The old two-storey villas next to International Hotel Tirana, near the Albanian capital’s main Skanderbeg Square, are no more. They were demolished by the Tirana municipality about two weeks ago.
While the Albanian public’s attention was directed at the National Theater building, the Tirana municipality took advantage of the distraction to tear down all the buildings that remained in the area between International Hotel Tirana and the Ismail Kadare museum building, to make space for the future construction of yet another high-rise building.
The land will now be used for the construction of the Skanderbeg Tower, 85 meters high, with 25 storeys and 5 underground floors. The building’s upper floors will be shaped into the likeness of a head, imagined by the designer’s to be that of Albanian national hero Skanderbeg.
The National Territorial Council (KKT) gave the construction permit for the tower, which will serve as a mall, business center, and residential building, in June 2018.
The building was designed by Dutch architect Winy Maas of MVRDV, one of Prime Minister Edi Rama’s client-architects. It will be developed by ANA shpk, owned by Mirela Zeraliu, and Vi&Vi shpk, owned by Fatmir Imeraj.
According to the project, the land will be used at 95% of its capacity, meaning that 1930 square meters will be taken up by the building, and only 5%, or 87 square meters, will be a free, public space.
This is the fourth skyscraper to be constructed on the limits of Skanderbeg Square, who will now be surrounded by concrete on all sides.
The Skanderbeg Tower will join the 35-storey tower behind International Hotel Tirana; the 26-floor “Eyes of Tirana” tower between Rruga e Kavajës and Rruga e Durrësit; and the 20-25-storey “Book Building” that will dwarf the Tirana clock tower once it reaches its full height.
Alongside the Skanderbeg Square, Rama and Tirana mayor Erion Veliaj also plan on the construction of skyscrapers alongside the Pedonale area.
The construction plans for these projects consistently have not been made public, and once construction starts, it is justified as a necessary development for Tirana.