Children’s Village in Baška Voda: €20 Million Estate in Ruins

Total Croatia News


The former health resort on Makarska Riviera keeps sparking investor interest, but cannot be sold due to the unresolved dispute on ownership rights. A rundown of the current situation on January 2, 2018

The Children’s Village, located in Baška Voda Municipality in Split-Dalmatia County, used to be known as a healthcare facility for children with respiratory problems. The institution dates back to 1958 when the Swedish Red Cross built two bungalows and ten wooden barracks to house Hungarian refugees, with the area getting repurposed and expanded as a health resort in 1988, providing treatment to numerous children from from all parts of Yugoslavia and multiple foreign countries. During the Homeland War, the village housed refugees who were provided state-sponsored lodging for the following fifteen years. Since 2006, the County has launched three public tenders aiming to lease the resort for a period of 40 years – to no avail.

In 2001, a court-appointed expert estimated the value of the estate at 127 million kuna, but all the former mayors supposedly opposed the idea of putting the resort on sale, hoping to revitalise the area instead to develop the local economy. Even though numerous entrepreneurs and potential investors expressed interest in buying the entire estate, all attempts fell through, as the County and the state have been in dispute over ownership rights for sixteen years. While the civil procedure aiming to establish the rightful owner drags out, the resort continues to deteriorate. 



Slobodna Dalmacija / screenshot

Ante Renić of the Pametno party recently touched on the problematic subject at a session of the City Council of Baška Voda. “The Master plan of Baška Voda cites [the resort] as an area for tourism and health tourism disposing of 700 beds, and considering its preferable location, we’re talking about 20 million euro in value. But we’re all standing by as the object is falling apart, saying nothing, while its director keeps getting a [gross] annual salary of 140.000 kuna”, Renić claimed.

Councillor Filip Vidulin (HDZ) stated they had already appealed to State Property Minister Goran Marić to intervene, and he supposedly promised he would deal with the case before the end of the year. Minister Marić visited the village in 2017, but the situation remains unchanged.

In the meantime, acting director Ivan Jurišić keeps going to work everyday, supervising the abandoned facilities and indeed receiving a gross monthly salary of 10.000 kuna. These days, his main duties consist of preventing potential illegal construction works at the nearby beach from happening, or making sure the cottages don’t see any illegal tenants in summer. “I’m a full-time employee, and I spend my days in the ‘Village’ doing what I can. I’m officially in charge of the administration”, he said, adding that multiple parties have shown interest in the estate in the past, and keep doing so. “Our company has no debt, but the unsettled ownership rights quickly drive away all potential buyers”, Jurišić stated.

He sees the period from 1991 to 2006, when the resort used to house refugees, as the main reason the business fell apart. “The state was providing 25 kuna a day for meals and all utility expenses per capita. It was next to impossible to cover all the expenses with 25 kuna, but we managed nonetheless, without getting into debt. If we had an additional source of income or if we were allowed to lease a part of the facilities and invest the revenue in management, it would’ve been an entirely different story”, Jurišić concluded.

For years now, Mayor of Baška Voda Josko Roščić has been hoping the problem would get resolved, and has recently stated the Municipality of Baška Voda wants for the facilities to start operating again. “It would lead to an increase of the employment rate and overnight stays, and as far as I know, many parties have shown interest in buying the Children’s Village. We have already spoken to a couple of potential buyers, but this case doesn’t seem to be moving forward. We’re spinning in circles”, stated the Mayor.

Source: Slobodna Dalmacija


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