The Municipality of Tirana has announced the winners of a tender to develop and upgrade the Tirana Zoo.
The project will develop the entire space that is currently occupied by the Zoo, adding more infrastructure for animals as well as commercial areas such as restaurants and bars.
The winner of the tender for construction, worth some €7 million was announced as a merger of four construction companies: Ed Konstruksion, GPG Kompani, Alba1450 Konstruksion, and VEKO. The tender was not made public and there was no public consultation at any stage.
The current buildings will be demolished and new ones built in their place. The Municipality said the space used for animals will increase from 1450m2 to 3026m2.
Other buildings that will be constructed will be used for veterinary, administrative, and education services. A new complex will also be built that will have restaurants and coffee shops. An underground car park for 100 cars is also a part of the project.
The reconstruction of the zoo is the first phase of a larger project that includes the development of and around the Botanical Gardens.
The Municipalities plan to take over the Botanical Garden which is owned by the University of Tirana, led to a legal dispute which is currently being considered by the Tirana Court.
The Puppet Theatre, which is currently located on Skanderbeg Square is also earmarked for demolition and Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj said it will be relocated to a part of the new complex at the Zoo and Botanical Garden.
The current Zoo has been the subject of criticism, notably by international animal charity Four Paws. Since 2015, Veliaj has been publicly planning to transform the zoo and these plans have been a significant part of his election campaign.