100 Million Euros to Be Invested in Golf Resort on Cres

By 31 January 2019

It took three years from the initial announcement to the finalisation of the first phase of the preparation of project documents, but that is how things work in Croatia, especially with projects which have never been seen before. And the golf resort on Cres, in the Punta Križe area, is definitely among them, reports Jutarnji List on January 31, 2019.

For this project, the investor, the Jadranka Group, has made an agreement with the Krk Diocese for the use of about 320 hectares of land for 50 plus 50 years. It has also hired Ernie Els to design two championship golf courses with 18 holes.

The Matalda golf project recently passed a round of voting at the County Assembly, which adopted amendments to the spatial plan of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, which now include the golf course location, removing the main administrative obstacle. Before this, the project passed the public consultation process and was discussed by the Cres and Mali Lošinj town councils, where majorities also supported it.

According to Sanjin Šolić, the CEO of Jadranka, the goal is to improve the quality of the entire destination to a five-star level. As Šolić points out, Jadranka plans to invest around 100 million euro in the golf project, in addition to almost 200 million euro which the company has already spent on the nearby island of Lošinj.

“We now have basic legal preconditions for golf resort to be planned at this location. The spatial plan earlier had another location earmarked for golf, but it was not interesting for us for many reasons, from the ground configuration to the ownership structure. Matalda has proven to be ideal for golf, and we have launched an initiative that has succeeded after three years. After initial doubts, the County has accepted it,” said Šolić, showing a comprehensive analysis which Jadranka commissioned.

“We also have a study of socio-economic justification of the project, drafted by the Hotel Faculty in Opatija. The area in question is protected, but golf is possible there with the protection measures we intend to implement. Now we have the right to prepare a draft project that must be approved by the state commission appointed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection. This means that another environmental impact study will be done, the third one,” explained Šolić.

The total project area is 320 hectares, and the two golf courses that Jadranka plans to build will cover less than 20 per cent of the land. “Buildings will cover just two per cent of the total area. There will be a single hotel that, according to the County decision, cannot be for less than 500 people. The total capacity allowed is 800, which means no fewer than 500 people in the hotel, and no more than 300 people in the villas. As far as the docks are concerned, a classic marina is not allowed. However, there is a possibility of having a helicopter landing spot,” said Šolić.

He added that it was impossible to discuss precise figures since the project has not yet been developed and it is still unknown whether they will build it in stages or all at once. “When everything is done, I doubt it can be less than 100 million euro," said Šolić. He also added that it was difficult to talk about timelines because they cannot influence how much time state bodies will need to make a new environmental impact study, but he believes that the construction of the first course could begin in 2020.

He noted that golf by itself was not profitable. “What is important to us is that golf will fill our accommodation units out of the main tourist season. Our hotels will be filled all year round. Another great effect is marketing. The fact that golf will be present on Lošinj and Cres will ensure that a special group of guests will hear about the island and want to come here.”

As for local critics of the project, Šolić explained they are a negligible minority. “Whatever people do, they are always criticised by the same group, without any real arguments. Strategic assessment and environmental impact study prove that there is no risk of adverse effects on nature. We took all segments of nature protection into account,” said Šolić.

More news on golf projects in Croatia can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Translated from Jutarnji List (reported by Luka Benčić).