Victims of Fascism Square: Former Student Home to Become Hotel?

By 4 February 2020

As Novac/Dora Koretic writes on the 4th of February, 2020, after an attractive piece of property on Zagreb's Victims of Fascism Square has sat empty almost a decade, the building that once housed students and boasted a student polyclinic could finally have a new, much more specific function.

This empty building on Victims of Fascism Square would likely take on a tourism-oriented function, given that the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, which also owns the property, recently launched a non-binding tender, with up to eleven bidders, with most of them interested in converting this attractive building into a hotel.

This was revealed by HAZU President Velimir Neidhardt in an interview with Nedjeljni Jutarnji, confirming that interest in turning the property into yet another new Zagreb hotel is extremely high, but investors who see a polyclinic or a private university being placed there also applied for the competition.

''It is true that a total of eleven bidders applied for the tender, but it was a non-binding tender, after which, a binding tender will be announced very soon. We can't find reveal any of the names of the bidders so far,'' a statement from HAZU said in response to an inqury on the matter.

A little more detail was revealed by Neidhardt in his interview for Jutarnji, and he confirmed that the facility is likely to become a hotel, although HAZU has been negotiating with the Department of Science for years, who have been wanting to find a more convenient location for its headquarters.

"For many years, we've been negotiating with the Ministry of Science who have a desire to move here... We expect the Ministry to make itself known. If it doesn't decide on that, then we'll have to go with other projects. We will definitely break into all that within a month or two. We're getting a new investment,'' Neidhardt announced. However, as the aforementioned publication reports from the Ministry, no agreement was reached between them and HAZU, and it is unlikely that this will happen any time soon.

The idea has faced a lot of criticism, however.

A non-binding tender for the lease of the building was launched back in November last year, and it was evident that HAZU was being offered the lease a building of four dilations in an attractive, protected urban area of the city, involving a protected monument of pre-war architectural heritage. In the general urban plan, it is located in zone D for public use and, most importantly of all, requires a thorough renovation before being put to use for any purpose.

Otherwise, it is a building for which HAZU has received quite a lot of criticism over the years, especially since the Academy got rid of the "Ivan Mestrovic" student home from the building back in 2011 after a lawsuit, and later the student polyclinic after the lease between HAZU and the Health Centre expired.

From then until today, that is to say, for nine years now, this attractive piece of real estate in the centre of the city, more precisely located on Victims of Fascism Square, has been lying totally vacant, and although journalists have occasionally questioned what academics will do with this valuable property over the last nine years, until just one month ago, it wasn't possible to get a concrete answer from HAZU at all.

The courtyard building covers a total of 8,500 gross square feet, and it also has a driveway and some ancillary buildings. The estimated lease value in the non-binding tender has not been defined, which means that the number of tenderers in the binding tender may be slightly different.

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