Issue 1, 2012. February-March

   

LAZIKA: NEW CITY, NEW INVESTMENT

President Mikheil Saakashvili announced plans to build a new city in western Georgia in a new bid to bolster investment and development on the Black Sea coastline.

Lazika, the proposed name for the new city, will reportedly cost as much as 900 million lari. 200 million lari of which is to be allocated from the national budget. The government is reportedly looking for foreign investors from Europe and Asian investment groups to cover the rest of the cost.

Few details about the planned city are publicly known: Saakashvili announced construction would begin in 2012 and should house 500 thousand people by 2022. While there are no design plans available, the president has called on Georgian émigrés to return to their home region (see below) and live in the city, which is supposed to become the country's main port and trading center.

The location of the project - as well as the planned cost - has been a source of controversy. Currently slated to occupy several square kilometers between the Anaklia resort and Poti, Lazika will be located directly down the coast from Abkhazia, the separatist region that is currently occupied by Russian troops.