A group of billionaire investors including Oleg Deripaska (Russia's richest man) and LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault are backing a scheme to turn Tivat, a derelict port and ex-Yugoslav naval base in the former communist country of Montenegro, into the next playground for the megarich. The site's former naval dockyard fronting the Adriatic Sea will be converted into a lavish marina for superyachts, officially dubbed Porto Montenegro and biiled as "the Monaco of the Balkans," at a cost of around $350 million, the Times of London reports.
"The yachts are getting bigger and bigger," says Canadian mining magnate Peter Munk, who conceived of the project. "And people are complaining that they can't find proper berths for their boats. That's no problem in Tivat. It used to cater to warships." In addition to the great natural beauty of Montenegro, the development will feature moorings for up to 800 yachts as well as repair yards, hotels, restaurants, shops and possibly a casino. In addition, the Four Seasons is building its first Mediterranean resort there on the site of a former warehouse, slated to open in 2010.
Meanwhile, another oligarch, Luxist mascot Roman Abramovich, is said to be in talks to purchase an eight-mile strip of beach to build his own Montenegrin luxury resort, while Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Venus and Serena Williams have recently been spotted house-hunting in the area, the paper reports. This is something of a throwback to the 1950s and 1960s, when stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Kirk Douglas holidayed on Montenegro's beautiful red-tiled resort island of Sveti Stefan (above). See the gallery for more.
Gallery: Magnificent Montenegro