Jože Mermal, President of the BTC management board, and Zoran Janković, Mayor of the City of Ljubljana, today laid the foundation stone for the construction of a 20-floor high-rise office building called Crystal Palace (Kristalna palača), which will be located on the west edge of BTC CITY, namely between Hall A and the existing office tower. The construction of the Crystal Palace, due for completion in the spring of 2011, is the first project within the Šmartinka Partnership, a major urban project managed by the City of Ljubljana, within which a 217-hectare large area between BTC CITY, Šmartinska cesta street and the railway line will be designed and defined anew.

“I am very pleased that in these recession times, BTC, which has in its fifty-five years of operation often proven to be a highly successful company, decided to take a step as big as building a 20-floor office high-rise. Such decisions and such projects maintain development in Ljubljana, facilitate the pursuance of its vision and the implementation of major projects, such as the Šmartinka Partnership, one of the largest public-private partnership projects in Ljubljana, which will change a 217 hectare large site, also providing for new green areas in the district. The Crystal Palace is its beginning,” said Zoran Janković, Mayor of the City of Ljubljana, on the occasion.

“The Šmartinka Partnership urban project will have a significant impact on the future development of BTC, since new spatial, urban and architectural solutions as well as the creation of pleasant modern environment and attractive programs reflect the guidelines of future BTC CITY development. It can already be said that the Crystal Palace will find its place among the most dominant projects not only in BTC CITY and Ljubljana, but also on a wider scale. I am delighted that the implementation of such project began in the very year of our celebration of BTC’s 55th anniversary. Despite current unenviable marketing conditions, we see a great opportunity in this project; while the demand for business premises in Ljubljana remains considerable, we also wish to further enrich the BTC CITY offer,” says Jože Mermal, President of the BTC management board.

To build the Crystal Palace, BTC and the co-investor, company Nuba, established a joint venture called Skai center d.o.o., 60 percent of which is in the hands of BTC, with Nuba holding a 40-percent share. On this occasion, the representatives of Skai center signed a loan contract with Hypo Leasing d.o.o, thus beginning the implementation of this large project, while a building permit had already been acquired. The investment is worth 54 million euros.

Eight renowned architectural bureaus were invited by Skai center to participate in preparing the conceptual design for the Crystal Palace. The conceptual solution proposed by architects Brane Smole and Denis Simčič of architectural office Atelje S was chosen as the winning entry. The Crystal Palace will be a low-energy building, 90 metres in height and comprising nearly 46,000 square metres, including an underground area of approximately 20,000 square metres with room for 600 parking spaces and 26,000 square metres above the ground. Apart from the business centre, the Crystal Palace will also include shopping facilities, a spa and wellness centre, cafés, restaurants, bars, etc.

In the heart of the building, a beauty and health centre will be set up by the Finnova company, expanding on three floors and providing an entirely new concept of wellness that combines technological comfort, beauty and health services, anti-stress treatments and wellness care. The use of services will significantly improve the visitors’ quality of life. Visiting the centre will become an indispensable part of life, as all beauty and healthy lifestyle services and products will be available in one place. The centre will include services provided by doctors from various fields of aesthetic medicine and dental care, masseurs, hairdressers, beauticians, a shop with cosmetic products and products for a healthy life, while a part of the centre will be devoted to classical wellness programs with various types of saunas. 

At the same time, the centre will be a great business opportunity for those performing the services, as they will be able to take advantage of an effective business concept and provide their otherwise independent services at a modern beauty and health centre.

In addition to its role as the co-investor, the Nuba company will participate in the Crystal Palace by providing catering services.  The company has many years of experience in the field of catering and already runs five catering establishments located in BTC City. Their success story will now continue with two more establishments: a bar-restaurant and a confectionary with a panoramic view in the highest, 20th floor of the Crystal Palace.

The interior of the restaurant and confectionary will reflect the metropolitan and fashionable character of architecture with high quality materials that guarantee comfort and create a feeling of well-being. 

The restaurant will spread out over three levels (ground floor, mezzanine and first floor) with a terrace on the roof of the shopping area. A special attraction will be a gallery in the central part between the ground and first floor and a large terrace on the shopping area roof, located in the green surroundings and offering many opportunities for holding events. The restaurant will accommodate 400 guests and complement the congress and business activity and the leisure offer.

The location of the confectionary on the highest, 20th floor will provide a magnificent view of the Kamniške Alps to the north and the city centre to the west. The confectionary will be accessible by two panoramic lifts, thus adding to its attractiveness.