Europe to have strong show at Cityscape 2005

France, Germany and Poland plan to charm Mid East investors

Paris and Lyon along with Hamburg and the Polish capital Warsaw have all announced plans to woo regional investors.

Pundits will get the chance to view some of the most exciting property investment opportunities in the rapidly developing market of Warsaw, where steady economic recovery, could offer shrewd investors a sound return on investment.

In May 2004, The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia and Slovakia, joined the European Union (EU) and as a consequence have opened the gates to foreign direct investment, economic growth, competition and jobs.

With massive EU funding certain high profile infrastructure projects are already underway, as the East begins to redevelop the neglected Soviet building programmes of the 1960s and '70s.

In addition, it is estimated that around a third of the total population of the 'Eastern Eight' will need to be re-housed in the next 20 years alone as cheap communist housing crumbles and new buildings take their place.

Poland leads the way in terms of economic growth and reintegration into the European urban matrix. Warsaw is the scene of many impressive developments at the moment including a shopping centre, a 25,000 m² office, service and hotel building and one of the largest multi-use developments currently under construction in Europe.

Business, shopping and entertainment will all be found under one roof at Zlote Tarasy where 45,000 m² of office space and 63,500 m² of retail space will be topped with an eight-screen cinema and 1,664 parking spaces. It is located in a catchment area of 900,000 people living within a 15-minute drive. The 225,000 m² project in the center of Warsaw is scheduled for completion by spring 2006.

France of the other hand is making ground with an interesting marketing scheme for Middle East investors that will be the point of focus during Cityscape 2005.

While properties in the Middle East are being offered as a destination for real estate investments abroad, it is interesting that Paris is turning the tables and offering residents in the Middle East an opportunity to invest and partner in the second largest real estate market in the world, after New York.

In March this year, Paris-Ile de France Capitale Economique, a non-profit organisation created by the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry, held its second forum in Dubai to promote investment opportunities in the French capital. 'Advantage Greater Paris: New Opportunities in Finance & Real Estate' focused on new measures taken by the French government to attract international investors in 2005.

Thierry Jacquillat, chairman of Paris-Ile de France Capitale Economique (PIDFCE) said : "Greater Paris is the first location in Europe for the top 500 worldwide companies and we look forward to welcoming more of the international business community to Paris".

Jacquillat explained that a high level of turnover, averaging a return of 15 per cent per annum since 1999, has made Paris the most attractive city for investors. Over the past five years Middle East investments in Greater Paris business real estate have risen six-fold from zero to six per cent. Greater Paris offers 47 million m² of available business space, the second largest in the world, and in the first quarter of 2004 boasted a record investments of €5.2 billion (Dh26 billion).

Further south is Lyon, strategically placed at a crossroad between northern Europe and the Mediterranean coast, providing a gateway to Provence and the Alps. France's second-largest city Lyon offers a thriving economy and a quality setting – all things the city is keen to capitalise on in terms of attracting investment and business from overseas.

Lyon has a diverse supply of land and property. The richness of its economic fabric and its developments, the liveliness of its trade, the sustained development of its areas of excellence, and the quality of its research and training centres, make Lyon a recognised business r

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