Bank Austria grants €70 million loan for Serdika Center Sofia (BG/DE/AT)

Sparkassen Immobilien AG and ECE Projektmanagement have concluded a financing agreement with Bank Austria for the Serdika Center in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. The loan amount totals €70 million; the loan has a term of 10 years.

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The Serdika Center was opened on March 15, 2010.

After a construction period of around two years, the Serdika Center was opened on March 15, 2010 as one of Southern Europe's largest shopping centers. It provides more than 51,000 m² of retail rental space distributed on three floors. Around 210 shops offer the visitors a large range of fashion, international and national cuisine as well as numerous services.

More than 2,000 new jobs were created by the project. The investment volume of the shopping center amounted to around €160 million, which was procured by Sparkassen Immobilien AG from Vienna (65 %) and the European shopping center market leader ECE from Hamburg (35 %).

Alexander Otto, ECE CEO: "I am pleased that Sparkassen Immobilien AG and ECE were able to realize the Serdika Center even in rough times as financially sound partners. On time for the Expo Real, Bulgaria now receives a first positive sign from the capital market. For first-class real estate, loan capital is starting to be available again at reasonable conditions."

Ernst Vejdovszky, Chairman of Sparkassen Immobilien AG, adds: "In this project all partners proved that they have the financial strength, expertise and the required network to realize their projects successfully. With the Serdika Center we show that we always base our investment decisions – particularly in difficult times – on a long-term perspective."

Helmut Bernkopf, Bank Austria Chairman Corporate & Investment Banking: "Considering the current economic environment, infrastructure projects such as the Serdika Center in Sofia are important stimuli for the local economy.

"The high project quality, our partners' professionalism and the business case convinced us when making the financing decision."

Successful with attractive branch mixture and perfect location
With 205 leased shops, the occupancy rate is 99% – currently an extraordinary figure for a property in Bulgaria. In July and August, concepts such as Oysho, Massimo Dutti, First Investment Bank, Jennyfer or Vivacom opened as well; the number of visitors has increased by 20% since July.

Numerous popular retail brands are already represented in the Serdika
Center: Peek & Cloppenburg (first shop in Bulgaria), a consumer electronics market of the Bulgarian Technopolis, a supermarket of the Bulgarian operator Piccadilly, fashion stores of Zara, Bershka, Pull&Bear, Stradivarius, Reserved, Esprit, New Yorker, Marc O'Polo; shoe stores such as Ecco, Humanic, Deichmann, Camper; Puma and Tempo Sport sports outfitters, and many more international retailers such as Douglas, Swarovski, Bijou Brigitte, Guess Kids or I-Style, an Apple specialist store for computers and mobile phone. A food court with international and Bulgarian cuisine as well as several restaurants and cafés invite the visitors to stay and enjoy.

The shopping and business center is located at the Sitnya

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