July 13, 2019 – Fifteen years after expensive property shows in London and elsewhere, the troubled Male Rudine villas on Hvar are set to open their doors.
They were the poster child of how difficult it was to build anything on Hvar, and I remember very well the day I first heard about a new villa complex in Male Rudina, back in 2004. I was in the real estate business at the time and had my own agency.
Male Rudine? That divine little hamlet with just two full-time inhabitants. a new development of 11 luxury villas all with pools in a cul de sac similar to the set on Desperate Housewives. Hvar had never seen anything like it.
And it looked like Hvar never would.
For soon after the building permit was issued (and it did exist, I still have a copy), the permit was revoked, the first time I had heard of such a thing in my real estate dealings. The owners, confident that they could overturn the decision, decided to press on with the building, and they finished construction of all eleven villas. But with no water and electric connections, the project came to a grinding halt. And that, seemingly, was that. I remember the price of the best villa at the front of the plot – 737,000 euro.
Years passed. The villages suffered from negelct, and there was a general sense of decay and abandonment. I visited a couple of time over the years, but things only looked sadder. The Four Seasons Brizenica Bay project – itself on its knees and still awaiting agreement on the road access, never mind a full construction permit – was close by. If the villas could be legalised and rescued and Four Seasons built, this would be a rather interesting pocket of the island.
I was showing friends around the island, and we decided to go to Male Rudine to take some photos of this lovely Dalmatian hamlet and its gorgeous traditional features. I went to show them the villas too, an example of how things go wrong. And I was surprised to see we were not alone. There was a flurry of activity, with workmen everywhere – and they all had one thing in common – their cars had Czech plates.
I asked one what the story was. A Czech investor had bought the lot (at quite a nice price I assume), and they were busy finishing and furnishing them all for this season. They plan to open next month, for rental only.
Walking around, the development looked tidy and well-kept. There is still work to be done on the landscaping, but the views were as gorgeous as always, and the peacefulness was idyllic.
A white elephant project has come back to life, and I am sure it will attract some good guests to the Stari Grad region in the years to come.
Just the final touches and linen to be added, and things will be ready for business, some 15 years on. In Dalmatia, perhaps this is not such a slow timeframe. Pomalo, pomalo.