Inobačka, a family construction company based in Novi Sad, has been operating in the construction sector for three decades, dealing with construction investments, design and construction, prefabricated production, the development of infrastructure projects, and the construction of science and technology centers and business facilities. However, with the maturing of the company, more challenging projects occurred, such as hotel complexes and, recently, the unique and specific construction of the first underground garages in Novi Sad.
Along with innovations in construction, the company is also recognizable for investing large resources in preserving the greenery and historical heritage of the City of Novi Sad, which is expanding its infrastructural development. The owners of the company Inobačka, Vukajlo Babić and Danilo Babić, speak for our magazine about the most important projects they are working on currently.
Vukajlo Babić. owner of Inobačka / Photo: Inobačka
Your company signed a concession contract for the construction of four public garages in Novi Sad, and the project of underground garages in the very center of Novi Sad, in Modena Street and near Banovina, is also the subject of scientific geotechnics research. How is the implementation of garage projects going, and what makes this construction so specific?
Vukajlo Babić: Public garages are built according to the public-private partnership model. The construction of the Banovina public garage is coming to an end and will be in operation by the end of the year, while the Modena public garage is in the construction phase and is planned to be in use for citizens in the spring of 2024. The remaining two garages, located at Trg Republike and Šafarikova Street, are still in the conceptual design phase. Since Novi Sad is a very specific environment for construction, as it has an extremely high level of underground water, these two projects were very challenging for the excavation of foundation pits and the protection of excavations. The entire work was preceded by a detailed geotechnical and groundwater level lowering study, which provided guidelines for the construction of the foundation pit. All construction work was specific. The foundation pit at the Banovina underground garage was protected by a so-called pile curtain, and the depth of the foundation pit was up to 11 meters. Even more complex works were carried out on the Modena underground garage, which was designed on three levels. The excavation work was preceded by the relocation of existing installations and infrastructure, where the most demanding part was the relocation of the main heating pipe and its preparation for the heating season. The support for the excavation of the foundation pit was made with reinforced concrete diaphragms about 30 meters long, and the depth is a record in Novi Sad at about 17 meters. Considering the proximity of the neighboring buildings, the Tanurdžić Palace, the Cathedral, and other buildings under the protection of the City of Novi Sad, it was necessary to implement extensive measures to protect the excavation with a system of steel struts on two levels. Many of these ventures were carried out for the first time in our city. All work was done in a top-quality and professional manner. When you consider that digging deeper than 5 to 6 meters underground is very rare in Novi Sad due to the level of underground water, you understand why these works were so complex and specific and why scientific papers are written about them.
Danilo Babić, owner of Inobačka / Photo: Inobačka
Inobačka is one of the few construction companies that puts the preservation of the environment and the authenticity of the city center above profit. In order to preserve the poplar tree line during the construction of the Banovina underground garage, it gave up 40 parking spaces, which is why the project was subsequently changed. How important is environmental awareness nowadays?
Danilo Babić: Perhaps it is the most important. We believe that any modern construction must be environmentally friendly as well as socially conscious. Our company’s position is to remain consistent in nurturing authentic Novi Sad architecture, which we managed to do by restoraing a building from the beginning of the 20th century in Železnička Street in Novi Sad. We try to preserve every historical feature of the building that is in our hands, and we do it without exception if the circumstances allow it. Thus, precisely at this address, with the consultation of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Novi Sad, two 70-year-old trees were preserved, which are now located in the greenhouse within the building, thus ensuring their unhindered further development. The building at this location was used for the needs of the National Bank of Serbia, and now it is of historical importance for this city and is under the protection of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, and we restored it to its original form from 1920 through conservation work, both functionally and aesthetically. We are very pleased that starting this summer, our company’s headquarters and business center will start working at this very location, in a building that was built in the last century. On the ground floor of our business center, the Regus Center, a world-renowned chain for flexible, i.e., hybrid, ways of working, with modern offices for coworking, will be located.
Public garage Banovina / Photo: Inobačka
One of the more challenging eco-projects in front of you is the construction of a hotel-business complex on the site of the current Park Hotel, next to Futoški Park in Novi Sad. The entire complex was designed in accordance with LEED standards. What does this “green complex” mean to Novi Sad?
Vukajlo Babić: This project is undoubtedly one of the largest investments in Novi Sad, worth as much as 107 million euros. The hotel-business complex will consist of the Hyatt Regency Novi Sad hotel and premium office premises in the Trinity Park facility. This is the first urban complex of its kind, contributing both to ecology and tourism. With the arrival of one of the world's largest hotel chains, Novi Sad will position itself as the center of international congress tourism in Vojvodina, and with its opening in 2026, the city will get the largest congress center, with an area of 1,900 square meters and a capacity of almost 1,000 seats. At the same time, this is also an ecological project, since the entire complex is based on the use of green energy, that is, renewable energy sources, in accordance with LEED standards and the carbon-free system. And we are talking about the latest world recommendations when it comes to energy efficiency and environmental protection. The entire complex is designed as the most efficient possible system, which includes highly efficient air conditioning chambers with double adiabatic humidification of the return air, which practically reduce the cooling needs, i.e. reduce the cooling capacity of the energy block by 40 percent. By doing so, they reduce consumption and all the negative impacts of non-ecological energy sources. The area around the current hotel will be completely greened, and the ginkgo tree, which is protected as a natural monument, will be the centerpiece of the new project and its trademark. Special attention will be paid to the preservation of the spa area and the SPA center so that they remain authentic and in the spirit of the Jodna Banja, which is located in the immediate vicinity of the hotel in Futoški Park and has been a recognizable symbol of Novi Sad since the 19th century.
Hotel and business complex Hyatt Regency Novi Sad and Trinity Park / Photo: Inobačka
The Hyatt Regency brand is famous in the world of hospitality. This will be the second hotel under the Hyatt brand in Serbia, considering that the first one was opened 30 years ago in Belgrade. What will this hotel offer to the people of Novi Sad?
Danilo Babić: We opted for Hyatt International as the operator of our hotel because we share the same business values and strategic goals in the direction of the development of congress and wellness tourism. The future hotel will be absolutely accessible, with all its facilities, to the residents of Novi Sad. We would like that the people of Novi Sad spend more time in Futoški Park, which is one of the most beautiful green oases in Novi Sad. Experts in horticulture and afforestation from the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Novi Sad are engaged in additional greening of the entire environment around the hotel so that the volume of green areas will increase. The hotel will have 242 luxury rooms, seven meeting rooms, a 1,900-square-meter congress center, an 800-square-meter reception hall, a spa center with an outdoor pool and a view of Futoški Park. We will employ about 250 people, and our restaurant and catering facilities will have a direct connection with the city. One of the innovations is that the Hyatt Regency Novi Sad hotel will be open to everyone, not just hotel guests. It was designed in such a way that the flow of pedestrians and the contents of the F&B restaurant at all times enable the fluctuation of citizens in the entire area around the hotel and within the hotel itself.
Park Novi Residence / Photo: Inobačka
In addition to green construction, you also pay attention to the implementation of innovations such as prefabrication. One of the last projects you built using this technology is the residential and business complex Park Novi Residence in Novi Sad. What makes this technology and the facility itself so specific?
Vukajlo Babić: So far, we have built more than 350,000 square meters of residential and commercial space using offsite precast technology, and during the last 10 years, we have achieved savings in the consumption of wooden formwork and reduced waste material by more than 30 percent. This month, we completed the construction of the Park Novi Residence residential and office complex, which is the only closed-type condominium in Novi Sad. We give importance and priority to projects that contribute to the quality of life and proximity to the natural environment. The complex covers more than 56,000 square meters with six units and two underground floors with more than 530 parking spaces. The surroundings of the complex itself are impressive because it is located in the extension of the new city park, which includes 35,000 square meters of greenery and modern park facilities. The introduction of new technologies in the construction of residential and commercial buildings in terms of prefabrication has many advantages, because the construction cycle is shortened, and with the ecological method of construction, we reduce waste by using recycled concrete, which also reduces large CO2 emissions. It is a sustainable way of construction and is aimed at protecting the environment because prefabricated production is carried out under controlled conditions in the plant.
By: Ivana Brcan