Construction of Two Towers Started As Mayor Veliaj Announced 2nd Bid

Last weekend, Head of Socialist Party Edi Rama announced Erion Veliaj’s candidacy for a second term as Mayor of Tirana. At the pompous event costing hundreds of thousands of euros, Rama and Veliaj claimed that today’s Tirana is “as different as night and day” compared to what it was four years ago. The statement reminds one of Veliaj’s (broken) promise, during the electoral campaign in 2015, to put a halt to construction permits – his so-called “moratorium” on building constructions in order to “save public spaces”.

Ironically or not, while Veliaj was making more promises for his second term to the Socialist Party members and public administration officers on Saturday, two construction companies started preparing the construction sites for two other towers in the city center.

The Edil-Al company started the construction of the 24-storey Eyes of Tirana tower, facing the Bank of Albania. Veliaj had approved its permit on 25 February 2019. On Saturday, when he was laying out his achievements, the Arlis-Ndërtim company renewed and completed the partial panel fence around the construction site which had been there for more than a year.

The area that used to be a small park until 2016 is now the construction site for a high tower. The project for the tower was designed by Henning Larsen in 2007, when Edi Rama was Mayor of Tirana, as part of the French Plan, which envisioned the construction of many towers in the center of Tirana. Mayor Veliaj has been implementing the same plan, even though he had promised a moratorium on building permits.

At the same time, the Geci shpk company installed a panel fence around its construction site behind the Hotel Tirana in the center. A 133-meter high-rise tower with 33 floors will be built in order “to expand the hotel’s facilities”.

The mayor bidding for a second term didn’t just issued a building permit to the company but he also gave it public space. The sidewalk and part of the nearby small park, which were recently constructed together with the Scanderbeg Square, are now included within the construction site. Pedestrians and cyclist share the same bike lane now.

In addition to these two new towers, the construction of the Book Building started in January, right behind the Clock Tower and the Municipality of Tirana. Three more towers are also under construction in the center of the city: Garden Building (Kavaja Street), West Residence (behind the President’s Office), and the 21-storey Vertical Garden Tower (behind the stadium).

These are just a few of the hundreds of building permits that the current mayor has approved while constantly reducing public spaces in Tirana.