A referendum to stop a luxury hotel being built in the Croatian coastal city of Pula has failed. The referendum failed to reach the voter turnout threshold with only 22.71% of the city’s registered voters voting.
Since Hotel Valkane was presented to the public there has been those who have been against it, leading to Sunday’s referendum.
When built, Hotel Valkane will be the first high-class luxury hotel in the wider Pula area. It will be located inside the former quarry, and its construction, investors said, will rehabilitate an area that has been neglected since 1965.
“As we said earlier, and all competent institutions have confirmed, the referendum does not affect our project in any way. We thank everyone who supported us all this time. It is true that the lies that were told caused us numerous inconveniences and we are glad that the majority of Pula residents clearly decided to say no to such behaviour and that they did not believe the falsehoods presented by the hotel’s opponents.
As we have said on several occasions, we do not want to engage in politics or participate in political processes. We do everything in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Croatia and spatial plans, and we continue to develop the project according to the planned dynamics. After we receive the location permit, we start the final negotiations with the operator, followed by the preparation of the main project and the application for the building permit.
Once again, we use the opportunity to tell everyone that Lungomare will remain open to everyone, that there will be no fences, ramps, lifts, nor the construction of beach bars in the forest, and that we are only building a hotel in the hole of the former quarry. As time passes and the project progresses, it will be clear to everyone that we have been telling the truth all along. We will continue to publicly communicate every activity on the project;” said project manager Zoran Kostić.
The hotel will be located 160 meters from the sea and 125 meters from the promenade, and Lungomare will remain open to everyone as before. Instead of encroaching on the existing public space, it will be expanded by the construction of a new park open to all the people of Pula, and 200 new trees will be planted in it, as was announced, investors said, adding that since the initial presentation of the project in April, all information about the progress of the project and construction will reamain transparent and available to citizens at all times.
With this hotel, Investors say Pula will significantly gain in quality of accommodation, which is very important when it is known that it is a city that realises only 7 percent of all overnight stays in Istria and has only 190,000 overnight stays in hotels, four times less than apartments. Equally important, the hotel will have 250 employees all year round.
In the conceptual design, a maximum of two underground and a maximum of seven above-ground floors with a total of 180 rooms are planned. It also includes 183 underground parking spaces that will fully meet the needs of the hotel, and no new parking spaces will be built on the surface of the plot.
“In creating this conceptual solution, we were guided equally by the historical context of the location, as well as its natural environment, forest, coast and stone. The requirement of modern architecture is to be maximally connected and integrated with the natural landscape and to respect the environment, and this was our modus operandi on this, as well as on other projects. From something that was a huge hole and a completely inaccessible space created by stone exploitation, in such a beautiful and emotionally valuable location for the people of Pula, we tried to create a project that is merged with the context and volume, values the environment and leaves the park forest accessible to the public like it was until now. Thank you to the clients for their trust and for showing an extremely high level of understanding and acceptance of our architectural expression,” said Silvije Novak from 3LHD.