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UAE developer picks Albania for ‘Monaco of the Adriatic’ project

Albania marina Supplied
Eagle Hills is developing the largest marina in the Mediterranean near Albania's capital Tirana
  • Eagle Hills Properties aids Albania’s economy with luxury marina
  • Durres Yachts & Marina is set in the oldest city in the world
  • Destination not only for high-end visitors, says developer

An Abu Dhabi-based developer is playing a major role in the transformation of Albania from one of the poorest countries in Europe to a modern open market economy by creating a $2.5 billion marina.

Thirty-two years after mass demonstrations by students led to the fall of communism in Albania, Eagle Hills Properties has announced the launch of the largest superyachts marina in the Mediterranean – Durres Yachts & Marina – located 34 kilometres from the capital Tirana.

The UAE-based developer says it will become “the pinnacle of luxury living”.

Durres is the oldest city in the world and home to the largest port in Albania. The city on the Adriatic has a 3,000-year history, dating back to 627 BC, and is filled with ancient archaeological sites such as the famous amphitheatre of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

In addition to 12,000 luxury homes, the project includes a marina capable of accommodating the largest superyachts in the world and a terminal for international cruise liners.

Open-air retail experiences, parks, luxury hotels, branded hotel residences, wellness clubs and spas and beach and marina clubs make up the offering.

Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Eagle Hills, said: “This development is the pinnacle of luxury living and brings new investment, infrastructure and long-term growth opportunities to Albania.

“We are not just opening up the destination for high-end visitors, but we are also creating the Monaco of the Adriatic.

“You have this incredible history in the background, alongside what will be a whole new luxury destination.

“We’ve done a lot of special projects over the years across the world, but I have no doubt this is right up there with the very best of them.”

The project launch comes as the global sale of superyachts is on the rise. According to VesselsValue, 887 superyachts were sold in 2021 compared to 500 in 2020 and 429 in 2019. It said that the only comparable year to 2021 was 2007, a year before the global financial crisis of 2008.

Albania saw a six percent increase in GDP in the first quarter of 2022, according to the World Bank which said private consumption, exports and investment expanded, as business and consumer confidence remained strong, despite increasing prices. 

Net foreign demand contributed positively to GDP growth as exports increased by 25.3 percent year-on-year, while imports rose by 17.6 percent. 

Inward foreign direct investment (FDI) such as that of Eagle Hills has increased significantly in recent years as the government has embarked on an ambitious programme to improve the business climate through fiscal and legislative reforms. 

According to the Ministry of Finance and Economy, FDI totalled $350 million in the second quarter of 2022, up 43 percent on the year-earlier period. 

For the first six months of the year, FDI rose 35 percent to $659 million, mainly concentrated in the energy sector.

The ministry’s data showed that Italy was the largest foreign investor in Albania in the first half of 2022.

Other major construction projects include the completion of the Trans Adriatic pipeline, a $50 million stadium in Tirana, several hydro power stations, major road corridors and a new international airport in Kukes. 

World Bank data reveals Albania’s GDP is expected to exceed $17 billion this year but growing inflation and the war in Ukraine could threaten economic prospects. 

With a focus on developing large-scale real estate projects, Eagle Hills is currently active in Morocco, Bahrain, Jordan, Serbia and the UAE.

Last month, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan received Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania, and discussed the prospects of further strengthening investment and trade ties following the signing of an economic cooperation agreement in November 2020.

According to the International Monetary Fund, following a strong rebound in 2021, the Albanian economy has maintained positive momentum this year despite the shock to the global economy from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Most expensive super yachts sold in 2021

  • The iconic 126.1-metre Octopus, with an asking price of $278 million
  • The 86-metre Man Of Steel, formerly called Seven Seas ($150 million) 
  • Lady Moura, a 104.8-metre superyacht ($125 million)

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