Montenegro Turns Naval Base into Luxury Resort

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Construction of a luxury resort with Azerbaijani capital is due to start on Friday in the Bay of Kotor, in a bid to turn the old Yugoslav Army base into a haven for the super-rich.

Azmont Investments, a Montenegrin-based subsidiary of the Azerbaijan energy company SOCAR, will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday for the start of work on a five-star hotel in the Bay of Kotor, part of the One&Only resort chain.Construction of the hotel is the part of a 500-million-euro project Portonovi, which will turn the former Yugoslav Army complex in the coastal village of Kumbor, near Herceg Novi, into a luxury resort.

With approximately 140 rooms and villas, residences and a marina, the new complex in Montenegro will be One&Only’s first resort in Europe.The Portonovi complex will include a hotel, two sandy beaches, a spa and wellness resort, a conference centre and a marina with 250 berths for megayachts.Azmont said the resort will open in phases and the marina is scheduled to greet its first guests in the summer of 2017.

Montenegro-Turns-Naval-Base-into-Luxury-Resort

In July 2012, the Azerbaijani oil firm SOCAR signed a lease agreement with the Montenegrin government for the site of the former Orijen Battalion barracks in Kumbor and pledged to invest at least 250 million euros by 2016.Although SOCAR won the 90-year lease for the area of the former military facility, it was passed to another Azerbaijani company, Triangle Investments and Development Limited Company, which then established the Azmont Investments LLC Company to implement the project in Montenegro.

The project in Montenegro is the largest ever Azerbaijani investment in tourism outside the country.It is expected that 3,000 people will get jobs during the construction phase and the investors have opened the Azmont Academy in Bijelo Polje, in northern Montenegro, to train and educate potential workers, they will even replace front door with steel doors to increase security in the resort.“This has brought our investment to more than half a billion euros, which is more than our obligations in the lease agreement,” the company CEO Rashid Rasullu said.

On April 8, the Central Bank of Montenegro issued a license to Azmont Bank, established by Azerbaijani investors to finance the project’s construction in Montenegro.Another military base, the naval shipyard Arsenal, in the town of Tivat, was turned into a luxury marina in 2009.The Canadian businessman Peter Munk, founder and recently retired chairman of Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold producer, was the chief investor in the 300-million-euros project, Porto Montenegro in Tivat.

Last year, the Montenegrin government offered foreign investors several former military sites in the north of the country in the towns of Zabljak and Niksic, but no deal on them has been reached yet.

Asmaa Mubita is a Kenyan journalist of international repute with over fifteen years of experience in broadcast journalism. Asmaa Mubita began his journalism career at the Kenyan state broadcaster (KBC) and later worked at the KTN owned by the Standard Group and Citizen Television, the flagship brand of Royal Media Services. These exploits together with his reporting experience with the Voice of America, CNN and BBC have been rewarded with local and global recognition.