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Nov 13, 2007 16:10 EEST
November 13 (SeeNews) - U.S.-based real estate operator Tishman International Companies and commercial investor GE Real Estate Central & Eastern Europe, part of General Electric (GE), have teamed up in a 50:50 joint venture for a 250 million euro ($364.6 million) logistics and office development in Bulgaria's capital Sofia, company officials said on Tuesday.
Each of the companies will invest approximately 125 million euro in the project which will feature 22,000 square metres of logistics space, 100,000 square metres of offices, a 250-room hotel and a restaurant and entertainment complex, the chairman of Tishman International Companies, Alan D. Levy, told SeeNews after the presentation of the project at a news conference.
The project, called Sofia Airport Centre, is located near the Sofia international airport. Tishman started developing the project after taking over the previous owner of the land, on which the complex will be built, a couple of years ago. Tishman started works on the logistics part of the project several months ago and plans to complete it next year. Works on the office component are due to begin at the end of the current year or in early 2008.
Tishman is also planning to build logistics centres and offices in several major Bulgarian cities - Plovdiv, where the motorway to the border with Turkey lies, the city of Ruse, where the only bridge between Bulgaria and Romania over the Danube is located, and the Black Sea ports of Varna and Burgas.
"[The average investment] will be perhaps in the range of 100 million euro in each," Levy said.
Works on some of the projects have already been launched, Tishman operations and development director for Bulgaria Pepa Dimitrova told reporters on the sidelines of the news conefrence.
Tishman will develop a logistics centre in Ruse and logistics and office space in Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas. Part will be greenfield investment and part will be developed at existing facilities, Dimitrova added.
"There is a possibility for some of the projects to be developed together with GE Real Estate," Dimitrova said but provided no further details.
GE Real Estate Central & Eastern Europe, which is already present in the retail space market in Bulgaria, plans to further strengthen its position there and enter the residential space sector.
GE Real Estate Central and Eastern Europe and a group of investors led by Irish real estate and investment advisory group Quinlan Private said in July they have agreed to acquire an initial 50% interest in a shopping mall in Plovdiv, with an option to get the remaining 50% upon completion of the project, scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2008.
GE Real Estate Central and Eastern Europe and Quinlan Private also ownthe Mall of Sofia, the first ever mall in Bulgaria.
"We would like to look at specific projects beyond this one [Sofia Airport Project]. We think the logistics market [in Bulgaria] is underdeveloped, so we would like to grow in it together with Tishman," GE Real Estate Central and Eastern Europe managing director Karim Habra told the news conference.
TISHMAN EYES ROMANIA
Tishman International Companies (www.tishmanintl.com), which is headquartered in Los Angeles and has offices in London and Sofia, has built, developed and managed over 3.25 million square metres of assets. The company also plans to enter the office space segment in Bulgaria's northern neighbour Romania.
"We have just agreed terms on an office building in Cluj [in northwestern Romania] which would be our first investment there," Levy said and added that the investment could be of some 20 million euro.
"Initially in Cluj, we would be looking at Bucharest and some secondary cities," Levy said and added that the project in Bucharest will be a bigger than the one in Cluj and respectively will need a higher investment. "We would look also for logistics projects in Romania as well but it would be in the longer term."
GE Real Estate (www.gerealestate.com) is a business unit of GE Commercial Finance, providing lending, equipment leasing, cash flow programmes and asset financing for the healthcare, manufacturing, fleet management, communications, construction, energy, aviation, infrastructure and equipment industries. GE Real Estate has assets of some $62 billion and is present in 28 countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. So far, the company has invested over$1.0 billion in real estate projects in retail, residential, office and logistics projects in Central and Eastern Europe.
($ = 0.6856 euro)
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