|Return to Business Page||Mayor announces ambitious infrastructure projects
by Adrian Hamzescu
Bucharest Daily News - November 11, 2005
The Bucharest mayor Adriean Videanu announced 35 projects are planned to be developed over the next three years
The renovation of the Historical Center, the Bucharest-Danube channel, an airport in the south side, the Basarab passageway and mansard roofs for apartment buildings are some of the proposals made by the Bucharest City Hall for the next three years. The general mayor of Bucharest, Adriean Videanu, announced plans to develop 35 projects with a cumulated value of six billion euros over the next three year. The projects include a waste management station for water at Glina, the development of in the Cismigiu, Herastrau, Carol and Tineretului parks, parking lots and more. Some of the projects are not possible at the moment as the legislation for investments in the metropolitan areas is not complete yet.
The Bucharest-Danube channel and the construction of a new airport in the southern parts of the capital should revive the investments in the area, according to Videanu. "We could coordinate the channel with the Bucharest-Constanta highway," stated Videanu, adding that the step could create an outstanding transport node for Bucharest and for Romania. "Bucharest is the largest supplier of Gross Domestic Product in Romania, contributing by more than 40 percent," said the general mayor.
The municipality will assume the investments in infrastructure, thus optimizing the important areas of Bucharest, especially the peripheral ones, and support the private sector's interest in the development of Bucharest.
Regarding the real-estate segment, one of the projects proposed by the City Hall regards the development of residential neighborhoods on the periphery, but the projects should be private. "The capital needs a new standard of living," said Videanu, emphasizing that the constructions should be only in the peripheral and semi-peripheral areas of Bucharest, and should comply with the capital's regulations on green spaces, parking and playing spaces.
The same project provisions the regeneration of the central area of the capital by developing the peripheral areas and creating mansard roofs for apartment buildings, as an alternative to dwelling shortage.
The investment program initiated by the Bucharest authorities will expand beyond the administrative boundaries of the capital, thus creating the future metropolitan area.
New investment bank for local infrastructure
"We want Bucharest, which is competing with Sofia, Budapest, Prague, to attract direct investments as the main support for economic development," said Videanu.
"I know where to get the money," stated Videanu when asked about financing sources for all 35 projects proposed during a symposium. To complete these projects, the City Hall needs six billion euros, and Videanu considers the authorities could rely on bonds issue to ensure the necessary funds. "We hope the businesspersons will recognize that Bucharest is fully prepared for any investment opportunity," said the general mayor.
The mayor reminded of the success of the City Hall's bonds issued earlier this year, worth 500 million euros, and added that other sources could be public-private partnerships, as well as investment banks and private investors. According to Videanu, the program will begin with the available resources and the infrastructure investments will be the main objective on the City Hall's agenda over the next three years.
Videanu announced that the authorities intend to create an investment bank in cooperation with several municipalities in the country and a series of international financial institutions, which will exclusively support infrastructure projects. According to the general mayor, the initiative is justified by the lack of financing for investment projects already developed.
There are several investment banks in the European Union which have expressed their interest to support the initiative. "Depfa Bank, which has the largest projects in the world developed by local administrations, has already announced its intention to support such a project," said Videanu, adding that the investment bank could put in logistics support as well as social capital.
"It is an invitation sent out to all the banks interested in the project," concluded Videanu.