Montenegro Seeks to Cash in on Abandoned Military Sites

The July 13th base is one of the dozens of disused army facilities dotted across Montenegro. Of 92 military-owned buildings in the country, only 27 are in use, the ministry of defense told BIRN. Efforts to find investors for them have been hit-and-miss at best.

While some have become glittering superyacht marinas, others, mainly inland, have been left to rot. Architect Biljana Gligoric, program manager at the NGO Expeditio, which promotes sustainable spatial development in Montenegro, urged the government to revitalize such sites in cooperation with local communities and perhaps with European Union funds.

"Solutions would be found in various non-refundable funds or private partnerships," Gligoric told BIRN. "Old military facilities could be given to some NGOs that would be able to find funds. But someone has to push the projects and make them sustainable."

From rotting shipyard to the playground for the rich Ruined military base in village Poprat near Podgorica, Montenegro. Photo: BIRN/Samir Kajosevic

Montenegro has been trying for much of the past two decades to sell off surplus military facilities.

In 2009, the former Arsenal naval shipyard in the coastal town of Tivat was turned into a luxury marina for superyachts by the Canadian businessman Peter Munk, founder and recently-retired chairman of Barrick Gold, the world's largest gold producer. The project cost 300 million euros.

In 2012, Azeri state oil firm SOCAR signed a 90-year lease on the former Orijen Battalion barracks in Kumbor, eventually passing the project onto Azmont Investments, which has ploughed hundreds of millions of euros into another superyacht marina to rival Tivat's Port Montenegro.

The ministry of defense said that...

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