Peter Munk, the chairman of gold producer Barrick Gold Corp., wants to triple the number of berths at a former Soviet-era naval port on the Adriatic Sea as he converts the marina into a resort for the world’s wealthiest.
The 82-year-old billionaire has already invested more than 100 million euros ($128 million) to clean up the “environmental mess” left by Warsaw Pact warships that berthed for decades in Montenegro’s Kotor Bay. His Porto Montenegro marina development for “super-yachts” and luxury condos will also have two hotels, golf courses, shops and restaurants.
“I was toying with the idea for 20 years and when I saw the Kotor Bay, I thought it was a unique opportunity, difficult to find again,” said Munk in an Aug. 15 interview on his 400- foot yacht in the harbor. ‘There’s nothing like it in the Adriatic, possibly in the entire Mediterranean.”
The Adriatic Sea coastline of the former Yugoslavia, which disintegrated in the 1990s during the worst fighting since World War II, is drawing more tourists to its blue waters and green harbors as investment raises standards and services. The Hvar island in Croatia to the north, which the government bills as a San Tropez of the east, is already the haunt of celebrities including Microsoft Co.’s Bill Gates and Paris Hilton.
With 183 berths and 29 luxury condos, Porto Montenegro will eventually have 630 berths, including 130 for supersized yachts, as well as two boutique hotels, Munk said. The Montenegrin government recently allocated 80 hectares of nearby land to turn them into golf courses.
Munk said he was lured to the beauty of the deep Kotor Bay on the Montenegrin coast, a natural harbor. His co-investors in the project include Lord Jacob Rothschild, Nathaniel Rothschild, Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, and Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, the owner of United Co. Rusal.
The aim is to develop a large, deep-water marina to handle the increasing volume of “super-yachts” of more than 100 meters (328 feet) in length, Munk said.
Other marinas such as Portofino in Italy or those on the French Riviera were built before such vessels became popular and can dock only a very limited number of them, Munk said.
“The location is so spectacular and the growth of yachts is so unstoppable,” he said. “If you project into the future, for more wealthy Kazakhs, Ukrainians, Russians, Arabs and Qataris or Chinese . . . who buy these monsters, I mean, they have to go someplace.”