In 2001, the notorious Sofiensäle (Sophie’s Halls) on Marxergasse were destroyed by fire. Designed and built in the beginning 19th century, by Eduard van der Nüll and Sicard von Sicardsburg, the run-down building was used both as an indoor swimming pool and event hall; in the late 1990s it was often used for club-style events, student parties and was the venue of the annual Opferball (literally "Victim’s Ball", the Homeless People’s Ball, funded by the newspaper Augustin).
The new "Sofia" will be a multi-functional structure, encompassing 78 apartments, a university institution, two food and drink businesses, ateliers in the old box seating areas of the former theatre space. An art gallery in the ancient banquet hall, protected from the outside by a filigree glass-roof-construction, will stay the heart of the building.
After long discussions, the IFA AG, part of Soravia group, is renovating the space. The 46-million-euro project combines modern elements in the residential spaces with detailed restoration of the ancient, lavish decoration elements of the old, protected segments of the original structure. The official opening ceremony is planned for September.