Centrum Praskie Koneser is one of the most fashionable places on the right side of the Vistula river.
A bustling complex of residential, cultural and entertainment facilities is located on the site of the former Warsaw Vodka Factory “Koneser”, from which it took its name. It is located between the following streets: Ząbkowska, Nieporęcka, Białostocka and Markowska.
The history of this place began in 1897, where on the initiative of the Polish-Russian Warsaw Society for the Purification and Sales of Spirit, the “Koneser” Warsaw Vodka Factory was established. The buildings of the Russian treasury warehouse were built in the years 1895-1897 in the western part of a large property. In addition to government wine warehouses, the production of spirit was organized here, on which the Russian authorities introduced a state monopoly in 1897. Anticipating this situation, a group of Polish landowners and industrialists, in the persons of F. Czacki, S. Kronenberg, T. Plater, A. Wielowieyski and M. Wydżga, decided to build a spirit treatment plant from domestic distilleries cooperating with the Russian plant. The buildings were erected at the eastern edge of the same property, and in 1912 the factory was expanded with land at the then marked out ul. Nieporęcka.
The history of this place began in 1897, where on the initiative of the Polish-Russian Warsaw Society for the Cleansing and Sales of Spirit, the Warsaw Vodka Factory “Koneser” was established.
Apart from industrial buildings, the area also included warehouses, workshops, residential buildings and a school. The factory was one of the most technologically advanced production plants, and its brightest years were the interwar period. The factory employed over 400 people, and the production is so dynamic that it was even produced a quarter of a million bottles of alcohol a day! Some of the still recognizable brands produced by the so-called Monopol are: Wyborowa, Luksusowa, Żubrówka, Żytniówka and Siwucha.
In the interwar period, the factory experienced a dynamic development. It is here that the classic compositions of Wyborowa, Luksusowa, Żubrówka, Żytniówka, Przepalanka and Siwucha vodkas were created. At that time, both parts of the plant were leased by the State Spirits Monopoly, and in 1936 they became its property under the name Rektyfikacja Warszawska – Polski Przemysł Wódczany S.A.
Some of the buildings from the side of ul. Markowska was taken over by the State Mint in 1923, starting the production of coins.
In September 1939, several buildings were severely damaged. During World War II, the plant operated under German management. In 1944, the occupiers blew up most of the halls on the side of Ząbkowska and Białostocka streets, the remaining buildings survived. After the plant was taken over by the state-owned “Polmos” in 1947, alcohol production was resumed.
The heroic engineer Horak
During World War II, the factory operated under the management of the General Directorate of Monopoli in the General Government. The times of the German occupation are uncertainty and terror threatening the population with deportation to work in Germany, persecution of the Gestapo, and loss of life during torture or execution. The workers of “Monopoly” were also victims of the occupant’s actions.
To protect them, the factory manager at the time, Dr. Eng. Wilhelm Horak provided each of them with a special insert for the ID card confirming work in an important military establishment. In the event that a worker was stopped by the Gestapo in al. Szucha or in a transit camp, before deportation to Germany, at ul. Skaryszewska 8, Horak personally extracted the prisoner by offering him cases of vodka.
After 1990, the factory, under the name of “Koneser”, fell into decline and limited production. Some of the buildings were transferred to cultural institutions, creating the Koneser Cultural Center. Currently, after the purchase of Koneser by BBI Development NFI SA, the complex has undergone renovation of the historic buildings.
Koneser is part of the European trend, where post-industrialism is combined with living urban tissue. Adaptation of the Koneser Warsaw Vodka Factory, including the use of authentic elements of factory architecture. New buildings are woven into the space of revitalized factory buildings.
The complex includes residential and office buildings, galleries, a shopping arcade, restaurants, cafes and an underground car park.