The New Face of the City project of the Leskovac Urban Planning and Development Directorate, which envisages a complete reconstruction of the city core, was presented on 14 November 2012 in the city on the Veternica River.
As it was explained on that occasion, the old core of Leskovac, which is divided into five units, should be fully reconstructed under this project. That is something that has not happened in that city for more than 30 years. Leskovac may get underground garages for few hundred cars, new residential buildings, pedestrian zones, public facilities, another skyscraper, new space for an art gallery...
- The aim is to build a more beautiful city for the citizens of Leskovac, as well as for potential domestic and foreign investors - Vecimir Djordjevic, chairman of the Managing Board of the Directorate, said at the project presentation.
However, he said to local media that he was not very optimistic that they would manage to provide funding for the implementation of the New Face of the City project, but he expressed his belief that it was possible to implement it through a public private partnership. As it was stressed, that is actually the method of funding that could be the most adequate and is desired the most by the local government.
As the media in Leskovac announced, presentation of the project was attended by the representatives of the Ministry of Urban Planning and Construction, Koridori Srbije CEO Dmitar Djurovic and Leskovac Mayor Goran Cvetanovic.
The units covered by this project are defined as "block 1" – the area between two bridges on the Veternica, "block 2" – the area with family houses (northern part of the city center), "block 5" – the area around the Leskovac Cultural Center, along with small "block 10" (across the road), "block 17" – the area between the Army Center and the building of the Postal Company, as well as the space occupied by a gas station. Finally, there is also "block 34", which is situated in the broader downtown area.
Mladost restaurant and Reka center
The area between the bridges on the Veternica now mainly features small-capacity facilities, which is not economically viable for such an attractive location. If so-called "block 1" gets a new look, most of the existing buildings will be kept, with certain changes, but they will also get new "neighbors".
According to program of the Leskovac Directorate, the plan is to first do the work on the left bank of the river and to renovate the promenade and plant as much greenery as possible. There should also be an underground garage with up to 106 parking places in this part of the city.
The restaurant Mladost, which is in the possession of the Student Dormitory, would get two additional land lots (currently in the possession of the city), so it could be expanded. In that way, an express restaurant would be situated on the ground floor, the first floor would accommodate a classical restaurant, while the second floor would feature a banquet hall and clubs. Aside from this, construction of two residential and business facilities is also in the pipeline. This zone is conceived as a location for elite and the most expensive apartments in Leskovac. Buildings would be covered with wood, featuring a number of balconies and cascades.
The Reka center is the last in the series of facilities in "block 1". It could be either public or office space, or even both. If Reka becomes a public facility, it is likely that it will accommodate a city art gallery.
New skyscraper in Leskovac?
Reconstruction of the core around the Cultural Center is the most extensive part of the project New Face of the City, but it is also the part that could be implemented first. Namely, construction works in "block 5" are planned to be carried out in phases.
The plan is also to tear down some houses on Cara Lazara Street in order to widen it. In addition, all other old and dillapidated buildings would be removed. The block would be left with facilities of cultural and historical significance, buildings protected by the state, Kozara Tavern, as well as other new buildings that are built of solid materials and are in good condition.
About 60 percent of land in "block 5" is owned by the state, that is, it is placed at the disposal of the city.
According to the New Face of the City project, "block 5" should include residential facilities Northern Building - on Cara Lazara Street, and Western Building (in the location of the Historic Archives). Besides, the plan is also to build Eastern Building, which would actually comprise two facilities - expanded Kozara Tavern and a business and residential building.
All aforementioned facilities are included in the first phase of implementation and could be built in five to six years. The second phase, which is not feasible according to the current Master Plan, would see the construction of a skyscraper at the corner of Cara Lazara Street and Oslobodjenja Boulevard.
Also, "block 5" should get a kindergarten, while the Cultural Center in that block should be renovated and expanded, which could be financed from donations, EU pre-accession funds, or even from the municipal budget. There should also be an underground 7,800 sqm garage for 220 cars underneath the entire block.