ECE and WestImmo agree financing for Hungarian shopping center (DE/HU)

Construction work on the 'Árkád' shopping center in the South Hungarian city of Szeged is making fast progress: on Tuesday, August 24, 2010, ECE laid the foundation stone for the new inner-city shopping gallery in the presence of numerous city officials. Moreover, ECE and Westdeutsche Immobilienbank AG have signed a loan agreement for the construction of the shopping center.


Árkád Szeged is due to be completed in autumn 2011.

The loan amounts to up to €74 million. The overall investment volume of the project adds up to more than €100 million. The Árkád Szeged is thus one of the currently largest externally financed construction projects in Hungary.

"Our cooperation with WestImmo is a positive signal and shows that well-designed retail projects such as the Árkád Szeged can also be realized in the current financial market crisis," says ECE CEO Alexander Otto.

"We are looking forward to the cooperation with our customer ECE, who we are happy to support with construction and investment financing despite a difficult market environment in Hungary," says Claus-Jürgen Cohausz, Chairman of WestImmo.

"WestImmo carries on pursuing its long-term strategy to finance high-quality properties in selected markets with good sponsors," continues Cohausz.

Mayor of Szeged, Dr. Lászlo Botka says: "We are happy about this investment, which will make Szeged nicer, more vivid and attractive. The Árkád shopping center does not only contribute to the embellishment of the city center with its impressive building but will also create a considerable number of jobs and in this way ensure the livelihood of many families."

"The cooperation with the town of Szeged is very good," says Christoph Augustin, Managing Director of ECE Budapest. "All project development steps have been closely and constructively coordinated right from the beginning."

On completion in autumn 2011 the Árkád Szeged will be an elegant shopping center providing around 130 specialist stores, cafés, restaurants and service providers on three floors with approx. 41,000 m² of retail space.

ECE commissioned the renowned Hungarian construction company Market as general contractor for the construction of the building. During the construction phase, presumably up to 800 people will be working on the large construction site. After the opening event around 1,000 people will find a job in the Árkád Szeged. The center concept also comprises around 1,350 parking spaces. More than 400,000 people are living in the total catchment area.

Already more than 50% of the shop areas in the Árkád have been leased out.

"This high leasing rate a good year before the opening is a clear confirmation of the good concept and the first-class location of the Árkád Szeged," says Christoph Augustin.

The providers also include numerous local operators. The focus of the range on offer in the shopping center is placed on fashion brands, which are not yet represented in Szeged, as well as international and young fashion. Moreover, a supermarket as well as numerous cafés and restaurants are to move into the center.

The Árkád Szeged is being created on the premises of a

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