C&W/H&B opens an office in Athens (GR)

Cushman & Wakefield Healey & Baker (C&W/H&B) has opened a fully owned office in Athens to cover the Greek market. The office, which opened on 12 July, is headed jointly by Nicky Simbouras and Árpád Török, with the C&W/H&B Partner overseeing the Firm’s activities in Greece being Eric Van Leuven, C&W/H&B’s Head of Portugal.

“C&W/H&B will provide a unique service in the Greek market,” says Nicky Simbouras. “This comes from our local in-depth knowledge and broad range of experience, combined with the benefits of our global network of services, expertise and clients.”

She continues: “The Greek real estate market is one of the euro zone’s least mature. It offers tremendous opportunities for both ourselves and our clients, which is why we feel it is important to have a wholly owned C&W/H&B office.”

Previously, C&W/H&B operated a joint venture specialising in retail agency and management together with local real estate company Sotiropoulos Bros, with all other service lines in the Greek market provided to C&W/H&B clients through an association agreement with Sotiropoulos Bros.

Nicky Simbouras, previously a Partner of Sotiropoulos Bros, has 15 years’ experience of Greek commercial real estate markets. She is running the C&W/H&B office and industrial investment, agency and management sides of the business, as well as working on behalf of C&W/H&B’s corporate clients. C&W/H&B has around 50 corporate clients across Europe for which it works on a regional basis, including names such as ABN AMRO, BNP Paribas, Cadbury Schweppes, Revlon, Lucent, 3Com, McGraw-Hill and WPP.

Árpád Török, the head of C&W/H&B’s previous retail joint venture in Greece, is responsible for retail investment and agency work, both in the high street and shopping centres, as well as retail asset management. Árpád rejoined C&W/H&B in 2002 to head retail in Greece. Previously he was part of C&W/H&B’s Budapest retail team, from where he went on to be Head of Leasing at TrizecHahn’s joint venture in Hungary and Bratislava.

“The Greek retail sector offers particularly interesting opportunities,” says Árpád. “Greece is one of the most ‘under-shopped’ countries when it comes to shopping centres in Europe, with a mere 20 square metres of shopping centre space per 1,000 inhabitants compared with a euro-zone average of 195 square metres.”

In addition, says Árpád, the retail investment market is beginning to warm as the market attracts the attention of international investors: “Until now, a lack of quality schemes has held back the investment market. Recent acquisitions have involved small players and small lot sizes. This is set to change over the next few years as several new shopping centres, providing sound investment opportunities in terms of their lease and financial structures, and their management set-up, come onto the market.”

C&W/H&B is letting the two most important shopping centre schemes in Greece:

  • Maroussi Shopping Centre: 60,000 sq m shopping and leisure centre in the Maroussi district of Athens, the site of the Olympic Village, being developed by Lamda Real Estate Development, and due to open in the second quarter of 2005. (C&W/H&B is also acting as marketing consultant on the Maroussi scheme.)
  • Mediterranean Cosmos in Thessaloniki, a 45,000 sq m development by Lamda and Portuguese shopping centres specialist Sonae Imobiliária, due to be completed in the first quarter of 2005.

In addition, C&W/H&B is advising on the management set-up on behalf of Pireaus Real Estate’s 60,000 sq m Picar Shopping and Leisure Centre in Athens, set to open in the first quarter of 2005. And C&W/H&B manages and acts as letting agent for the 20,000 sq m Village Entertainment Park, owned by fund manager Pradera, which opened in Athens in 1999 as Greece’s first shopping centre.

Initially, C&W/H&B’s team in Athens will be made up of 11 people, including Nicky, Árpád and four shopping centre management professionals.

Source: C&W H&B

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