Mlexit: Sofia Neighborhood Should Break Away, According to Local Mayor
The vast neighborhood of Mladost should break away from Bulgaria's capital Sofia and turn into a city of its own, the local mayor Desislava Ivancheva suggested last week, in what later turned out to be a financial dispute.
Her words - on which she later partly backtracked - followed a controversial decision of Mladost's chief architect to approve the construction of the so-called Grand Canyon a controversial project that would sprout on the site of an old supermarket.
Ivancheva, who took the mayoral office in Mladost amidst environmental protests over intense construction activities in the neighborhood, had often spoken against the project. On Wednesday she said she had dismissed Vesela Taseva as chief architect of the neighborhood after the latter put her signature on the construction permit, allegedly succumbing to pressure from Sofia's chief architect, Zdravko Zdravkov.
Reports of the dismissal were later refuted.
But speaking about what later gained fame as "Mlexit", Ivancheva suggested Mladost, in the event of seceding, would turn into a city with its own budget and get money through construction permits.
It did not become immediately clear how the mayor opposed construction projects that harm the local environment and would use revenues from permits at the same time.
Garanti Koza, the investor into the Grand Canyon project, will pay BGN 0.8 M. to obtain the permit.
In a twist, Ivancheva argued she will use money from such projects to raise enough funding for Mladost city, triggering a whirlwind on social media.
Some users joked that people would have to buy vignette stickers to go to Sofia. Another suggested IKEA should start selling the so-called "Border Wall" furniture in Mladost.
The "Mlexit" issue was abandoned by the end of the week, just over a day after Ivancheva had said:
"We as Mladost want 50% of the revenues to be brought back to the neighborhood. A permit for a big investor costs around BGN 0.8 M. If [the money] stays in our neighborhood, we will fix the streets, lighting, and sidewalks. Why not turn Mladost into the City of Mladost? We have revenues, enough investors, business partners. Municipalities not generating revenue should think how to generate them, instead of getting [funds] from our administration and residents."
The Grand Canyon project will be built through a BGN 120 M investment and will become Sofia's biggest residential and commercial compound including a 5-star hotel, a medical facility and a part with fountains and gree spaces, spanning some 138 000 square meters.