Photo credit: Sava Centar

Sava Centar, an international congress, cultural and business centre, the largest in the country and entire former Yugoslavia as well as one of the biggest halls in Europe, requires 25 to 30 million euros worth of renovations. The City Assembly of Belgrade after many negotiations and ways of finding a proper solution, finally decided that the company that would enter the process, would be able to use the renovated facility for several years, while paying a concession fee at the same time.

After the concession deadline expires, Sava Centar would be returned to the authority of the City of Belgrade. “I believe that this is the right model, as the city doesn’t want to sell, but to keep Sava Centar, which is the largest congress capacity of Belgrade,” Vesić pointed out and added that there was no need for the city to invest taxpayer money in the reconstruction of Sava Centar if there were companies interested in it. “The concession differs from a public-private partnership in that the property remains in the city’s ownership,” additionally Vesić emphasized.

Sava Centar with 100,000 sq.m. of overall area, including a theatre hall with 4,000 seats, 15 conference halls, and an exhibition area, has a very interesting, kind of a movielike, and famous history. In 1975, TITO, president of Yugoslavia, ordered the building for the purpose of the 2nd Conference of the OSCE. Stojan Maksimović, the author of the project and chief designer, had only one month to submit the concept. Maskimović spent that month either in seclusion in his office in the City Hall or on the planes, visiting Paris, Copenhagen and Helsinki to see the existing facilities of this type.

Works began in 1976, and only a bit over a year, the object was opened in May 1977. However, the object was not fully finished yet, for its halls were consecutively being finished and opened all the way up to 1979. Sava Centar was such a huge construction that supporting architecture such as roads and highway conjunctions were also built around it. The complex received huge international attention and was called spaceship, glass garden, concrete ship of peace, etc.