Slobodna Dalmacija reports that a total of HRK 105 million was allocated to the City of Split for the first phase of the future Split Technology Park in Dračevac, which is almost 64 percent of the total value of the project, estimated at HRK 165 million! This is the largest individual project of the City of Split in the European Union’s programming period. A public procurement procedure has been launched to design and construct the Split Technology Park central building with a total area of more than 17 thousand square meters.
But most importantly, this project is the beginning of a new Split, which emerges from the monoculture of tourism and turns to high technology. It results from many years of work and cooperation between the City of Split and competent ministries, primarily the Ministry of State Property, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Culture during 2018, and continuous cooperation with the Ministry of Regional Development and European Union funds.
If the market survey and survey of entrepreneurs, which was also conducted during the project’s preparation, proved to be correct, 1470 employees would work in only the first of the three phases of the Split Technology Park in Dračevac. Thanks to this project, 404 new jobs would be created in Split, which would be structured so that more than 94 percent would be employees of higher education. The total capacity of all three phases is 7,000 new employees who could work in Dračevac.
The idea of the technology park on Dračevac dates back to 2009 when the Croatian Government donated 146 hectares of land worth HRK 276 million to the City of Split for the first time. The City aimed to turn it into a business and fair center where there would be 952 employees in the early years. To realize the project worth about HRK 400 million, the City then established the Split Development Agency – SRA, adopted a Detailed Development Plan for the Dračevac Work Zone, which provided for an ABC center, fair center, and technology park. However, the City had not started the process or parceled the zone according to the adopted DPU, issued a geodetic study, or defined its intentions towards the competent authorities. Therefore, as stipulated in the contract, the Croatian Government was to confiscate the donated land to the City due to inactivity.
In the summer of 2017, the City of Split, led by Mayor Andro Krstulović Opara, drafted the Urban Agglomeration Split Strategy and the ITU Urban Agglomeration Project Action Plan, which envisaged changing the Dračevac project to accommodate two strategic projects – relocating the JGP Promet garage and the Split Technology Park, abolishing the fair center as an idea that depends on a strong consumer market that Croatia does not have. Then talks began with the Ministry of State Property, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Culture, and the Split-Makarska Archdiocese on the future content of Dračevac, and in January 2018, Mayor Krstulović Opara reactivated the Development Agency, renaming it the Development Agency Split – RaST d.o.o.
Then the amendment of the DPU of the Working Zone Dračevac began. Given the strongly expressed will and desire of the City of Split to revitalize this area, the Croatian Government, at its session in Split in May 2018, decided to donate land to the City of Split Promet and the Technology Park Split, as well as the decision to donate part of the land in Dračevac to the Split-Makarska Archdiocese for the needs of the development of the Educational Center-kindergarten, primary and secondary school.
In the meantime, the City of Split made amendments to the DPU of the Dračevac Working Zone and prepared project-technical documentation of the preliminary, main implementation project and feasibility study as a basis for co-financing from EU funds. On the feast of St. Domnius, May 7, 2020, the Croatian Government turned its intention to donate land to the City of Split from 2018 into a Decision, and the City then performed a subdivision study and submitted a request for registration of ownership.
At the end of 2020, the City of Split obtained a valid location permit for the entire first phase of the Split Technology Park and then, together with the Development Agency, Split applied for two projects for co-financing and direct allocation of EU funds, according to calls issued by the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds mechanism, within the Operational Program “Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020.”
Decisions to accept the project arrived in February. The first stage of construction of the central building of the Technology Park, i.e., the project entitled “Development of the Dračevac Zone – Technology Park Split – Dračevac” includes the implementation of activities related to the reconstruction of the former barracks “St. Križ” to create the infrastructural preconditions to establish the technology park. The project’s total amount is HRK 77.1 million, while the grant amounts to HRK 44.2 million, or 56% of the total project funds.
The second stage of construction of the Technology Park central building, i.e., the EU project called “Constructing and equipping the central building of the Technology Park Split – Dračevac,” includes finishing works and equipping the central building to the stage of usability and includes all necessary construction and craft works, installations, ventilation, heating and cooling, water supply and drainage, equipping common areas, conference rooms, 3D laboratories, etc. The project’s total amount is HRK 87 million, while the European Union grant amounts to HRK 60.8 million, or 70% of total project funds.
For the realization of the initial section of the Split Technology Park, i.e., the construction of the central building, the total amount of both registered projects amounts to HRK 164,754,315.70, of which a total of HRK 105,074,234.69 of EU grants has been provided, and the deadline is 31 December 2023.
The technology park in Dračevac is divided and will be built in three phases. In the already mentioned first phase, the most important is the central building of the Technology Park, the construction of which will be co-financed by EU funds, with emphasis on office and production space. For the entire first phase, a unique preliminary design was prepared, based on which a location permit was obtained in October 2020, and the preliminary design was prepared by the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture, and Geodesy with the chief designer Darija Gabrić.
Thus, the reconstruction and upgrade of the existing central building of the 4th GBR “Pauci” barracks, which is largely retained, except for one dilatation that is removed to build a new road, will create a new central building, the future headquarters of high technology in Split. In addition to 1,010 parking spaces, employees of the future Technology Park will have at their disposal laboratory and office space, a coworking center, canteen, kindergarten, gym, and parks, and the city of Split will get the first large conference center with up to 800 participants.
Thanks to the approved funds, the City of Split initiated the procedure. They announced a preliminary consultation on procuring the design and construction of the central building, with a total estimated value of HRK 116.8 million without VAT. The remaining funds will be provided in the budget over three years.
The deadline for realizing the rest of the first, second, and third phases of the Split Technology Park is, as stated in the government’s grant, 25 years. The second phase of the Technology Park (about 75 thousand square meters) focuses on offices, laboratories, and production halls. In the third phase (20 thousand square meters), they will build a business tower with aparthotel and a business office center, additional large congress facilities in Split.
Without a doubt, the Split Technology Park is a capital project of the City of Split in the years to come and a ticket to the world of the highly developed IT industry. The former barracks on Dračevac will be the base of a smart city.
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