The Life of a New Town on the Adriatic Coast
"Everything is great! The location, sea, restaurants!" "This is exactly what the European five-star should be!" "We woke up to the sound of the sea, amazing." The Internet is full of enthusiastic reviews about holidays in Luštica Bay.
Many people found out about a new place on the Adriatic coast back in 2018. The Chedi brand opened a five-star hotel on the Montenegrin Luštica peninsula with a marina for yachts. However, these are just the tip of the iceberg, under which years of hard work, multimillion-dollar investments, and a promising goal to build a new town from scratch, in which thousands of international people want to live and rest.
The first stage of the project has been delivered, so as future plans. In short, Luštica Bay is an excellent case of development. Using it as an example, one can understand the principles by which integrated communities are created. Proper cities of the future.
Luštica Peninsula is located in the western part of Montenegro. It is washed by the waters of the Adriatic from one side, and by the Tivat Bay from the other, which is called the southernmost fjord in Europe.
The nature here is majestic with breathtaking mountains, and azure sea. There are secluded coves with fine sand and pebble beaches scattered along the coast, pine and olive groves around the area, authentic villages, private farms and vineyards. Idyl.
The peninsula had been home for military bases for many years. First the Austro-Hungarian, later the Yugoslav one. Now all these fortifications have turned into tourist attractions. Interestingly enough, they managed to fulfill an important peaceful goal to avoid mass chaotic development in on Luštica. By the beginning of the XXI century, the peninsula turned out to be the last undeveloped area on the coast of Montenegro.
All these fact has led for the emergence of a new town. What is important for the implementation of such a large-scale project?
First, ecology in the broadest sense of the word. Clean air, pleasant climate, picturesque landscapes that all residents have access to, comfortable thoughtful public spaces, natural materials in the design of buildings, and harmonious architecture… The cities of the past didn't think much about it, which is now the reason for the global disappointment in the concept of the concrete jungle.
Secondly, logistics. Travelling several times a year is now considered as a regular habit. Many people live between two or three countries. The number of digital nomads is growing every year. The resort must be easily accessible to develop successfully. In this regard, Montenegro wins over exotic countries: you can get here from anywhere from Europe and the CIS countries. There are three international airports in the vicinity of Luštica: 10 km to the Tivat Air Station, 45 km to the Croatian Dubrovnik, 90 km to the Podgorica Airport.
Thirdly, the land, the very resource that is no longer produced. The shortage of land is probably the main obstacle for new resort towns located by the sea. Where in the XXI century to find an undeveloped plot by the water, which will freely accommodate thousands of villas and apartments, hotels and restaurants, schools and hospitals, basically, everything you need from the big city life? The Luštica Peninsula is 690 ha, twice as large as modern Budva (the largest resort city in Montenegro).
The right person found out about Luštica in 2008, who has had every opportunity to realize the potential of this place. His name is Samih Sawiris, an Egyptian entrepreneur and the President of Orascom Development.
The construction of a new town is a process that stretches for decades. Therefore, the developer must have the experience and resources to build such a large-scale project. Orascom Development is that type of a company.
In 1990, the company founded a new town on the Red Sea coast, 30 km away from Hurghada. Nowadays El Gouna is the most fashionable resort in Egypt. It is called the Venice of the Red Sea, thanks to man-made lagoons and canals. It is the most environmentally friendly city in the country, which produces drinking water itself. The developer still manages El Gouna, and the success of the resort is another proof that an integrated approach to creating new cities is effective.
Yet another great example is Andermatt, which Sami Sawiris launched a couple of years before the construction of Luštica Bay. It is a ski resort in the Swiss Alps. This case is unique in itself. Switzerland is famous for its restrictions on real estate sale to foreigners and the construction of vacation homes. Orascom Development was able to convince the authorities of the region, and then the local residents, of the prospects of the project: 96% voted for it to be implemented. Moreover, Andermatt was excluded from the Lex Koller law, that is, non-residents can freely purchase real estate here until 2040. The Lex Weber law limiting the number of country houses does not apply here either. It gives a huge impetus to the development of the resort and provides an influx of foreign investment.
In short, there are two more necessary elements in the formula of success. The first one is the support of the government, without which new towns cannot appear. In Montenegro, the initial conditions are simpler than in Switzerland. Foreigners can purchase any real estate in the property here. Moreover, each transaction gives the right to a residence permit. But here, too, the developer made a strategic decision to partner with the state: a joint venture Luštica Development was created for the implementation of the project, 90% of which is owned by Orascom, and 10% by the Government of Montenegro.
The developer had to solve a lot of issues: the difficult terrain, the need to erect a marina in the open sea… But most importantly, the whole project had to be developed before the start of construction, no sealing construction was allowed, this is an obligatory requirement of the Government of Montenegro. The crash project has appeared. By the way, the company that developed it received the Award of Excellence from the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2013.
Watch how the construction has begun. The video is seven years old.
Without international demand the new town would not grow. It makes sense: any development needs people, and not only tourists and investors who want to earn money. People who need summer residents to spend the summer in their own villas, families who raise children here, entrepreneurs who work from here, and pensioners who live here… In short, a variety of people who will form a community. One country will not be able to provide the necessary demand, such projects of new cities are focused on the international market.
Luštica Bay is no exception. Real estate here is owned by citizens of more than 40 countries such as Russia and the CIS, Western Europe (especially Switzerland, where Orascom has an excellent reputation) and the Balkan region, China and the Middle East.
Of course, the international experience of the developer helped to promote the project. But most importantly, Montenegro had already become a popular tourist destination by that time. In fact, the developer could only redirect the nascent interest in the right way.
You are on a yacht along the Adriatic Sea and you look at Luštica Bay... It seems to be this typical old village like Perast or Risan. There are a lot of them on the Montenegrin coast. Only when you dock at the marina and go ashore, you realize that everything here is new.
Maintaining an authentic style is an important priority of the developer, which can be traced in all projects. El Gouna is Egyptian, Andermatt is Swiss, and Luštica Bay is a Montenegrin city.
The main walking area is the embankment. It has cafes, shops, boutiques, galleries. Last year, a lighthouse was built here, rather for beauty than for practical purposes. Inside you can find another restaurant, an observation deck and offices for residents of the complex. The lighthouse became the epicenter of the Lightwave Festival of light in the summer of 2021.
On the first line by the water is the notorious five-star hotel The Chedi. It also has a rich infrastructure: several restaurants, swimming pools, fitness and spa areas. There is an amphitheater next to the hotel, and in summer, guests and residents of Luštica gathered there to watch the matches of the European Football Championship together. In general, various events are organized here.
To the left and right of the marina there are several beaches of the resort: Chedi The Rok, Marina Beach, Almara and 21 Beach Club. All are well-maintained, with full service like showers, sun loungers, bars, restaurants, water sports, beach entertainment (for example, DJs play in the recreation area of 21 Beach Club in the evenings). The first beach is accessible only to hotel guests and property owners, the others accept everyone.
The flagship area of the resort named Marina Village is located in the hills behind the marina. The whole building is low-rise, in the traditional architectural style for Montenegro: sloping tiled roofs, laconic facades in terracotta tones, colorful blue shutters and doors, a lot of natural stone in the decoration of buildings and streets, a lot of greenery.
Here is one of the latest videos. The shooting took place in the summer of 2021. This is what Luštica Bay looks like now.
Most of the apartments, townhouses and villas of the Marina Village have sea views. The areas are different: from 44 sq.m studios to 153 sq.m apartments with four bedrooms. Townhouses are even more spacious, 120-200 sq.m each. Well, the villas are simply luxurious: up to 650 sq.m of living space, huge balconies and terraces, private pools and private gardens.
The variety of offers is another feature of such large-scale projects. When you build a whole town, which later you will need to manage, you can afford to take into account the interests of a wide variety of buyers: young and elderly, married and single, investors and vacationers… It helps to develop different formats of real estate for everyone.
Almost all properties in the Marina Village have been sold, but sales have already started in the areas of the new stage of development.
In 2021, 150-200 people lived permanently in Luštica Bay. This figure increases by 10-15% annually. Many people use their real estate as a vacation home, where they come for the weekends and vacation. In summer, the number of residents increases to 1,500 people, taking into account those who live in the hotel.
Today Luštica Bay is a part of the Marina Village area (300+ apartments, villas and townhouses), The Chedi Hotel (where,you can buy profitable apartments), a promenade with 18 retail spaces (boutiques, supermarket, restaurants), three beaches, an amphitheater, marina, spa and fitness centers. All this is just the beginning…
The Centrale district is currently being developed. It will become the commercial, administrative and cultural center of Luštica Bay. The main town services will be located there: a kindergarten, a school and a medical center, a police and fire station, banks, a post office, a car service and a gas station, an outlet village, a conference center and sports complexes. New parks will be laid out in the area, walking areas will be landscaped, galleries, shops and cafes will open on the central square next year.
The foundation of the Golf Residences district has been laid for the construction. The world-famous player Gary Player was invited (he has won 163 tournaments on six continents over seven decades and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974) to develop the golf course project.
A professional golf field for 18 holes will be built here, the first 9 will open by the end of 2023. This project is unique. According to experts, less than 10% of golf courses in the world make it possible to observe the sea from anywhere.
A hotel and residential development with villas and townhouses will appear around the golf course. The developer will present the project of the district next month. Other blocks are planned near the beaches and on the hills. Luštica Bay will have in total 7 hotels, more than 500 villas and townhouses, more than 1,000 apartments.
According to the developer's plans, in ten years the Marina Village, Centrale and Golf Residences areas will be finished. About a thousand people will settle here, another 3-5 thousand will come from time to time to take a rest in their homes and apartments.
Luštica Bay is the largest and most ambitious investment project in Montenegro, in which € 1.1 billion will be invested (now almost half of this amount has been disbursed). But (the first rule of success of a new city) in order to preserve the ecology and natural attractiveness of Luštica, the developer will build up only 10% of the territory.