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UAE developer wins $6bn Budapest contract

Buildings taller than 90m are banned in Budapest to preserve the city's architecture Pexels/Nora
Buildings taller than 90m are banned in Budapest to preserve the city's architecture
  • Eagle Hills to regenerate rundown area
  • Site to be ‘reminiscent of Dubai’
  • UAE-Hungary sign trade agreement

An Emirati developer has finalised a €5.5 billion ($6 billion) deal to transform a rundown area of Budapest in the same week that the UAE and Hungary signed an economic cooperation agreement aimed at improving bilateral trade and investment.

Eagle Hills International, which is based in Abu Dhabi, has partnered with the Hungarian government to develop the derelict site, owned by the country’s state railways, in the north-west of the capital.

The abandoned industrial area around Rakosrendezo station will be “transformed into a new city quarter with tourism, economic, business and sport functions”, Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto said at a press conference this week, as quoted by the Budapest Times, without giving any further details.

He previously said the neighbourhood would encompass high-rise office blocks and residential buildings with the potential to attract more tourists to the city.

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban had ordered the construction of a major project reminiscent of Dubai in terms of its grandeur, Janos Lazar, the minister responsible for construction and transportation, said last year.

The proposed development is not without controversy, particularly given the potential impact it will have on the city’s skyline.

There is a ban on buildings taller than 90 metres in Budapest as the city attempts to preserve the architectural environment of the capital. Buildings between 65m and 90m are judged on a case-by-case basis.

Hungarian oil and gas multinational MOL’s 143-metre-tall headquarters is exempt from the ruling as it was approved before the ban in 2017.

Eagle Hills is quickly establishing an international presence with projects in Albania, Egypt, Serbia, Morocco, Oman, Jordan and Ethiopia. Last month the company signed a $4 billion deal to develop real estate across Bahrain.

On Thursday, the UAE and Hungary signed an economic cooperation agreement aimed at boosting trade and investment between the two countries.

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE minister of state for foreign trade, said: “We are creating opportunities for our private sectors to increase collaboration and build partnerships in various areas that will be pivotal to economic diversification, while also facilitating and incentivising future-focused private enterprises and emerging industries to grow within and beyond our borders.”

Last year, non-oil trade between the UAE and Hungary increased by 23 percent to more than $1 billion – almost trebling pre-pandemic numbers.

The latest deal will focus on industry, commerce, investment, tourism, logistics, infrastructure and real estate.

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