yet thought through what would be done with the empty Janov plain after the buildings are destroyed. "We will either build something else there, or coal will be mined there at some point," Havelka said, referring to the brown coal deposits located beneath the housing estate. Experts estimate between that as much as three-quarters of a billion tons of coal are there., but they cannot currently be mined. Moreover, those extracting the coal would have to deal with breaching existing limits on brown coal extraction and with the eventual demolition of the village of Horní Jiřetín.

Czech Coal issued a statement at the start of April claiming it is not interested in the Litvínov coal deposits. "The only extraction area the company wants to exploit near Litvínov is the Komořany extraction area. The villages of Černice and Horní Jiřetín are located there. The mining would stop at a minimum of half a kilometer from the town limits," said company spokesperson Gabriela Sáričková Benešová.

You can read the entire article (Czech only) on iHNed.cz at http://domaci.ihned.cz/c1-51597330-radikalni-reseni-zborime-janov-a-lidi-sestehujeme-planuje-realitni-firma

Gwendolyn Albert, iHNED.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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