Location for Croatian “Fort Knox” Sought

Total Croatia News

The Croatian National Bank is looking for a location for Croatia’s central treasury.

One of the prerequisites for the introduction of the euro, which should happen in the next several years, at least according to the government’s plans, is the construction of a new modern treasury of the Croatian National Bank. This is one of the essential conditions of the European Central Bank, which EU member states must fulfil to enter the eurozone, reports Jutarnji List on May 28, 2018.

Three years ago, the Croatian National Bank (HNB), with the help of the State Property Agency, found the ideal location – a part of the “Croatia” military barracks in Zagreb, which the Ministry of Defence wants to sell. It includes about 170,000 square metres of land which is not needed anymore by the armed forces and is located in the northern part of the military complex. The location is ideal because of the proximity of a highway and an airport, and it also has some additional advantages, such as a heliport and adequate security and geomechanical features.

The talks between the Ministry of Defence (MORH) and the HNB began in 2015, but nothing much has happened in the meantime.

In order to restart the initiative, a meeting of representatives of a number of state institutions, including the City of Zagreb, the County and Municipal State Attorney’s Office, the defence and state property ministries and the HNB, was recently held. As with many other large projects, the main problem is the ownership issue over the land.

Although numerous state institutions and ministries have been supposedly involved in solving the problem, the available information indicates there is a total mess in the relationship between them. Namely, while the HNB and the Ministry of Defence formally say that the property issues settlement is in progress, which is a prerequisite for the conclusion of a sales contract, the Ministry of State Property, which manages the state-owned property, firmly claims that “at this time, we are not considering the possibility of selling parts of the barracks.” On the other hand, the Ministry of Defence says that the negotiations on the sale of the land are progressing. It is estimated that the process of solving various legal issues with land will take anywhere from three to six months.

To buy the land, the HNB needs to solve all legal issues. The building also has to meet a number of specific criteria, so the HNB will have the technical assistance of the eurozone countries. Therefore, they do not want to speculate what the total cost of the investment would be. When it comes to the land itself, according to some estimates, the MORH would receive between 1.7 and 3.4 million euro.

The current treasury is located the basement of the HNB building, which was adapted in 1974. It is evident that it is necessary to build a new cash storage vault, which will not be located in the city centre as it is now. Therefore, in 2009 the HNB he published a tender for the purchase of land within 20 to 40 kilometres from the centre of Zagreb. It received 25 bids, but the asked price per square metre was astronomical. The then HNB Governor Željko Rohatinski was exposed to pressure to accept some of the proposals, but he ultimately rejected them all, and the project was suspended.

The complex has been unofficially named “the Croatian Fort Knox”, after the location where US gold reserves are kept, and the security requirements would undoubtedly make it the most complex building construction project in Croatia.

Translated from Jutarnji List (reported by Krešimir Žabec, Marina Klepo).


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