Benevo continues its rapid growth as one of the most active retail developers in CEE. With anchor tenants signed for their two projects under development in Bucharest, Benevo has added some industry heavyweights to their management and advisory board which will further strengthen the company’s position as they look to expand into Kiev (Ukraine) and solidify their position in Bucharest. They will also officially launch a private equity fund in May with a size of US $100 million (approx. €76.6 million).
This week Benevo announced the signing of a binding lease agreement with Cora for a 12,000 m² hypermarket in its Victoria City Lifestyle Retail Center, a 68,000 m² GLA mixed use project in Bucharest. Based on contracts signed to date by retailers, the project is expected to reach an occupancy rate of over 70% before midsummer.
“Benevo has recently completed a further financing agreement with Alpha Bank and looks forward to opening this much anticipated project” stated Michael Topolinski, CEO of Benevo Capital.
Located in Northern Bucharest, the project benefits from an excellent location with superior public transportation, including a metro station on the site. The lifestyle retail center has a catchment area of 310,000 shoppers within 20 minutes by car or metro. Construction will begin this summer, with a Grand Opening in Q3 2014.
The project is planned as a lifestyle retail center together with an office tower, which incorporates traditional mall offerings such as a strong hyper market and large fashion anchors, though also presents consumers with an integrated next generation food, entertainment and leisure experience on 11,500 m².
“We have studied thoroughly the evolving consumer habits in Romania and have incorporated many interesting new aspects into the design. This will create a regional mall due to the content and uniqueness of our project in the market. In particular, our customers will notice a greater focus on both indoor and outdoor entertainment experiences that connect functionally with a diverse food offering. The project will contain interesting attractions that will be one of a kind in Romania” said Topolinski.
As co-developer of the Vulcan Retail Park, Victoria City Lifestyle Retail Center will be the second retail project under construction by Benevo in 2013 with a total of 94,000 m² and a development value in excess of €200 million.
“In Bucharest we have a couple of land plots in advance negotiations and as a result, by 2014 we expect Benevo to have more projects in Bucharest. We are also in advanced negotiations for our first land plot in Kiev which is a fantastic site, where we plan to build a 50,000 m² GLA lifestyle retail center” said Michael Topolinski.
Benevo Capital, through a group of companies in Romania, has invested in retail and residential property since 2007. The Group’s investments also include the largest portfolio of residential apartments in Romania.
In order to maintain their high level of growth, Benevo will expand its retail development business into new markets outside Romania and will open an office in Kiev in June. To lead this regional expansion, they recruited Mathieu De Bruin, former CEO of Multi Development and Arricano Real Estate in Ukraine and Blake Horsley former Investment Services Director at Colliers Romania.
In addition Benevo is very pleased to announce that Ali Ergun Ergen has joined Benevo’s Advisory Board. Ergen has held CEO positions at both Baneasa Shopping City and Anchor Group, developer of Plaza Romania and Bucuresti Mall and is considered to be one of the most experienced retail developers in CEE. Ergen will bring his vast retail experience and strategic planning to benefit Benevo’s current and future projects in Romania and Ukraine.