Cevahir Holding's 300m-euro investment in a Skopje residential complex is an economic opportunity for Macedonia.
By Menekse Tokyay and Biljana Lajmanovska for Southeast European Times in Istanbul and Skopje -- 30/07/12
Ibrahim Cevahir of Cevahir Holding watches as Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and President Gjorge Ivanov ceremonially begins construction of Skopje's biggest residential project. [Tomislav Georgiev/SETimes]
The construction of Skopje's largest private residential complex by Turkish company Cevahir Holding is expected to strengthen Macedonia-Turkey co-operation and encourage economic development in the Macedonian capital.
Eser Cevahir, a Cevahir Holding board member, told SETimes the company's primary goal is to extend innovative projects into new markets.
"Macedonia is a developing market economy and has good relations with Turkey. The advantage Macedonia offers to us comes from its location as a gateway to Europe with no visa requirements," Cevahir said.
The residential complex is located Skopje's expanding Aerodrom municipality. It is spread over 280,000 square meters and consists of four 42-floor towers – 130 m tall – and a business and shopping centre.
The company announced it will complete it within three years.
Owner Ibrahim Cevahir said he met extensively with Macedonia's leaders in the planning stages prior to concluding the deal.
The project is also an opportunity to help reduce the 30% unemployment rate.
"We called some experts and managers from Turkey, but we give special attention to hire Macedonians for other key stages of the construction works," Cevahir said.
The construction will be conducted by a Turkish-Macedonian engineering team, but officials said it will engage other production and service sectors.
Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said the government will heed Cevahir's calls to relax the employment law and allow more readily foreign consultants.
"This type of huge construction will influence at least 20 other economic branches and will add value to the overall economy of the country," Vladimir Peshevski, Macedonia's deputy prime minister, said.
Turkey’s representative in Skopje, Ambassador Gurol Sokmensuer, said he hoped that Turkish investment in Macedonia will grow even more. "Despite being in times of global crisis, bilateral economic and commercial relations between Turkey and Macedonia are developing at a rapid pace and we look forward to, for our mutual benefit, further strengthening of the economic ties," he said.
The complex will house 5,000 people and an additional 2,000 to 3,000 people are expected to frequent it daily.
Real estate experts and citizens foresee an additional benefit -- a decrease in real estate prices that currently go for 1,200 to 1,300 euros per square meter.
"With a greater offer of apartments, [prices] may drop," municipality resident Slavcho Tanevski told SETimes.
Cevahir has not begun to sell the apartments yet, but company officials said interest is great. Macedonians and Turks have inquired about the project's progress.
Some Turks are already inspired to invest in real estate in Macedonia and are searching for family ties. Istanbul resident Asli Ozsar decided to purchase an apartment in Cevahir's residential complex.
"I have strong family roots in Skopje … [E]verybody from my family was quite excited about such an important residential project. It is a strong encouragement for some Turkish people [to] search for their Macedonian roots," Ozsar told SETimes.