ACADEMIA Office Grand Opening

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Tonight, within ACADEMIA’s enchanting reception the newly refurbished property’s grand opening took place, marking the emergence of a new jewel in Budapest’s 5th district, the heart of the city. This building, boasting an outstanding location, a view of the Danube, and an impressive façade, has been reborn through the collaborative efforts of Europa and ConvergenCE. The state-of-the-art office complex, designed and outfitted with cutting-edge technology and numerous eco-friendly solutions, was unveiled with a speech by Mr. Csaba Zeley, the Managing Director of ConvergenCE.

“The wing of the building facing the Danube was constructed in 1861-62 by Procopp János and Hild Károly for the DDSG, the first Danube Steamboat Company,” began the company’s leader. “The section on Akadémia Street, which previously housed another structure, opened in 1863 under the ownership of Sebastiniai Vilmos, based on the plans of Wechselmann Ignác. The wing, which can be seen today, was realized in 2000 and served as the Raiffeisen Bank, designed by the Finta and Társai Architectural Studio, under the leadership of György Guczogi, an Ybl Award-winning architect and responsible lead designer.

After recounting the past, Zeley Csaba endeavored to bring the building and its ambiance closer to the guests through personal connections.

“Many of us have visited the bank’s ground-floor cashier to handle our banking affairs, and many among you may have visited the first-floor real estate financing department. Not infrequently, we walked across the former connecting bridge to the executive office to discuss our loans.”

This isn’t the first joint project in the history of Europa and ConvergenCE. The development of ACADEMIA follows a series of successful collaborations. In 2010, they introduced the Eiffel Square Office Building, a project that revitalized one of Budapest’s most overlooked areas. Five years later, they renovated the Duna Office Center, which underwent a name change and is now known as CityZen. In the same year, Kálvin Square also opened its doors after a refurbishment. While the partnership was unquestionable, the timing was crucial:

“We had our eyes on this project for a very long time, but it wasn’t until the spring of 2020 that the seller’s intention to sell emerged. The building boasts perfect attributes and location, but we felt that we wanted much more: an office complex of exceptional quality in every aspect, an A+ category office building.”

The planning and renovation of the office building’s appearance began during the negotiation process itself. Key considerations during the planning phase included adhering to sustainability guidelines and connecting the two wings of the building. The entire mechanical system of the building was renewed, heating and cooling will be provided by a heat pump in the future. Following WELL guidelines, the air handling units were refurbished, and in the Akadémia Street wing, a quieter and more comfortable ceiling heating/cooling panel system was installed. Redesigning the ground floor spaces, which had previously served as a bank branch, posed a significant challenge. In line with ESG principles, efforts were made to minimize waste generation during the renovation, with many valuable surface elements finding their way back to their original locations.

“The common areas, elevators, parking area, but most importantly, the office spaces have been renovated, designed in a way that caters to every tenant’s needs and aligns with their specific requirements,” continued the Managing Director of ConvergenCE in his welcome remarks. “The successful renovation of the building is the result of the successful collaboration and harmony of many people.”

Zeley Csaba expressed his gratitude to all the helping hands, including BuildExt, HAAN Studio, Greenbors, Erste Bank, MillerKnoll, and Siegler Bird & Bird law firm for their assistance. Special recognition was also given to partners whose support and collaboration were indispensable in bringing about the ACADEMIA Office Building’s opening ceremony. Last but not least, he thanked the patience and support of the tenants who continued their work within the building during the renovation. The end result was well worth the invested effort, as a completely unique, exclusive establishment now awaits future tenants.

“The building is now complete, but a few operations are still ongoing: certifications are in progress, and I am proud to announce that ACADEMIA will soon become the first non-new construction WELL Platinum building in Hungary. BREEAM certification is also underway, and we are on the verge of obtaining the BB energy certificate, a level that even new office buildings in Budapest rarely achieve. It’s essential to highlight that, in line with the WELL ideology, we support contemporary artists, and the artworks displayed in the lobby are creations of Dóra Emese and Plank Antal, graduates of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts. Our intention is to continue providing spaces within the office building for emerging artists.”

The presentation of the building was concluded by Rachel Hanke, Fund Manager at Europa, and as a closing act, Hays Hungary provided a small tour into their newly completed offices, which they will officially move into next week.

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