STA, March 2, 2018 – Ljubljana will get a new train and bus passenger terminal by 2020, even though the private investors have pulled out of the Emonika project, Dušan Mes, the CEO of national rail operator Slovenske Železnice, has said.
"Ljubljana will get a new bus passenger and train terminal by 2020, but there will be no shopping centre and hotel," Mes told the newspaper Delo on Friday.
He announced that public investors - the city of Ljubljana, the state and Slovenske Železnice - could build the terminal on their own.
"We've been thinking about starting the construction of Emonika's [transport] infrastructure on our own, without a private investor."
The bus and passenger train terminal have been estimated to cost around 100 million euro.
Mes spoke to Delo and Dnevnik after the latter reported on Thursday that one of the key private investors, Mas Real Estate, had withdrawn from the project.
According to Mes, the public investors have come up with plan B because they have been waiting for a year and a half for the private investors to transfer ownership rights.
He said he was not briefed on the reasons for Mas Real Estate's decision, so he could not say why the investor was unable to reach a deal with Granit Polus, the firm which owns the land.
But he explained that private investors had had problems with the former land owner, Hungarian developer Trigranit, for a while.
Legislation could also have played its part. "I'm sure the investors would like to make things simple, but legislation would not allow for it."
However, Mes said that private investors could still join in later on, yet once the terminal is built, the shopping mall could not be as large as is planned now.
Mas Real Estate and Prime Kapital have set up a special company to build the commercial part of Emonika - a 100-metre tower building, a hotel and an office building as well as a two-storey shopping centre.
But in its end-year business report Mes Real Estate said the project has been suspended after it became clear that some regulatory issues were insurmountable.
Emonika has a long history. The first investment contract was signed by Slovenske Železnice and Trigranit in 2007, when the project was said to be completed in 2009.
Its cost was growing from the initial EUR 220m to EUR 350m, allegedly because of ever new demands by the state, so Trigranit broke off the contract in 2014.
It nevertheless remained the owner of the land until the plots were transferred onto three companies owned by Cyprus-based Granit Polus.