Pazar i Ri, Government Claims AADF Project as Its Own AADF codirectors Aleksandër Sarapuli and Martin Mata with Prime Minister Edi Rama. Source: Facebook.

On March 14, during the inauguration of the Pazar i Ri (New Bazaar) in Tirana, Prime Minister Edi Rama “forgot” to mention that the initiator and main investor of the urban regeneration project was not the government, but the Albanian–American Development Foundation (AADF). Prime Minister Rama, who turned the opening into a premature election rally, only credited the municipality of Tirana and Mayor Erion Veliaj.

Only today we can see here what the power of the vote is, what the power is of everyone’s participation in the process of governing the community by making the right choice.

Imagine how it would have been had the Municipality of Tirana in 2015 not turned from a dormitory with one large room in which the mayor was snoring into a communal house of the community where they are thinking day and night about the community and they do day and night projects for the big transformation that has started.

Through a press release, the AADF clarified the details that Prime Minister Rama and Mayor Veliaj conveniently forgot to mention. For example, they point out that the project started 5 years ago, when current opposition leader Lulzim Basha was mayor.

The AADF stresses that the largest contribution to the project, of $4 million, has been made by the entrepreneurs in the area. The AADF donated $2.5 million, which included the entire planning phase, and will continue in the future support and offer consultancy to the businesses in the area. The Municipality of Tirana only became involved in the last year of the project, contributing $2.5 million, mainly for the painting of the facades.

14 March 2017 is a special day for the Albanian-American Development Foundation (AADF), for many citizens of Tirana and the business community in the New Bazaar area.

The challenge launched 5 years ago, was concluded today with the inauguration of the renovated complex of New Bazaar with all contemporary infrastructure.

Despite the initial skepticism, the New Bazaar is an ambitious project with an overall commitment of $3 million from the Albanian-American Development Foundation and a contribution of $2.5 million from the Tirana Municipality in cooperation with the Albanian Government in reconstruction work. Meanwhile, the private investment by the business owners has exceeded up to $4 million so far.

AADF commitment and investment in New Bazaar will continue with the establishment of the Tourism Improvement District – TID Tirana, a successful model implemented by the Foundation in several cities in Albania. The Foundation will support local businesses of the area in the creation of the business association as well as provide grants to businesses in the TID area.

AADF has contracted The Means in conducting the design of the business management plan for TID Tirana. The Means is a British company with extensive experience in the management of Business Improvement Districts and Tourism Improvement Districts. Currently the Means, manages Borough Market, one of the most visited places in London with over 12 million visitors annually.

Successful administration of these areas go beyond regulation and infrastructure maintenance. They create communities, increase safety in the area, enable growth of business activity, increase property value and make them more attractive for tourists.

This project marks an inspiring and transformative intervention that Tirana has seen in the last 25 years.