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Batumi’s Alphabet Tower leased to Spanish investors for 1 GEL

Monday, June 1
A Spanish company has paid 1 GEL to lease the iconic Alphabet Tower in Georgia’s Black Sea city Batumi for the next 20 years.

The building cost $65 million to build but was currently in poor condition - the elevator was particularly unreliable, said Batumi City Hall chairman Irakli Cheishvili. The building was also very expensive to maintain and this prompted the decision for Batumi authorities to lease the infamous Alphabet Tower, he said.

Today Bautmi City Hall decided to lease the 130m-tall Alphabet Tower to an unnamed Spanish company for the next 20 years.

The lease contract has not been signed however the agreement stated the new leaseholders must open a restaurant in the tower within three months once the lease is signed. It is believed the restaurant will be located on the top floor of the Alphabet Tower.

"We have not sold the ownership of the property but we have leased it for 20 years. Despite the fact that 65 million GEL was spent on building the tower, the elevator practically does not work,” said Cheishvili.

The Spanish company will be required to spend a serious amount of money in the facility to renovate it and ensure it meets adequate health and safety standards, as well as fund ongoing maintenance costs.

The Alphabet Tower was very costly to maintain. Batumi City Hall used to spend 700,000 GEL per year on the tower’s upkeep.

The Alphabet Tower with a twisting DNA helix shape was designed by Spanish architect Alberto Domingo Cabo and constructed in 2011. It was dedicated to honouring the Georgian alphabet however two characters do not appear on the building’s facade.

Since the building was constructed it has virtually remained abandoned.