July 30, 2008
NATO TARGET - Usce Tower (CK building)
Usce Tower was built in 1964 to serve as headquarters of the Central Committee of the League of Communists in the former Yugoslavia and was exclusively used for the Communist party. Until 2003 people called the building CeKa which stands for Centralni Komitet (Central Committee). With its 24 storeys, overlooking the Danube and Sava river it stands like a gateway to Novi Beograd. The competition projects for this building stirred up much discussion over the issues of symbolism. Until then, buildings for parties and goverment were built in the style of sociorealism, but this tower (designed also by Mihailo Janković ) was a simple aluminium and glass clad International style administrative type building of anonymous character void of any symbolism and represented the latest architectural modernity.
Destruction On April 21, 1999 NATO air strikes hit the building, setting the upper floors on fire. Several days later NATO repeated the attack. In total 12 Tomahawk missiles were fired at this building.
(A World Trade Center style destruction nearly occurred during the 1970s when Nikola Kavaja planned to board a Boeing 747 in Chicago, hijack it and hit USCE Tower to kill president Josip Broz Tito to signal the end of communism. However, minutes before he planned to hijack the plane, Kavaja was talked out of doing this by a priest, and spent 23 years in prison for his unsuccessful plan.)
Reconstruction work on the building started in early 2003 and was completed in 2005. The multi-million dollar project has now 25 stories, totalling around 25,000 square meters of class A office space. An observation deck, fitness area and restaurant are located on the last level of the building.
The planned project is much bigger thougth. It will boast two towers (the second also with 25 floors) and a multifunctional office-commerical-sports centre. The complex will be 180000 square metres and the construction will cost 160 million Euros.
There will also be one underground floor of the shopping mall, while the remaining two floors of the mall will be above ground. The shopping mall will have a total commercial space area of 36000 square metres and will feature cafes, restaurants, boutiques, stores, furniture stores, banks, and pharmacies. The third part of the complex will have a multiplex theatre and sports recreation centre.
Here some pics from beobult and MPC Holding, about the planned complex: