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by Property Forum | Report

In Ljubljana, a huge mixed-use project will see the creation of a new railway station, a new bus station, a hotel, a shopping centre, offices and apartments as part of the Emonika project. The public infrastructure project will be complemented by a private development by Mendota Invest, owned by Hungary’s OTP Real Estate Investment Fund. The project, which is worth nearly €500 million, was presented in Ljubljana by Sándor Csányi, CEO of OTP, Jernej Vrtovec, Slovenia’s Minister of Infrastructure, Zorán Janković, Mayor of Ljubljana, Dusan Mes, CEO of the Slovenian Railways and Janez Kozelj, Deputy Mayor of Ljubljana, Hungarian business daily Portfolio reports.

Improving public transport infrastructure

The event was opened by Jernej Vrtovec, Slovenia's Minister of Infrastructure, who said that the track and technical infrastructure at Ljubljana station will be replaced in the coming years. The renewal of the railway infrastructure is part of an investment of €111 million, with the entire project due to be completed by 2025. Zorán Janković, Mayor of Ljubljana added that the new bus station will be able to handle 90 buses per hour without causing congestion in the city centre. The total project, public and private investment combined, could be worth nearly half a billion euros, the mayor said.

Speaking at the event, Sándor Csányi said that the OTP Group is present in 11 countries, and in each country, they are looking to expand their business presence in areas other than banking. OTP has also received a lot of support from the Ministry of Infrastructure and the city government for the Emonika project. They are applying for the permits for the Emonika project, which could be obtained in 8-10 months.

Responding to a question from a journalist, he said the Emonika project is worth nearly €350 million. Reacting to the rising prices of raw materials for construction, he said that prices could start to ease from the second half of this year or next year. The project could be financed 20-30 percent by equity, with the remaining 70-80 percent being a syndicated loan, where banks other than OTP could also participate.

Building a new city centre

More than 19 500 sqm of offices with more than 790 parking spaces will be built in the northern part of Emonika, which will serve the needs of large companies and SMEs. The project will also include more than 205 lifestyle apartments, some of which will be penthouses with panoramic, spacious balconies. The southern part will have retail and leisure facilities with more than 80 retail units on 24 500 sqm. A 153-room hotel will also be built, the Emonika Urban Resort Hotel will include a roof garden, a fine dining restaurant and a conference room. The Emonika project will also include a 20-storey tower block, which will be the tallest building in Ljubljana, with 51 apartments for long-term rent and more than 10,000 sqm of office space.

The project will also focus on sustainability and will be the first mixed-use property in Ljubljana to be certified 'Excellent' under BREEAM.

Long history

The Emonika project was launched in Ljubljana in 2002, it took almost 4 years for the relevant authorities to grant the permits and in 2007 TriGranit and the Slovenian Railways signed a joint venture contract for the construction of the Emonika City Center, which was planned for a total area of over 213,000 sqm and included office space, a shopping and entertainment centre, a hotel and apartments, and was then a €250 million investment. In the years following the 2008 crisis, the economic environment changed dramatically and TriGranit sought state support from the Slovenian government for the project, but the project did not progress and in 2014 TriGranit initiated a contract termination with the Slovenian Railways. In the following years, several investors were involved in the project, with Mendota Invest acquiring the three development companies working on the Emonika development, which were then owned by Granit Pólus, and OTP Real Estate Fund acquiring 100 percent of Mendota Invest in December 2019.