Warsaw’s Old Town is a tight complex of historical architecture of a medieval development layout; it is a landmark and the pride of the contemporary capital city. In 1980 the Old Town was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as an example of an outstanding restoration of the historical centre of a town annihilated by the war. This area is the only example in the world (on this scale) of a planned and completed restoration of the historical town infrastructure.
Plac Zamkowy – Business with Heritage is located at Senatorska Street, which is a highly glamorous, touristically attractive route that runs from Plac Zamkowy, through Plac Teatralny up to Plac Bankowy. This is the last plot in this so far undeveloped area and located in the vicinity, but outside of, the UNESCO protected area.
The history of Senatorska Street dates back to the Middle Ages, when it was a major route from Cracow to Warsaw. It began at the Brama Krakowska gate, relics of which still mark the beginning of the route at Plac Zamkowy. Mansion houses and palaces started to appear there in the mid-16th century. The name ‘Senatorska’, which in Polish refers to senators, was given in the 17th century in order to highlight the importance of the officials living there.
The new building completes the frontage of Senatorska, Podwale and Miodowa Streets, the last of which – according to the first sources from 1653 – used to be always built up. The first information mentions a building destroyed during the Deluge. All the tenement houses located in the area of the current investment have been altered numerous times, changing their shape and the number of storeys, until about 1891 when the buildings reached the height of five storeys. This tight masonry development lasted until World War II. Warsaw residents particularly liked the prestigious confectionary located in the house owned by Szymon Belle; at this time it was a popular gathering spot for Warsaw dwellers. Some of the most renowned guests included Artur Oppman ‘Or-Ot’, Ewa Szelburg-Zarębina, Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński and Jan Brzechwa. For a short time one of the tables was occupied by the editorial staff of Bluszcz Magazine. One of many other stores and catering facilities that is worth mentioning is Leopold Koch’s store with garments for men, particularly besieged by students.
The history of the tenement house ended in September 1939, when the building was burnt to ashes during the siege of Warsaw. However, as early as 1947 the Capital City Reconstruction Office planned to reconstruct it but the plans were never undertaken, most likely due to financial difficulties. After the war a car park and a building around the substation were located there (Podwale 1). The building at Podwale 1 was erected in the 1980s and it was supposed to serve as a cover for the substation servicing the surrounding facilities. Since the technical condition of the house did not allow for combining it with the new project, for the needs of Plac Zamkowy – Business with Heritage the tenement house has been altered and adapted to the new investment.