16 jan 2021 BELGRADE AS A METROPOLIS
BY: MIA MEDAKOVIĆ-TOPALOVIĆ
INTERVIEW: IGOR CVETIĆ
TRANSLATION: DEJAN VICAI
PHOTOS: FROM A PRIVATE ARCHIVE
IGOR CVETIĆ, LAW GRADUATE, GRADUATED FROM THE ACADEMY FOR DIPLOMACY AND SECURITY. HE HAS BEEN A PRIVATE ENTREPRENEUR FOR 15 YEARS. A MAN OF DISTINCT BUSINESS SENSIBILITY. A PARTNER AT THE KAPETAN VLIIGO INC., WHICH DEALS WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OF MODERN APARTMENTS. WWW.KAPETANMISINA39. COM.
IGOR CVETIĆ IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE MANAGEMENT BOARD OF THE ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL MANAGERS OF BELGRADE. IT IS AN ASSOCIATION OF CITIZENS THAT WAS FOUNDED AS THE INITIATIVE OF THE CITY A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, WHEN THE LAW ON HOUSING AND MAINTENANCE OF RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS CAME INTO FORCE IN 2016, AND IT GATHERS LICENSED PROFESSIONAL MANAGERS. IN ADDITION TO HIS STATUTORY FUNCTION, IGOR IS CURRENTLY LEADING SEVERAL PROJECTS THAT WILL SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE THE APPEARANCE OF LOWER DORĆOL. WITH HIS COURAGE AND KNOWLEDGE, HE CONTRIBUTES TO THE CREATION OF A BEAUTIFUL SERBIA, AND AN EVEN MORE BEAUTIFUL BELGRADE.
WHAT DO BUILDING MANAGERS PAY MOST ATTENTION TO TODAY? IS IT ENERGY EFFICIENCY THAT HAS BEEN ACTIVE IN SERBIA IN THE LAST FEW YEARS?
At the beginning of December, it will be four years since the adoption of the new (now old) housing law, the goal of which is to bring order to housing. The housing law introduces new categories such as housing communities, licensed professional managers, compulsory administration and the like.
In the past four years, the buildings have been legitimized as housing communities and professional managers have been elected or managers from among the tenants. In that way, conditions for being able to work have been created, the condition of the buildings was recorded, plans for current investment maintenance, priorities were determined with consideration of the housing stick being in a bad condition. The state has determined the minimum amount that housing communities must allocate for maintenance and that has already come into practice, the citizens’ awareness of the necessity of investing in the housing fund has been developed.
This law has three goals: safety, value, and efficiency.
Energy efficiency is a key thing in the housing law, it is our legal obligation in relation to the EU, the issue of our health and of our descendants, as well as the development chance of the Republic of Serbia! Savings are the same as earnings, in less than five years the investment returns via savings and it gives our economy the much-needed impetus on which capital can be acquired in the coming decades.
COOPERATION WITH GIZ ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY.
The consulting house of the powerful German Ministry of Development in cooperation with our experts, performed numerous analyzes and programs, of which some also concern energy efficiency. They selflessly shared their conclusions with the Association of Professional Managers of Belgrade, specifically with me since I lead that sector.
Serbians are second in Europe when it comes to the number of privately owned lot, averaging 31m2. The average Serbian household consumes almost three times more energy, water, and similar than similar households compared in Western Europe. Energy efficiency is about saving all types of energy, let’s take as the most obvious example: heating in Belgrade, the buildings connected to the district heating system. In Belgrade, 22,000,000 m2 are ‘connected’ to the remote heating system, of which 18,576,286 m2 are residential buildings and the rest are public institutions.
The average energy consumption to heat 1m2 in Belgrade via remote heating system during the heating season of 2012/13 amounted to a staggering 130kW. As a comparison of the 130kW, the neighborhood of Stepa Stepanović was recently built respecting the rules of energy efficiency, and in that neighborhood, the needed to heat a 1m2 was only 55kW.
With the existing 22,000,000 m2, the capacity of the remote heating system in Belgrade is completely exhausted and requires expansion. If instead of expanding the capacity of the remote heating system we would insulate the housing fund, through savings there would be enough space created for the rest of Belgrade to be connected to the remote heating system, because right now they are using wood and electricity. That way, emissions of carbon dioxide would be lowered, which are made because of the burning of fossil fuels and make life in our city unbearable in winter, and not to mention the penalties we pay to the European Union for not fulfilling the obligations we made related to the environment. If we could end heating on electricity then the risk of fire would go lower in Belgrade too, because installations in salon apartments are designed for reading lamps and not semi-functional TA heaters. By reducing the consumption of electricity for heating, capacities of the Đerdap hydroelectric power plant would be freed up and that pure electric energy could be sold for a higher price on foreign markets, providing us with much-needed inflow of foreign currency. The possibilities are endless.
DFC – AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT FUND IS AN AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK. IT WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE ADOPTION OF THE LAW ON BETTER USE OF INVESTMENT LOANS FOR DEVELOPMENT IN OCTOBER 2018. THE DFC IS THE SUCCESSOR TO THE POWERFUL OPIK, A US GOVERNMENT AGENCY THAT HAS EXISTED SINCE 1971 AND WAS FORMED TO SUPPORT THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN THE UNITED STATES AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. THE US DEVELOPMENT FUND INVESTS IN AREAS SUCH AS ENERGY, HEALTH, INFRASTRUCTURE, AND TECHNOLOGY. IT ALSO PROVIDES FUNDS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL BUSINESSES. IT ESPECIALLY ENCOURAGES THE DEVELOPMENT OF WOMEN’S ENTREPRENEURSHIP. HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR ROLE AND COOPERATION WITH THIS FUND?
The arrival of the American Development Fund is extremely important for Serbia because it is part of the American government. Opening an office
in Belgrade is a fantastic thing because that way, the United States of America is giving a signal that we are their main partner in the region. I note that the Fund will not open similar office in the countries of former Yugoslavia. DFC with a total budget of 60 billion dollars is primarily aimed at encouraging private investments in developing countries, and we hope that the majority of these funds will be invested in our country.
My business partner, Đorđević, an engineer, is a naturalized American citizen and a successful industrialist. The interest group to which we belong to believes that together we represent a perfect link between the two worlds, which proved to be true through a record-setting fast realization of a direct investment of 5,000,000 euros, with the construction of a representative residential building at Kapetan Mišina 39 in Dorćol.
TODAY IN BELGRADE, WHERE EVERYONE IS BUILDING AND CONTRIBUTING TO THE URBAN APPEARANCE OF THE METROPOLIS, WHAT DOES YOUR PROJECT OF A NEW BUILDING AND A LARGE AMERICAN INVESTMENT IN KAPETAN MIŠINA 39 LOOK LIKE?
I think that in Belgrade not everyone is building anymore but bigger companies, institutions, and individuals who are at a high enough level of social responsibility to do that job for the satisfaction for the generations to come. We chose the construction of a representative residential building in the heart of the Old Town, at Kapetan Mišina 39, because Donji Dorćol is the most promising area, without competition in European metropolises. We knew that before the renowned British Guardian ranked it among the 10 most promising areas in Europe in March this year.
The modern eclectic building that we built from March to November this year, despite the global Corona pandemic, represents a direct American investment of 5,000,000 euros, the first in a series and is just an announcement of great things to come.
Speed, design, and quality with which the work was done to satisfy old and new owners, the local community, the profession, and all those interested is a signal that things are changing in the Balkans and that the future is bright.
WHAT IS THE REAL ROLE OF THE YOUNG SINGER-SONGWRITER BRUNO MARS FROM THE USA IN THE REPRESENTATIVE RESIDENTIAL BUILDING YOU ARE BUILDING IN KAPETAN MIŠINA 39 AND ARE THE RUMORS TRUE THAT HE IS A SILENT PARTNER OF THAT PROJECT?
Mr. Đorđević and his wife Helga, a renowned ophthalmologist, are well-known patrons of the arts.
In addition to numerous other activities, Mr. Đorđević got involved in the music business.
For us, and Serbia, perhaps the most interesting thing was the big concert of Professor Nemanja Bogunović in March this year, in the famous Carnegie Hall in New York, which has overshadowed the ‘Big Apple’, and resonated much wider than the Serbian community in the United Sates.
The real truth is that young Bruno Mars is Mr. Đorđević’s partner in other projects. The young musician will visit the Serbian capital as my guest as soon as the opportunity arises.
THE ECONOMIC FUTURE OF SERBIA FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE.
It is of great important for us to have different types of capital on our territory, different investors, and investments. When you look through the infrastructure, you have Chinese, Russian, European, American investments, and now the American Development Fund. I point out that these are investments concerning the connection between Belgrade and Pristina, primarily the “highway of peace”. In the upcoming period, a large facilities will be built. The plan is for Serbia to become a highly developed country and a regional center. Large infrastructure projects will lead to an increase in living standards, development of fashion, art, film, and large fairs will be organized. Great progress awaits us.
YOUR FUTURE PROJECTS AND WHAT IS YOUR FORMULA FOR SUCCESS?
In addition to previous engagements in foreign trade, construction, medicine, in the future I have interesting projects related to the railway connection with Pristina. Certain project activities worth over 2,000,000,000 euros are already underway.
The formula for success is, in my opinion, general – success is a combination of preparations and circumstances. Work hard, gather experience and wait for your chance.
HOW DO YOU GET UP WHEN YOU FALL, IN BUSINESS AND PRIVATELY?
It is individual, but I think we should always fight and never give up. Job diversification if very important for market survival. You also need to adapt to trends and believe in yourself. Change jobs if needed. In my private life, my biggest support and motivation comes from my friends who believed in me even when I doubted myself.