Investors to Build "City within the City" in Zagreb?

By 15 February 2019

Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić allegedly wants to build a new city within Zagreb, on the 1.1 million square metre plot of land between the Sava River, Većeslav Holjevac Avenue and Dubrovnik Avenue, and the total investment of the project will not be less than 500 million euros, reports Jutarnji List on February 15, 2019.

These plans are part of the public call that the city administration issued in recent days to potential investors to participate in the development and realization of the project “City within the City”, aiming to transform this part of the town into a "new, innovative urban area, with mixed and diverse complementary services, which would improve the overall quality of life of the inhabitants, become a tourist attraction, and form the centre of Novi Zagreb with its many diverse functions.”

This is perhaps the most attractive property owned by the city authorities, and it is currently occupied by the Zagreb Fair, the Hippodrome and the football complex used by the Lokomotiva Football Club.

What is interesting in Bandić’s latest ambitious “plan” is an exceptionally short deadline for submitting letters of intent. Anyone who wants to participate must respond urgently by March 1, which is less than 15 days away.

The transformation of this area has been talked about for years, but investments and the possible removal of a number of current buildings there have been prevented by the conservation regulations. The city authorities allegedly held several meetings with Middle East investors, which were looking for locations for more substantial investments. In addition to the Arab investors, there were also people from China who were looking for projects worth more than 50 million euros.

The new “city” would include residential and business buildings, promenades, parks, new streets, shopping centres, catering facilities, as well as a number of public spaces for citizens.

If the project is every realised, which is not certain at all and does not seem particularly likely, it would be funded as follows. After the further development of detailed plans, which would determine the needs of both the city and the investor, the value of the land would be assessed. The city would then invest the land, while the private investors would finance the construction of the buildings and other facilities.

"The Hippodrome will most likely have to be moved from the area. It restricts the development of this part of the town,” said sources, adding that the Hippodrome would be moved to a location in the western or eastern part of the city, or perhaps to the area around Brezovica. On the other hand, the Zagreb Fair, which has been defined in numerous planning documents as a strategic area, has not been fully modernised for decades.

Companies which want to apply for the public call will have to fulfil several conditions. In addition to being very quick in developing plans in order to submit them to the city in less than two weeks, they must have developed similar projects in the last five years in the amount of least 500 million euro. They also must have experts who have implemented projects worth over 200 million euros over the past five years, of which at least two projects must refer to the urban transformation of a city.

Translated from Jutarnji List (reported by Tomislav Mamić).

More news about Zagreb and its “mega-projects” can be found in the special Zagreb section.