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news 27 Nov 13

Trump Eyes Turning Serbian Army Ruin into Hotel

Donald Trump is considering buying the Serbian Defence Ministry's bombed headquarters in Belgrade, and turning them into a top-class hotel.

BIRN
Belgrade
The bomb-damaged Serbian Army HQ. Photo: Beta

Workers in Serbia are busy cleaning the remains of the so-called B building of the former Serbian Army headquarters in Belgrade that NATO blasted in 1999.

"Works include clearing the collapsed remains of the reinforced concrete structure from the basement to the top," the Defence Ministry said.

The job is due to last 70 working days.

The clean-up comes after American businessman Donald Trump met Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic last week in the US and discussed the potential for building a luxurious hotel on the spot.

Trump is sending a group of observers to view the location over the next month. Dacic said after the meeting that such an investment would be of great importance for Serbia.

"The arrival of Trump and his investment would be a call to other serious investors," Dacic said.

The celebrity tycoon has a series of hotels in the US which are branded with his name, as well as being famous for his outspoken television appearances.

He is not the first investor to show an interest in turning the former army headquarters into a hotel. Mohammed bin Zayed, from the United Arab Emirates, has also eyed the location for a possible luxury hotel.

The former army heardquarters, which was the work of Serbian architect Nikola Dobrovic, comprises two buildings of about 50,000 square metres, built between 1956 and 1965.

It suffered extensive damage from NATO bombing on April 29 and on May 7, 1999. Six years later, the complex was placed on a list of Serbian cultural heritage sites.

It has not been repaired since the bombing for lack of money but serves mainly as a tourist attraction.

The complex is owned by the Serbian state and the Defence Ministry and Army were only its tenants.

According to Serbian law, a building listed as a protected monument can be repaired without changing its status. The building must retain its external appearance but areas behind its façade can be redeveloped.

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