One of the largest investments in the Croatian tourism industry is underway. The Kupari resort, the former military resort, was destroyed in the Homeland War in the early 1990’s and has remained as a reminder of the war ever since. The site contains five hotels, including a hotel which was constructed in the early 1900s; the new plans are that all these hotels will be destroyed to make way for a five-star resort with a Marriott as the centre piece. Kupari is located in the borough of Zupa, around six miles from the centre of the Old City of Dubrovnik.
Over the past weeks smoke has been rising from the Kupari site as the cleaning of the grounds has begun.
This year the complex was purchased on a 90-year lease by the Avenue Group from Austria and the plan is that by 2020 the resort will once again shine with a Marriott International hotel and possibly even a Ritz Carlton. But who is behind the investment? The majority owner of Avenue Group is the Russian billionaire Sergej Gljadelkin, the owner of more than twenty companies worldwide. Avenue Holdings operates in France, Austria and Switzerland and the main activity if construction and recycling. It is estimated that the annual revenues of the umbrella company are around $500 million.
Sergej Gljadelkin started his business career in Russia where his company built commercial and residential properties. Although he was connected to a few construction scandals in Russia he successfully managed to stay out of the press limelight. He is generally a private person and the early parts of his career, and how he amassed his first millions, are almost impossible to uncover. Over the years he has continued this shadowy relationship with the media and hardly ever gives interviews or even statements.
Sergej Gljadelkin Photo - Darko Tomas / CROPIX
His first steps in Croatia came in 2004 when he founded the construction company Titan, the largest project was the construction of a residential – commercial building in Zagreb. In 2011 Gljadelkin sold Titan to his fellow Russian Konstantin Edel.
According to the website SEEbiz.eu, last year Gljadelkin reignited his interest in Croatia and took the majority control of the construction company IGH, the country’s largest architectural and consulting company in the construction industry. IGH had seen a boom of business in the early 2000’s but were facing bankruptcy before Gljadelkin took control. He invested 58 million Kuna into IGH and became the 51.3 percent majority shareholder. And the Kupari project will be another boost for IGH as of course they will be heavily involved in the reconstruction and redevelopment of the future site.