UAE partner to own 68 percent stake in Belgrade Waterfront

Under the Belgrade Waterfront project construction contract, signed on Sunday, the Republic of Serbia will own 32 percent of equity.

Source: Tanjug
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68 percent to be owned by a United Arab Emirates-based partner.

The signatories of the contract are the Serbian government and Belgrade Waterfront Capital Investment LLC, owned by the Eagle Hills company, states the contract, which has been seen by Tanjug.

To fund the Belgrade Waterfront project, Eagle Hills will secure EUR 300 million and EUR 150 million in equity, with an additional EUR 150 million loan to come from the company founder.

It has been confirmed that the project may last a maximum 30 years and that 50 percent of the project must be completed in the first two decades, with Serbian contractors to be favored.

Eagle Hills will approve an additional EUR 90 million loan to Serbia for relocation of railway facilities from the Sava amphitheater and another EUR 40 million for the land expropriation process.

Eagle Hills has agreed to a long-term, 99-year lease of land, and government-protected buildings will not be removed, but renovated and utilized to provide various cultural content.

Belgrade Waterfront contract signed

The contract on joint investments in the Belgrade Waterfront project, worth around EUR 3.5 billion, was signed in Belgrade on Sunday, "and is expected to provide a significant boost to the Serbian economy, engage the construction industry and ensure new jobs," Tanjug reported.

The contract was signed by Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic, Mohamed Alabbar, board member at UAE-based company Eagle Hills, and Belgrade Waterfront Director Aleksandar Trifunovic.

Under the project, over one million square meters of residential space will be built in an approximately 177-hectare area, along with around 750,000 square meters of business and commercial space, as well as over 62,000 square meters of public buildings (kindergartens, schools, cultural institutions and social welfare and health care institutions) and 242,000 square meters of green space.

The project implementation will make it possible for more than 17,000 residents to live in the area, while also providing jobs to around 13,000 people.

"Economic growth"

The Belgrade Waterfront project will spur economic growth and strengthen the cooperation between Serbia and the United Arab Emirates, Eagle Hills board member and project investor Mohamed Alabbar said on Sunday.

After the signing of the contract on joint investments in the project, Alabbar said that the Belgrade Waterfront project on the banks of the River Sava will utilize leading-edge technology and design.

Responding to a reporter's comment that "one part of the public does not believe that the project will be carried out," Alabbar said that his company has operations in 14 countries and that it has implemented projects worth USD 15-20 billion over the past 18 years.

If that is not a sufficient guarantee, there are the guarantees from the Serbian and the UAE governments, he said.

Belgrade Waterfront is the biggest project of its kind - not only in the region, but in Europe as well, Belgrade Mayor Sinisa Mali said, noting that the project's significance also lies in the fact that it shows that Serbia is capable of creating a positive business environment and attracting and retaining foreign investors.

The project contract will take effect once it has been approved by the Commission for Protection of Competition and will subsequently be made available to the public in its entirety, Mali said.

Protest

Two groups of citizens gathered on Sunday outside the Belgrade Cooperative building - where the Belgrade Waterfront project contract had been signed earlier in the day - with one group protesting against the signing of the contract and the other backing it.

Those who opposed the project carried posters saying "Let us not drown Belgrade" and "Belgrade does not want a bourgeois waterfront district", greeting some ministers with whistles and chants of "Treason, treason!"

The citizens who gathered to back the Belgrade Waterfront project applauded city officials, the UAE investors and ministers and later joined them for a tour of the new Sava Nova building, where an exhibition space will be opened to promote the Belgrade Waterfront project, worth around EUR 3.5 billion.

The signatories of the contract are the Serbian government and Belgrade Waterfront Capital Investment LLC, owned by the UAE-based Eagle Hills company.

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