EXCLUSIVE: ownership battle over Kraków city offices

Kraków city council may lose one of its offices because of a dispute over ownership of the building with the family of its pre-war owner.

The building, at Plac Wszystkich Świętych 11, was subject of a reclamation five years ago by relatives of the original owner – who said the property was theirs despite it having been taken over and renovated by the communist government in 1980. The state was able to take the building because, according to the law at the time, renovations carried out by the government and exceeding 51 per cent of the value of a property allowed it to do so.

The owners of the building at a prime spot just 50 metres from Rynek Główny received 453,000 złoty in compensation, but now they want the building back. The city is fighting the case in court, saying that it should retain possession of the building as taxpayers’ money was used to renovate it.

The Plac Wszystkich Świętych case is one of 24 which the city is fighting on uncertain grounds – because of alleged irregularities in procedures when the buildings were taken over by the state. There is a claim pending relating to 27 acres of land on which the Płaszów concentration camp stoodOthers include Opera Krakowska’s ballet studio on ul. Św. Tomasza, and city offices at ul. Bracka 15.

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