Belgrade — Lawmakers in Serbia gave the green light to a riverside development project in Belgrade.
Developers hope to break ground on Belgrade Waterfront this year, transforming a bleak wasteland on the east bank of the Sava River over at least the next 10 years into a forest of gleaming metal and glass at a cost of at least €3 billion ($3.25 billion).
The government of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic says the project will generate 20,000 jobs and breathe new life into Serbia’s anaemic economy.
It is the crowning project of an alliance between the UAE and Serbia under Vucic, spanning agriculture and financing.
Serbia’s 250-seat parliament voted late on Thursday by 176 to nine to adopt a special public interest law that allows for the expropriation of land and issuing of building permits for the project.
Under the plans, on 1.8 million square metres of land will rise 5,700 apartments, 2,200 hotel rooms, offices for 12,700 people, a sprawling shopping mall and a 200-metre tower.
“Great cities are built on great dreams,” Vucic said in proposing the bill to parliament on Tuesday.
The project marks the first foray into central and eastern Europe by Abu Dhabi-based Eagle Hills and UAE real estate businessman Mohamed Alabbar.
It gives the UAE a toehold in a country likely to join the EU, the world’s biggest single market, in the next decade. — Reuters
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