The iconic Corvin Department Store, also known as Corvin Palace, is located on the southern side of Blaha Lujza Square in the bustling downtown area of the 8th district. It opened in 1926 and was the first in Hungary to be equipped with an escalator in 1931.
The restoration that officially began in 2021 is slowly coming to an end. After the renovation, the building will have a commercial function on three levels and an office function on four levels, with the two partially overlapping, on a total of about 16,500 square metres. A panoramic terrace will be created on the top floor, and the department store will also feature culinary and cultural outlets and experiences. It is not yet known whether the ‘Corvintető’, a popular pub which used to operate here, can reopen in any form.
The total cost of the complete renovation of the Corvin Department Store will be around 20 million euros, owner of Corvin Áruház Kft. Olivér Balogh said in an interview with VG. Balogh reported that almost 100 per cent of the lower two floors of the five-story building have been leased, but the sale of the first floor has not yet been completed.
‘In terms of its cultural heritage value, this is the most exciting space in the building, beside the façade. Negotiations are already underway with several interested parties for this area’, he added.
The restoration of the façade will be completed by the end of May; after that, the commercial areas will be developed, which are expected to open at the end of the summer, or in early September. Several retail spaces have already been handed over to tenants for final fitting. In the third phase, the office areas will be completed, and they will soon be sold or leased as well.
Balogh said what delayed the renovation process quite a bit was that the last tenant had moved out in January 2022, and only then could the renovation begin in full swing.
It is also important to remember that the Corvin Palace is a protected heritage site, which means that strict regulations must be followed during restoration. Also, during such a process, surprises always arise that the designers could not have foreseen before the completion of the excavation work. This is why there has been a slight delay in the handover, the owner pointed out.
He added: ‘Although the retail market and department stores in Budapest have changed enormously since Corvin opened in 1926, we are determined to transfer the original building’s innovative vision to its current function.’ Balogh said that this intent explains why the building will be home to a modern art gallery as well. The spirit of the original store will be represented by two, for the time being unnamed, future tenants who will occupy the first floor’s cultural heritage space, as well as by the brand new, fifth-floor rooftop terrace.