Belgrade Waterfront to Be Followed by Zagreb Manhattan

By 7 March 2019

Their references prove they have outstanding experience in developing projects of a similar scope – this is the reason why the so-called Zagreb Manhattan will be built by the same entrepreneur who has built the tallest building in the world and is currently developing the Belgrade Waterfront project, explained the Zagreb city administration. The selection of Eagle Hills, owned by Emirate entrepreneur Mohamed Alabbar, supposedly was not easy, since the other candidate was the French company of Bouygues Batiment International, best known as the concessionaire of the Zagreb Airport, reports Večernji List on March 7, 2019.

Three bids were received, but one was not valid, so only the submissions by Eagle Hills and Bouygues Batiment were considered. “The qualifications and proven experience of both bidders are impressive, and they gave a tough task to the commission. Given the fact that Zagreb is looking for a partner for the urban and economic transformation of the area, which will make this part of the city attractive to citizens, tourists and businesses, Eagle Hills’ offer was assessed as the better one,” said the city authorities.

The decision was made by a commission led by the head of the City Office for Economy Mirka Jozić. The decision will be followed by “negotiations on the memorandum of understanding as a form of expressing the intention to take part in the procedure”, after which an international agreement will be concluded.

However, the decision on who will develop the area between the Sava river, Većeslav Holjevac Avenue, Dubrovnik Avenue and Cimermanova Street was not really difficult, given the fact that meetings with the Middle Eastern entrepreneurs were already held last year. Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić liked the Belgrade Waterfront project, which is led by Mohamed Alabbar, so he decided to bring him to the Croatian capital as well. This is the reason why the deadline for sending bids was just two weeks.

However, the abilities of the selected entrepreneur are not in question. Alabbar is the president of the company with an annual turnover of six billion dollars. Eagle Hills, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, is best known for building the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Four years ago, Alabbar started the Belgrade Waterfront project, which includes the construction of a new downtown area of the Serbian capital near the Sava river, something similar to what Bandić plans to do with the current hippodrome in Zagreb.

In the beginning, Eagle Hills was supposed to invest four billion dollars in the Belgrade project, but eventually paid just 160 million dollars and loaned Serbia another 300 million dollars. The Emirate company will be entitled to 68 per cent of the proceeds from the sale and rentals, and the land will remain in its possession for the next 99 years. It remains to be seen what the contract for the new district in Zagreb, with residential and commercial buildings, promenades, parks, shopping centres, kindergartens and schools, will look like.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Mateja Šobak).

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