EBRD to back urban regeneration initiative in Croatian capital

By bne IntelliNews April 22, 2021

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said on April 22 it is supporting a Croatian initiative for urban regeneration of the Gredelj area, located to the south of the historic “lower town”, Donji Grad.

“Based on a new study, commissioned after the March 2020 earthquake, the bank proposes the revitalisation of the abandoned Gredelj area as a new urban city centre and transport hub with integrated cultural assets,” the EBRD said in a statement.

The project could attract investment of up to around €1.6bn over 15 years, contribute 3% to Zagreb’s GDP and potentially draw to the area between 10,000 and 15,000 permanent jobs, according to the study.

The EBRD can offer financing structures to its partners, private-sector investors and developers, which can strongly complement any public investment in civil infrastructure components supported by central government or European Union (EU) funds.

The Gredelj could accommodate residential, office, retail, hotel and public use following the earthquake damage to buildings in the adjacent Donji Grad, many of which were home to government departments and agencies.

“The combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and two strong earthquakes in 2020 have hit Croatia hard. Yet now is the time to move forward and advance plans to unleash the country’s specific potential. Our proposal for Zagreb shows what the slogan ‘build back better’ can mean in real life,” Victoria Zinchuk, EBRD director, head of Croatia, said in the statement.

The 13 hectare area was previously used mainly as an industrial site. Upon the revitalisation, it is expected to also serve as a transport hub and help provide much-needed connectivity between east and west Zagreb.

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