Abu Dhabi investors expand in Montenegro as Capital Plaza opens

Abu Dhabi investors have completed the largest new mixed-used real estate project in Montenegro as they expand their footprint in eastern Europe.

Abu Dhabi Financial Group (ADFG) and Capital Investment (CI), have officially opened The Capital Plaza, in the heart of Podgorica, Montenegro’s capital city.

It comprises 1 million square feet of prime retail, business, hospitality and residential space.

ADFG made headlines last year with two major high-profile London property purchases – the Metropolitan Police headquarters New Scotland Yard and a block of flats next to Queen Elizabeth’s home Buckingham Palace.

The company, which was founded in 2011 to snap up assets in the wake of the global financial crisis and which is owned by a number of institutions, family offices and other investors, welcomed guests including Milo Djukanovic, the prime minister of Montenegro.

ADFG, with partner CI, announced that it has selected H Hotel to operate the scheme’s 139- room six-storey hotel.

The company controls a land bank of some 600,000 square metres in Serbia, Bulgaria and Montenegro and is delivering projects worth €500 million (Dh2.05 billion) in the next five years in eastern Europe.

These include the development of a site on the Black Sea in Bulgaria and projects in Montenegro, where it wants to develop housing projects along the coast and acquire food and beverage franchises.

The company is one of a number of Abu Dhab-based development firms in recent years attracted to eastern Europe, where costs are cheaper than in the neighbouring European Union and high-level government agreements are being negotiated.

In April, Eagle Hills, an Abu Dhabi-based company that has the Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar as a board member, signed a deal with the Serbian government to redevelop 1.8 million sq metres of central Belgrade.

In her address to guests at the Capital Plaza opening, Hafsa Al Ulama, UAE ambassador to Montenegro said that The Capital Plaza was a “symbol of hard work, dedication and commitment of the UAE being part of Montenegro’s development”.

She added: “The UAE through its investors and partners would like to send a message of friendship to Montenegro and to reiterate its commitment to strengthening its relations with this beautiful country.”

Abu Dhabi Financial Group operates through six units which include Abu Dhabi Capital Management, Spadille and Qannas Investments.

The company, which has interests in real estate, asset management and financial services such as brokerage, also plans to make more acquisitions in financial services and expand its debt portfolio.

Last month Integrated Capital, the capital markets unit of ADFG, lifted its stake in Gulf Navigation to 5.19 per cent by buying more than 28.61 million shares. ADFG said it planned to hold turnaround talks with the troubled Dubai-based shipping company.


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