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A member of the United National Movement, Nika Melia, on air on Rustavi 2, discussed the processes in regard to Tbilisi’s Botanical Garden, including the price of a land plot which was sold on auction on 3 May 2016. Mr Melia stated: "According to the assessment of Tbilisi City Hall, the price for one square metre of land on this plot was GEL 21 which means that Bidzina Ivanishvili purchased the land plot with a construction permit for this price. At the same time, ten years ago, Bidzina Ivanishvili purchased the territory (10 hectares) around his residence without a construction permit for GEL 36. Private land owners on nearby territories purchased land plots for GEL 54-55 per square metre."

FactCheck

took interest in the accuracy of the statement.

On 13 June 2007, a contract was concluded between Tbilisi City Hall and Finservice XXI Ltd. According to the contract, pursuant to Decree N282 of the President of Georgia issued on 6 June 2007, Finservice XXI directly purchased a 100,000-square metre land plot on the nearby territory of the Botanical Garden. The total cost of the land plot was GEL 3,600,000 at a price of GEL 36 per square metre. According to the contract, any type of construction on the plot was forbidden, thereby preserving its recreational function.

In March 2016, rezoning took place concerning several land plots (including the land plot owned by Finservice XXI, code 01.18.01.001.002) in the Krtsanisi district (Okrokana settlement) according to a decision of Tbilisi City Council. Specifically, the landscape-recreational zone was changed to a transport zone 1 and a recreational zone 2. Landscape-recreational zones allow the construction of only those buildings which are necessary for the functioning of the zone. Recreational zone 2 constructions are allowed as envisaged by a special zonal permit at a maximum construction intensity coefficient (K-1) of 0.2.

On 22 April 2016, Tbilisi City Hall’s Property Management Agency auctioned a land plot in the Okrokana settlement of the Krtsanisi district, adjacent to the Botanical Garden, with a total area of 29 hectares. The initial price of the land plot was GEL 6,233,000. On 3 May 2016, the Georgian Co-Investment Fund purchased this 29-hectare plot for GEL 6,326,495. Only one stakeholder took part in the auction with the price per one square metre set at GEL 21. Of additional note is that Tbilisi Architecture Service issued a permit on 27 April 2016 upon the basis of a special zonal agreement for constructing a hotel on this plot. According to the agreement, the winner of the auction is obliged to complete the construction of a hotel complex comprising 80 rooms within 48 months after the conclusion of the contract.

FactCheck

sought to determine the prices of land plots in Okrokana. According to the data of the broker companies, the price of one square metre of land under private ownership on this territory fluctuates from USD 30 to USD 100.

The Georgian Co-Investment Fund purchased the 29-hectare land plot in Okrokana as a result of an auction held by Tbilisi City Hall’s Property Management Agency. At the present moment, the Property Management Agency has put two land plots from the same territory on auction. Of these land plots, the initial price for the non-agricultural land plot (1,206 square metres) is GEL 40,000 and the initial price for the second land plot (718 square metres) with a building on it is GEL 32,500. This means that the price for one square metre is GEL 33 for one plot but GEL 45 for the other plot. This stated, the Georgian Co-Investment Fund purchased the land on almost the same territory for a much less expensive price – GEL 21 per square metre.

Conclusion

In 2007, Finservice XXI Ltd purchased a 10-hectare land plot on the territory of Tbilisi’s Botanical Garden for the price of GEL 3,600,000 or GEL 36 per square metre. In 2016, the Georgian Co-Investment Fund purchased a 29-hectare land plot on auction for the price of GEL 6,233,000 or GEL 21 per square metre. Currently, the Property Management Agency has auctioned two land plots on almost the same territory for GEL 33 and GEL 45, thereby reflecting two different prices.

Therefore, FactCheck concludes that Nika Melia’s statement is TRUE.