Nika Melia, Tbilisi mayoral candidate from the United National Movement, stated on 15 May 2014 that Sololaki Ridge was being excavated even before the announcement of the Panorama Tbilisi project.FactCheck
took interest in Nika Melia’s statement and sought to verify its accuracy.
The Georgia Co-Investment Fund presented its approved investment projects on 25 March 2014 with the Panorama project among them. It was explained at the presentation that the project brings together a multi-functional complex; namely, 1) Sololaki Slope, 2) Sololaki Gardens, 3) Freedom Square and 4) Erekle II Square. Within the framework of the project, both central and historical parts of the city will be connected by rope ways and oblique elevators.
According to Giorgi Bachiashvili, Executive Director of the Georgia Co-Investment Fund, 30,000 new trees will also be planted under the project, additional underground parking lots targeted for 1,800 cars will be constructed in the city centre and environs (Freedom Square-300 spaces, Erekle II Square-500 spaces, Sololaki Gardens-500 spaces, Sololaki Slope-500 spaces) which exceeds the needs of the project and solves the current parking problem in the city. The project’s preliminary budget exceeds a USD half million. The terracing of Sololaki Hill is being planned under the Panorama-Tbilisi, Sololaki Gardens and Sololaki Slope projects. Giorgi Bachiashvili also stated that the sketch of the Sololaki Gardens project is finished and will soon be presented to the relevant city authorities.
An application about the implementation of the Panorama-Tbilisi project was filed at Tbilisi City Hall on 27 March 2014. According to the response from City Hall: “Due to the fact that the provided documents and materials from the applicant could not substantiate the advisability of granting a planning task to the presented large-scale project development regulation plan, the Tbilisi Territory Urbanisation and Utilisation Issues Regulatory Commission held a discussion and decided not to grant the Georgia Con-Investment Fund planning conditions on the adjacent land to the Kojori Highway in the Mtatsminda District.”FactCheck requested public information from Tbilisi City Hall in order to verify Nika Melia’s statement. According to the materials provided by LEPL Tbilisi Architecture Service and the protected data in the information system of the General Development Plan of the Capital City, Tbilisi Architecture Service has issued construction permits for different projects at Sololaki Slope and on the Kojori Highway since the approval of the general plan 
on 25 March 2014, namely: building demolition, block house construction, multi-functional entertainment center construction, current building reconstruction; auxiliary building construction and storage and individual residence house construction.FactCheck also contacted Nika Melia in order to verify his statement. He told FactCheck
that the excavating of the Ridge is taking place on the territory adjacent to GDS TV. We checked the territory identified by the Tbilisi mayoral candidate. Construction work is indeed being implemented next to GDS TV and the Ridge is being excavated.Source According to the information published on the interactive map of Tbilisi Architecture Service, a construction permit for one new construction and storage facility is being issued at the Kojori Highway N13 on the territory adjacent to GDS TV. According to the information received from Tbilisi City Hall, the customer organisation of the construction is the Cartu Group and the built-up area is equal to 3292.5m2.
The permission for the construction on this aforementioned land was issued on 4 June 2013 and the construction period was defined from 5 June 2013 until 5 June 2016. It is clear from the dates and the aims that this construction work identified by Nika Melia is not linked to the Panorama Tbilisi project.
Nika Melia stated that the excavating of Sololaki Slope started before the presentation of the Panorama Tbilisi project. According to the information presented by the Georgia Con-Investment Fund on 25 March 2014, the first part of Panorama Tbilisi and the second parts comprising Sololaki Gardens and Sololaki Slope are being planned on Sololaki Ridge.
The Georgia Co-Investment Fund was not responsible for the construction work implemented on the Kojori Highway before 25 March 2014 which is included in the Panorama Tbilisi and Sololaki Gardens project.
As shown herein, the excavating of Sololaki Ridge was being implemented before the announcement of the Panorama Tbilisi project and with the Cartu Group responsible for the work. However, Nika Melia made a factual mistake in the main context of the statement when he indicates that the construction is being implemented within the framework of the Panorama Tbilisi project. According to the information we received, the construction of a storage facility on the territory of GDS TV is underway and Tbilisi City Hall issued a construction permit for this work on 5 June 2013 which indicates that this construction work is not connected to the Panorama Tbilisi project.Accordingly, FactCheck concludes that Nika Melia’s statement, “This [Panorama Tbilisi] project had not even been announced and Sololaki Slope was already being excavated,” is MOSTLY FALSE.
General Development Plan of the Capital City- This is a general plan land use-urban planning document which defines the main parameters of land use and development, conditions of amenities and spatial-territorial terms of environmental and immovable cultural heritage, spatial aspects of engineering, transport and social infrastructure as well as economic development and territorial issues of accommodation. (Article 1, Point 1). Approved by Tbilisi City Council’s decision of 05.06.2009 N6-17