Along with the construction of a city cable car, OiV is investing in a viewpoint, a rotating restaurant and other facilities in Sljeme’s TV tower.
As Poslovni Dnevnik/Bernard Ivezic writes on the 27th of March, 2018, one of Zagreb’s most recognisable symbols and the highest building in Croatia (169 meters), the Sljeme TV tower, now forty years old, is about to make its very own stand as a tourist attraction next year.
At the top of the tower, at as high as 1,114 meters above sea level, the highest viewpoint in Pannonian Croatia will be opened. The tower itself will receive a rotating restaurant and a range of other, brand new content. Mate Botica, the chairman of the OiV board, who came to office mid-last year, has stated that they have purchased the second half of the ownership of the tower from Croatian Telecom (Hrvatski Telekom), turned to European Union funds, and made the first shift in renovating and doing the tower up through investing in attractive LED illumination.
“For OiV, the Sljeme facility is strategic, and we’d dare to say that it is the most important facility, given the fact that it emits radio and television signals that cover almost two million people, which is half the population of Croatia,” Botica noted.
Botica explained that the goal is to commercialise the tower through support for tourism, although the wait will only be over by the third quarter of 2019.
He added that a cable car is important because of the continuous flow of visitors. According to announcements from the City of Zagreb, the new cable car should start working at the end of this year, and would have an impressive capacity of 1,500 people per hour. This means, at least theoretically, that more than 15,000 people would be brought up to the tower every day.
Botica went on to add that the new lookout tower, 83 meters above Sljeme’s very top, which was open for just two years in the 42 years of the tower’s existence, the last time being back in 1985, will be open throughout the year. Immediately below the highest viewpoint in Pannonian Croatia, the highest restaurant and viewpoint will also be located. The plan is to turn the upcoming eatery into a rotating restaurant, which would also make it the highest located catering facility of this type in the whole of Croatia, with an estimated restaurant capacity of up to and around 100 seats.
“In addition to a rich gastronomic offer, we want guests to enjoy a 360° view,” said Botica, adding that OiV has no desire to just enter the catering/restaurant industry itself, because it isn’t their primary activity. Instead, he clarified, OiV wants an association with a private partner “who has respectable experience in this business”, which will most likely be done via a public announcement and as yet, no comment or indication has been provided to suggest when this may occur.
A lot of work awaits the company, and before the opening of the viewpoint, not to mention the rotating restaraunt and other additional facilities, it will be necessary to carry out a thorough revitalisation of the tower and the infrastructure therein, and for that, OiV has already started to apply for cash from EU funds. The tower was first constructed back in 1976, 42 years ago, and after the country gained its well-earned independence, the ownership of it was divided in half between OiV and HT. As previously mentioned, it has now been confirmed that OiV has purchased HT’s share, but the cost of the share remains unknown.
After re-arranging the ownership structure, OiV plans to thoroughly refurbish the tower. As part of that renovation, floors will even be available for rent. At the foot of the tower, there are several floors which have been occupied with various pieces of telecommunication equipment until now, but they are now free and open. The company even had the idea of opening a museum in the area, but Botica has a wider approach, with plans to arrange the space for sales and permanent exhibitions, and to provide adequate space for the selling of souvenirs and other small supplies.