An online petition is circulating to prevent the construction of a huge residential and business bloc next to the Skopje GTC shopping mall, in the very center of the city.

The site includes what is now a parking lot servicing GTC and a near-by low-rise residential area, along the banks of the river Vardar. Part of the land is owned by the Macedonian Orthodox Church, which entered into a contract with developer Zoran Antic, who plans to build two high-rises with 20 floors, one with 16 floors and a connecting annex that will serve as a shopping mall for a whopping total of 83,000 square meters.

So far over 7,000 citizens have signed to protest the development, which is becoming a major political issue for the ruling SDSM party. SDSM led protests which, among other things, included activists against over-development in the city. One of the campaigns of their Colored Revolution was meant to protest the planned conversion of GTC from an open into a controlled access mall and to change its current brutalist style into a neo-classical style. SDSM organized a referendum against the plan and launched a campaigned titled “Let’s hug GTC” in which it had activists form a human chain around the mall. That is why the plan to build a huge concrete development right next to it is seen as betrayal by SDSM supporters.