Monday, 5 October 2020

Civil Associations Say Zagreb Manhattan Project Fails, Bandic to Fall

ZAGREB, October 5, 2020 - Following reports that a project dubbed the Zagreb Manhattan will not happen, civil associations which have been campaigning against it said on Monday that the failure of the project was actually a victory for citizens who would also remove Mayor Milan Bandic from power in local elections next year.

The plan by Mayor Bandic to cede to a private company more than a million square metres of valuable city land within the Zagreb Trade Fair Centre and the nearby racecourse has finally failed, four civic associations said after the head of the city department for economy, Mirka Jozic, confirmed to Jutarnji List daily that plans for the project no longer exist as changes to the town plan enabling the project have not been adopted.

The four associations - Green Action, the Siget civic association, Zagreb is Calling You, and the Right to the City, said this was a final victory of all citizens, civic and professional associations, journalists and the "real opposition" in the Zagreb City Assembly.

They recalled that they had all persistently pointed to the fact that the project would enable a private company to privatise a large area at the expense of the city.

"We have shown how persistence and a strong campaign can stop even Bandic's mega-projects," the associations said.

They noted that it was still not known how much Bandic's insistence on the project would cost taxpayers as an initial agreement on the project, which he refused to make public for months, states that any disputes would be resolved through arbitration in line with the rules of the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce.

The associations therefore demand that all information regarding the financial implications of the project be published.

They also recalled the failure of Bandic's plan to have changes to the town plan enabling the project adopted without any public consultation and their campaign and protests against the project, noting that the project would be remembered as  a symbol of Bandic's rule of Zagreb, "marked by currying favour with individual private companies, privatisation of valuable city land and other property and partnerships with companies that profit from Zagreb while citizens pay for their projects."

"Citizens managed to bring down Bandic's insane project and in seven months they will topple him in elections as well," the associations said.


For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Bandić's Zagreb Manhattan Plans Rejected Again

ZAGREB, November 16, 2019 - Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić on Friday expressed confidence that the Zagreb city plan, which includes the so-called Zagreb Manhattan project, would be on the agenda of the City Assembly and would be adopted in December.

Amendments to the city plan, which envisage the launching of the so-called Zagreb Manhattan project, were today again rejected by the Construction and Physical Planning Ministry which believes that the documentation and project analysis required additional work and should be amended.

Asked if he had been tricked by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) regarding the project, Bandić would not answer.

"I don't know what you are talking about. The city plan will be adopted in line... with positive legal regulations," he said.

The city plan may be amended three more times if necessary, as long as it is adopted, he said.

He noted that the adoption of the city plan and the launching of investments was in the interest of the mayor, Construction Minister Predrag Štromar and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković alike.

The Construction and Physical Planning Ministry earlier in the day rejected for the second time the proposed changes to the Zagreb city plan, after it did so in July.

The ministry said at the time that an analysis of amendments to the city plan showed that the documentation and the city plan report needed to be amended.

This was followed, in the first half of August, by public consultation on the city plan which associations claim was not implemented appropriately because, of the 31,000 objections submitted to amendments to the city plan, only 17 were adopted and those were objections by the city authorities or city services while none of the objections submitted by members of the public, associations, initiatives and professional organisations was adopted.

Numerous associations, city planners and architects, opposition members of the Zagreb City Council and most councils of the Zagreb city neighbourhoods are opposed to the amendments to the Zagreb city plan, which would enable the launch of the Zagreb Manhattan development project.

More Zagreb news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

HDZ Zagreb City Councillors Opposed to High Rise Complex on Sava River Bank

ZAGREB, July 10, 2019 - President of the Zagreb City Assembly Drago Prgomet of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) on Wednesday said that HDZ councillors do not wish to see amendments to the city's town planning that would envisage building a high rise complex where the Zagreb Trade Fair and racecourse are located.

He said that the HDZ will demand that whatever is to be built in that locality is appropriate for a city that is a central European metropolis. "We don't want to build a New York here, nor do we want to build a Belgrade on the Sava River," he underscored.

Reporters asked Progmet what HDZ's attitude would be toward the project dubbed "Zagreb's Manhattan" if the people were against it, and he said that HDZ would respect the will of the people.

"If citizens say they agree or don't agree with something at a referendum, then that is literally binding for us. Until there is a referendum, the City Assembly will make decisions, including regarding town planning, which only sets out prerequisites for certain changes regarding construction in Zagreb," he said.

He asserted that HDZ was very responsible in the process of adopting the city's town plan and that it is generally for adopting a new one, provided procedure is respected.

In March this year, the city authorities said that Eagle Hills, a group of investors from Abu Dhabi, was the likely strategic investor in a possible development project colloquially called Manhattan.

More Zagreb news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Architects Slam "Zagreb Manhattan" Project as Unacceptable

ZAGREB, April 3, 2019 - Croatian associations of architects, urban planners, landscape architects and art historians sent an open letter to Zagreb mayor Milan Bandić on Tuesday, saying that the recently published plans for the implementation of the Zagreb Manhattan (or "City within the City") project were unacceptable from several points of view.

The plans ignore the legal procedure and are completely disputable from a professional point of view, the organisations said in the letter, noting that the project had not been put to public consultation.

The project is not in line with the Urban Development Plan or with the Master Plan, they warned, stressing that procedural and professional conditions should be met for the implementation of the project.

The purpose of the "City within the City" project is to transform the area of 1.1 million square metres covering the Zagreb Trade Fair complex and the Hippodrome horse racing venue into "a new innovative mixed-use urban zone for various complementary purposes," according to a call for expression of interest.

The call for expression of interest said that Novi Zagreb, the part of Zagreb south of the River Sava, does not have sufficient public, social, cultural, entertainment, commercial, sports and recreational facilities to meet the needs of its 120,000 residents, and that the planned project would improve the overall quality of life in the city.

Eagle Hills, a company based in the United Arab Emirates, has been selected as a possible partner for the "City within the City" development project, the Zagreb mayor's office said in a press release early in March.

More Zagreb news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

70-Metre Observation Tower to Be Centrepiece of Zagreb Manhattan?

It is not a 200-storey skyscraper, which Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić daydreamed about last week, but it is an observation tower that could potentially be among the 15 highest structures in Croatia. According to the public call issued to architects and designers, it will be the “the anchor and the heart of a mixed-use master plan which will represent the new city centre.” In other words, it is around this 45-70 metre tower, which will be located in the area of the present racecourse, that the so-called Zagreb Manhattan will be based, reports Večernji List on March 27, 2019.

The call to interested designers is the first concrete move in the “City Within City” project, announced just over a month ago. It is supposed to cover the 1.1 million square metre area at and around the current Zagreb Fair and should include the centre of Novi Zagreb. The ideas on how the tower should look like have been sought by Ex Development from Dubai, a company with less than ten employees established, according to the LinkedIn business network, about half a year ago.

The observation tower, which must be a recognisable city landmark, should look over the Sava river, as well as the whole city, according to the call, adding that it is essential that the structure should have only stairs and an elevator leading to the top, with no additional facilities.

Designers and architects have until just April 10 to design the future "symbol of Zagreb", and the best proposal will be rewarded with 20,000 dollars. The "view of the old part of the city and the mountain in the background" will be the main feature of the future tower, which will be located in the new centre of the Croatian capital, which will also include "residential buildings, shops, offices and cultural facilities.”

According to the sketch which is part of the competition and which shows where the future tower will be located, it will be surrounded by one of three large squares, a retail street, a larger park and a “green link” with the existing Park Mladenaca. Also, there is a tram line planned within the "Zagreb Manhattan".

The Zagreb Society of Architects Zagreb (DAZ) reacted to the competition, saying that the area with the first structure should actually be developed at the end of the project. “It is set on the hippodrome and near the Sava river, and this area should be planned only after the urban regeneration of the Zagreb Fair area is completed,” said the DAZ, adding that the whole intervention is against the concept of the fair as a cultural unit.

The city authorities said unofficially that they know about the contest, but that it was a "framework plan" of one of the potential investors in "Zagreb City".

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Mateja Šobak).

More Zagreb news can be found in the Lifestyle section.