Bogoljub Karic, well known visionary developing the largest project in Europe.
Winner of the EuropaProperty award “Man of the Year” in 2016, Mr. Bogoljub Karic is well-known as a visionary who invests in the best, and allows his team the freedom to be creative in developing next generation business models.
In an exclusive feature BK Group’s Chairman of the Board Bogoljub Karic gives more insight into his fascinating background and history and his latest development “Minsk World” in Belarus.
Bogoljub Karic was born in 1954 in Pec, Yugoslavia. During the reign of Tito in then former communist Yugoslavia, the Karic family managed to convince the current leader about the advantages of running a family business without interfering in anyway or threatening the communist system existing in those times.
This idea of the Karic family was supported and endorsed by President Josip Broz Tito and became a historic step on the way to establishing the first private business in those times, namely, the Karic family established the first private factory in the former socialist Yugoslavia. A few years later after the founding of the first private plant on the territory, new legislative changes took place, which made it possible to open other private companies.
The first private factory in Eastern Europe by the Karic family was established in the 1960s. In this time, the Karic family became a pioneer of private business and built a multi-million dollar international corporation, better known under the name of the “BK Group”, which included the following activities:
• Manufacturing, Engineering and Construction
• International trade
• Mobile operator (GSM and NMT cellular communication services of Internet connection, a pager)
• Financial institutions (banks and insurance companies)
• Media: television, radio, magazines, newspapers and electronic news
• Scientific activity. Mr. Karic is the founder of the first private university in Belgrade and Moscow
• Charity. The BC Foundation is engaged in charity work in Serbia and other countries. The Foundation focuses on helping children, refugees, and provides scholarships. The Foundation also focuses on the promotion of cultural values and the annual presentation of the prestigious international awards to honoured workers of culture, science, business, politics and philanthropy.
With the coming of Mikhail Gorbachev to power the Karic family had the opportunity to be presented to the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, Mikhail Gorbachev and after that he instructed Prime Minister Ryzhkov to give possibility for opening of the first private business in the former Soviet Union. This was the birth of a partial private business in the communist Soviet Union, which Gorbachev further understood, and used to transform the complex economic system of the USSR.
The idea of Bogoljub Karic for economic development, by opening the first private family company, became very important to Mikhail Gorbachev and led to the economic reforms in the country, giving rise to the well-known “perestroyka”
Subsequently, the Karic family established in the former Soviet Union, the first experimental joint Soviet-Yugoslavian private enterprise, and subsequently repeated all the activities of the former Yugoslavia: the first commercial private bank in Moscow, the first private university, the first private insurance companies and the first private construction companies.
BK GROUP also engaged in construction all over the former Soviet Union. It built such important developments as: Storage of Central Bank of Russia, the General Directorate of the Central Bank of Russia, the current General Directorate of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation in the Central Federal District of Moscow.
Today BK GROUP is one of the largest construction companies in Europe with a value of current projects under construction of more than €20 billion.
As one of the first foreign investment and development groups to recognize the potential of emerging Eastern European markets, BK Group “Dana Holdings” has successfully completed over 500 projects since its inauguration, and is on track to deliver a number of significant mixed-use schemes over the next few years. In Belarus, as with so many other Eastern European markets, the pathway to sustainable growth begins with a full and productive workforce, although suitable infrastructure is also a major driver.
According to Colliers International, the estimated market value of all the projects in Minsk is $3.95 billion, while total net operating and sales income is $7.2 billion. According to Bogoljub Karic, the words that best sum up the corporation’s focus for the nearest future are “Minsk World”.
On a site of around 400 hectares, the new Minsk World project is one of the largest mixed-use construction developments in existence in the world today. The gross building area (GBA) of the project will be 3,000,000 sqm on a plot of 380 hectares, and upon completion will comprise 30,000 high-quality residential units and villas and 305,000 sqm gross leasable area (GLA) of Class A office space, all within a new international financial district that will attract many new investors.
There will also be conference, event and leisure centers, schools, lakes and green spaces within a new metropolitan park, plus a 120,000 sqm GLA shopping, entertainment and leisure center.
Currently BK Group’s “Dana Holdings” largest development, Minsk World is a 3,000,000 sqm mixed-use scheme that is located in the heart of Minsk, on the area of former airport Minsk 1. Construction of the complex started immediately after both the presidents of Serbia and Belarus participated in the groundbreaking ceremony in November 2015. Currently the Minsk World project is progressing significantly above its intended completion target. The residential segment of the development is ahead of schedule, while the entire project is on track to be completed by 2029.
The project is strategic for Belarus and will place the country in the leading regional position, similar to Singapore, Dubai or Hong Kong.
In addition to the projects already mentioned, BK Group “Dana Holdings” are also working in Serbia to implement its 2,000,000 sqm “Tesla City” project, designed to be the most energy efficient city-within-a-city development in the world.
Bogoljub Karic is well-known as a visionary, who invests in the best and allows his team the freedom to be creative in developing next generation business models. In his words “BK Group “Dana Holdings” is changing the world, one development at a time. However, we could not do so without the absolute commitment and dedication of our staff – this is why we invest in our people, because at the heart of every great company are great people who make concepts become a reality.”
According to Colliers International estimates, the developments make up millions of sqm. Currently the company is focusing on new projects: BK Capital Center in Minsk, Belarus, Al Adan Hospital in Kuwait, and Venice, in Russia. In fact during 40 years of operation the company has developed projects in over 18 countries.
Over the last few years “Dana Holdings” has been awarded many prestigious achievements, while its projects have received international recognition.
As a result of the personal life of practical and theoretical contribution to the development of private family business Bogoljub Karic he has received an honorary doctorate in economics from the University of Osaka in Japan.
In 2014, Bogoljub Karic received a lifetime award for achievements in the field of construction at the 4th Annual CEE Investment Awards. In 2015, he received the Dubai Global Award radar images, and in 2016 – the prestigious “St. Alexander Nevsky.”