The Slovenia Times

After years of red tape, ground to be broken for Šiška mall


Built by Spar European Shopping Centres (SES), the mall will have 90 stores and retailer Spar as the anchor tenant, investors told the press on Wednesday. This will be SES's fifth retail development in Slovenia.

The development was first proposed more than a decade ago but has been held back by red tape and complaints by owners of neighbouring plots of land.

It took more than five years, until May 2016, to secure the building permit alone. Even then it took another eight months due to court procedures, project manager Toni Pugelj said.

"I'm glad that we have managed to prove Slovenia is a country governed by law. I am confident that if you know you are right and stick with it long enough, you succeed sooner or later," he said.

Some of the delay was due to rival retailer Mercator buying a plot adjacent to the site just to be able to lodge complaints and delay construction.

Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković, at the time the boss of Mercator, freely acknowledged the move today.

"We knew that they would get a building permit sooner or later but we wanted that to happen as late as possible," he said.

Now that he is mayor, he said he was however advocating the business interests of everyone.

Spar director Igor Mervič said Janković had legitimately protected Mercator's interests at the time but was now helping business.

"As mayor he has been representing the right interests and he has supported us in this project," Mervič said.

Mervič instead pinned the blame on the "weird system". "The courts have done their job fairly, but they are operating in this system; this means the system needs to be adapted."

Construction of the 32,000 m2 development is slated to begin on 15 June and the project is slated for completion in the autumn of 2019.


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