Bucharest Journal: New mixed-use development in Romania will offer tropical “lagoon” environment

View of Central District Lagoon City (all renderings courtesy Forty Management)

Ron Bernthal

The Romanian-based real estate developer Forty Management has proposed an urban regeneration project that will be developed on ten acres of land in the Străulești area of ​​Bucharest. The developer plans to deliver the Central District Lagoon City mixed-use project with 570 apartments, hotel, offices and commercial space, following an investment of over $118 million.

“Central District Lagoon City will be the first 100% green project in Central and Eastern Europe, self-sustaining through independent renewable sources,” said Lucian Azoitei, CEO of Forty Management. “The project will, as its center, include the turquoise waters and white sands of a tropical lagoon.” The first such man-made urban environment in Central and Eastern Europe, the project’s lagoon will be developed under a licence acquired from the U.S. company Crystal Lagoons, and will have a zero-energy environmental impact. Crystal Lagoons’ technology, patented in 190 countries, allows the development of a large surface to be covered with crystal clear water and white sand beaches, with low maintenance costs.

More than 600 of these artificial watery “lagoons” have been developed worldwide using this technology, and the Central District Lagoon City project will allow residents to go swimming and participate in water sports, such as sailing and kayaking, among others, or simply relax on a beach without having to travel further than their own backyards. Of course, Romania is not a tropical country, but Forty Management has planned for Bucharest’s cold winters. “Part of the lagoon will be converted into an ice skating area, and another part will be separated into a winter swimming area with the water maintained at a temperature of 82 degrees fahrenheit,” said Forty Management’s CEO Lucian Azoitel.

This large, mixed-use development will include a residential component with 570 apartments, an 86,000 square-foot office building, 61,000 square-feet of commercial space, as well as a 250-room hotel, all built around the lagoon.

Forty Management has hired EST Hospitality Consulting to manage the international affiliation process with the hotel component of the Central District Lagoon City project.

“We invited all large hotel groups that can add value to this innovative project to participate in the selection process,” said Mircea Drăghici, CEO of EST Hospitality Consulting. “We are delighted by the immediate replies and the positive feedback shown by the nine international brands that submitted offers, some for the first time for Romania.”

According to STR Global studies, hotels with access to a beach generate a 151% increase in revenue compared to hotels in a city without water access. The existence of this project’s mix of a city hotel with access to a beach is unique, and thus the interest from many international hotel brands.

Forty Management has already developed several mixed-use projects under the “Central District” brand, including completed residential developments in several Bucharest locations, totalling 293 apartments, another 42 apartments currently under construction and the proposed 570 residential apartments in the development plan for Central District Lagoon City and the approximately 80 apartments at District Royal Suites. The Central District Lagoon City project is expected to be completed in 2023.

Bucharest Journal: New $3 Billion Development Project Proposed for Downtown

Ron Bernthal, Editor
Nicoleta Banila, Writer/SeeNews


Romania’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIR) and real estate developer Iulius are proposing a $3.21 billion investment plan for construction of a mixed-use project around the existing Romexpo exhibition center in Bucharest, according to Nicoleta Banila of SeeNews.

Proposal from Romanian developer Iulius for new, $3.21 billion mixed-use project near the existing Romexpo exhibition center in downttown Bucharest. (rendering courtesy Iulius)

The investment would be made in stages, and the project is expected to create some 30,000 new jobs when completed in 2021. 

Based on a mixed-use concept, which combines artistic, cultural and social attractions with entrepreneurial support functions, the project aims to transform the Romexpo exhibition center into an economic catalyst for the local economy.

“We are aiming at including Romexpo into the international circuit, and we are trustful that the ancillary functions will be able to not only place us on the map of the European hot spots in the field, but also to revive Bucharest, from a social, cultural and financial perspective. A project of such significance requires the cooperation and involvement of the public and private sectors, as well as support from the authorities and the community,” said CCIR president Mihai Daraban.

The project integrates the Romexpo exhibition center in the northern part of Bucharest, which it aims to transform into a large conference and congress center, surrounded by museums, office buildings, parks, retail spaces and leisure centers. Moreover, the complex would host the largest oceanarium in Romania, a water park and a five-star hotel, according to CCIR.

Along with regional and international trade show and conference participants, the new project is expected to attract additional leisure visitors to Bucharest, Romania’s capital and largest city, where new and modern mixed-use projects, hotels, restaurants and cultural venues are recreating the city’s downtown and surburan areas in imaginative ways.

“The proposed project represents the materialization of a new development vision for the entire country, one that will represent us beyond borders, and bring us closer to Europe. It is an action that exceeds anything we have built so far in terms of urban revival, and we are certain that it will become an international landmark. This development is about community, Romanian symbols and local potential,” said Iulius president Iulian Dascalu.

The project also involves extensive investments in new solutions for the modernization of road and pedestrian infrastructure as well as for improved urban connectivity. Within the project, the largest parking lot in Romania would be built, with over 12,000 underground and above ground spaces.

Iulius Company, founded 20 years ago, has an operational portfolio comprising over 3.2 million square-feet of retail space and 2.7 million square-feet of class A office space in Romania, of which 1.1 million square-feet are under development.

Established in 1959, Romexpo is the largest exhibition center and indoor arena in Romania, primarily used for fairs, concerts, and sporting events. The complex hosts more than 150 exhibits and trade shows every year.

The huge Casa Presei Libere (House of the Free Press) is home to many of the city’s largest newspapers and is located close to the new Iulius proposed mixed-used project near Romexpo exhibition center.

CCIR is the majority shareholder of Romexpo SA, the company that runs the exhibition centre.In 2017, CCIR and Stoneberg, a company of Iulius group, signed an agreement for the management of the central pavilion within the exhibition centre, according to local media reports.