100 Million Kuna Makarska Apfel Arena to Open Doors Tomorrow

By 19 October 2022
Makarska Riviera
Makarska Riviera Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

October the 19th, 2022 - The much anticipated Makarska Apfel Arena is set to open its doors tomorrow, marking a new start for that part of Central Dalmatia with this 100 million kuna investment.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Makarska Apfel Arena sports and cultural centre, known as a socially responsible business project, will officially open its doors this Thursday.

The Pasalic family, which has been supplying Makarska catering and hospitality firms for a number of years now, invested about 100 million kuna in this project with the aim of making the new Makarska Apfel Arena not only a place for the hosting of various sporting, cultural and artistic events, and a space for business and health facilities, but also to provide the entire Makarska Riviera with added value and stimulate new development.

The project is unique in the Republic of Croatia not only in terms of what sort of content it has on offer, but also because the investor doesn't even expect a return from this very large investment. This is also not the first socially responsible project this particular company has engaged in, given the fact that just last year, they built two buildings with sixteen apartments, which it then sold far below the market price to its own employees in order to solve their housing issues.

Matko Pasalic, the executive director of the company Apfel, which was founded by his father Mijo Pasalic, stated that Apfel also built the first house for a single family after the earthquake in Petrinja back in December 2020, which fully coincides with the company's policy.

"On the land in Makarska, we could have built apartments for commercial sale and sold them at a price higher than 3,000 euros per square metre, which is the current average price of property in Makarska, but it was important for us to take care of our employees. We invest a lot in the satisfaction of our 120 workers, who have always earned higher wages than the average, and it's important for us to invest in the community, which was the main motive for this investment in the Makarska Apfel Arena. We saw that Makarska was lacking when it came to such facilities and created a centre that will have several functions, and although we'll generate income there, we don't expect a return on this investment. Financial profit wasn't our goal," explained Pasalic.

The core business of the Pasalic family company is the wholesale of food and beverages in the HoReCa segment in Makarska, where they generate about 80 percent of their income, while the rest is made up of inventory equipment for the catering and hospitality industry. Although they generate most of their income during the summer tourist season, all 120 of their employees are employed full-time. Although the coronavirus pandemic threatened them like it did with everyone else, there were no layoffs or salary cuts, Pasalic pointed out.

Last year, the company Apfel generated an impressive 214 million kuna in revenue, with a profit of 16.7 million kuna, while before the pandemic, their annual revenue stood at 235 million kuna.

In the new Makarska Apfel Arena, another 25 people will be employed permanently and about 10 will be provided with part-time work, and 80 percent of the workers have already been found without any major difficulties, the executive director revealed. The new cenre spans a total of 14,000 square metres, of which 4,300 square metres are interior space, and the project that will unite culture, sports and healthcare was created by the company "Lukic Projekt".

When Mijo Pasalic initially presented the project back in February this year, the planned amount of investment was 80 million kuna, but due to known circumstances on the market and inflationary pressures, that figure grew to around 100 million kuna. Matko Pasalic revealed that part of it was realised with the company's own funds, and part was realised through loans provided by commercial banks.

Makarska will finally get a proper cinema

A Mediterranean garden spanning 3,500 square metres with three gazebos and a barbecue was created on the outside of the new Makarska Apfel Arena, where people are free to organise various celebrations and get-togethers with prior notice. There is also a children's park, a field with artificial grass for indoor football, as well as a tennis court with a hard surface. In the 4300 square metres of the inner part, there is a playground, another field with artificial grass, and behind it a padel tennis court, a children's playroom, while in the middle of the centre there is a cafe and a pizzeria with an indoor and outdoor terrace.

On the first floor of the Makarska Apfel Arena, there are three fitness halls and gyms, in which the Pasalic family invested 2 million kuna, and they are equipped according to standards that will satisfy both recreational and professional athletes, according to Matko Pasalic. In the eastern part, there is a multimedia hall with 360 cascading seats for concerts, congresses, plays and events, and there will also be a cinema, which Makarska has never had before.

They're also bringing doctors to the new centre

The healthcare department and its accompanying offices are located on the second floor. The company opted to provide healthcare services and while there will be a nurse and a physiotherapist present, they'll also cooperate with 10 specialist doctors who will perform various examinations there, so that the people of Makarska don't have to go to Split for their more advanced healthcare needs. Blood sampling will also be organised there, which is especially important during the height of the tourist season when the need for medical services is increased.

During the presentation of the project, Mijo Pasalic pointed out that part of the programme was conceived as year-round, and part as only seasonal. The year-round activity plan includes the organisation of seminars and congresses, the hosting of plays and concerts, cinema screenings, offers of basic and specialist healthcare services, daily fitness programmes, children's birthday parties, a sports school foy young kids, team sports held on indoor and outdoor sports fields, and the organisation of team building sessions for companies.

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