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Hungary Plans to Build €6 Billion Dubai-Style Budapest District

Marton Kasnyik

Dec 3, 2023

Hungary’s government said it plans to develop what it bills as a new, “Dubai-style” hub around a partly disused railway station in Budapest for an estimated €6 billion ($6.5 billion) using mostly foreign funding.

A site northeast of central Pest owned by Hungary’s state railways is to be developed using private investment of at least €5 billion, Janos Lazar, the minister responsible for construction and transportation, told reporters Monday. The Hungarian government will spend about €1 billion to improve infrastructure, he said.

Lazar didn’t identify the potential foreign investor, only saying that it’s one of the biggest in the world and that the deal would be the subject of an intergovernmental agreement. Local news reports have said the investor is based in the United Arab Emirates.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has mandated the construction of a major project reminiscent of Dubai in terms of its grandeur, Lazar said. Building skyscrapers is currently banned in Pest, though Lazar said refiner Mol Nyrt.’s new 143 meter-tall (470 feet) headquarters in Buda may have inevitably opened the way to constructing more such “eyesores.”

Similar plans to develop areas around some of Budapest’s other railway centers have fallen through in the past. The municipal government has already criticized the planned new hub, which would crowd the skyline behind one of Budapest’s historic thoroughfares.

Lazar said details of the project will be worked out in the next half year.

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