The Slovenia Times

Tobačna City: A City - In the City



"The idea for Tobačna City dates back to the summer of 2004, when I found out that Tobačna Factory was on the market," Branko Kastelic, the President of the Management Board of IMOS GROUP, the investor, explains. In the Tobačna area the heavy machinery and fenced off building site hint that construction work is already underway, although no buildings are yet to be seen. "There is indeed nothing to be seen but after five years of intense documentation preparation, the project is finally taking physical shape," says Kastelic.

The idea is to build a residential-business complex where cultural institutions and public programmes, such as the already running public administration centre, will also be located. The project comprises two phases. Apart from the new constructions, it is also engaged with preservation of cultural heritage, as one third of the area is a cultural heritage site. "The buildings have 23,000 square metres of useful space, and some - for instance, public administration and some agencies - are already open for business" explains Kastelic. "We will preserve five objects, the biggest, the Administrative Unit building is already renovated, while other three will be finished in the following years."

The total project budget is just over EUR 300 million and the investor has succeeded in acquiring all the necessary permits for the first construction phase. This amounts to about a third of the planned project activities, which entails three skyscrapers with 230 residential units, some 6,800 square metres of business areas and more than 900 parking spaces.

The process of acquiring permits was smooth, but the procedure itself is rather long, explains Kastelic. "The former industrial area required a broad compromise, in professional and general public alike. We took ample time for this," reiterates Kastelic. "From among 16 bids to the public call in early 2007, our project won," continues Kastelic, who expects that when finished, Tobačna City will see daily some 4,000 visitors. "The advantages this location has to offer are, as compared to the city centre, ease of access and car parking, and a pedestrian zone reaching from Rožna doline to the Rožnik hill". He emphasises that the City will not expand outside the designated area, but rather use existing areas to their full capacity.

Residential unit prices will reflect the market

Kastelic says that the price for residential units has not yet been set. Analysis of the real estate market in Ljubljana shows that prices in comparable new constructions range between 3,500 and 6,000 EUR per square metres, though can be considerably lower, sometimes starting at 1,300 EUR. "Despite the excellent location and its advantages, we will not skyrocket the prices, but keep them to the present market conditions," promises Kastelic. He estimates that the first phase of the project - the construction of the three skyscrapers - will be finished by 2014, and admits that finalisation of the subsequent phases cannot yet be precisely defined. Nevertheless, the Imos Holding President of the Management Board says: "The plan is to finish Tobačna City by 2018."


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