Abu Dhabi firms seed mixed-use project in Montenegro

The Capital Plaza — said to be the largest mixed-use real estate development in Montenegro and funded by two Abu Dhabi based investment firms — has had its official opening. The project located in the heart of Podgorica, Montenegro's capital, occupies more than 1 million square feet for its retail, commercial, residential and hospitality offerings. The development cost has not been announced.

Capital Investment helmed the project in association with Abu Dhabi Financial Group. The latter specialises in alternative investments and has built a portfolio around financial services, real estate and debt. In the last 12 to 18 months, Middle East investors have been seeking a higher exposure in mainland Europe to go along with the historical commitments they have had in the UK.

''The Capital Plaza, with its striking architecture, cutting-edge technology and quality fit-out, is a key destination for businesses, residents and tourists from all over the world,'' said Jassim Al Seddiqi, CEO of ADFG, in a statement. ''Furthermore, the H Hotel will provide the ideal hotel operator brand to augment the building's status as an iconic landmark for Montenegro.''

It was at the opening that H Hotel was confirmed as the operator of the 139-room hotel. In attendance were Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister of Montenegro, and Hafsa Al Ulama, the UAE Ambassador to Montenegro.

It was last year that ADFG opened its Eastern Europe office in Podgorica with a dedicated team of investment professionals with experience delivering on major real estate and hospitality projects in the region.

''The growth potential in Eastern Europe for firms such as ADFG is undeniable and, in large parts, under-penetrated,'' according to Al Seddiqi. ''It is a region we know very well and in which the ADFG name is well-established. ADFG has a track record of delivering an exceptional internal rate of return across its platforms and our exposure to Eastern Europe will augment this in the future.''


ADFG, which was formed in 2011, also operates offices in London and Dubai apart from its Abu Dhabi headquarters.

It has now completed 25 deals worth $1 billion plus, while assets under management now total more than $3 billion. ''Our strategy is about finding niches; we seek value and remain opportunistic,'' said Alseddiqi. ''It is for this reason that our activity may be lower than some of our peers — but it is also the reason that we deliver consistently high returns.''

It made a start by acquiring No 1 Palace Street, with a gross development value of £513 million (Dh2.9 billion) and with proximity to Buckingham Palace. On this one, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and ADFG completed an Dh1.8 billion (£310 million) financing deal.

The second transaction — done in December last — was the home of the Metropolitan Police, New Scotland Yard, for a price of £370 million (Dh2.2 billion).

These are two of the biggest London-specific property deals over the past year.

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Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor, gulfnews.com


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