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Office, Industrial Areas Drive Real Estate Market Up Balpex

At last year's edition of Balkan property exhibition (BalPEx), vacation real estate in resorts were everyone's darlings, but this year it looks like malls, office buildings and industrial parks will be the main drivers of growth on the real estate market, Dnevnik daily reported on April 21.

The vacation segment of the market is over-saturated, causing investors to look elsewhere, according to the daily. As a consequence, a large number of projects presented at this year's edition of BalPEx, which ended on April 20, were for commercial and industrial real estate.

Malls appear to be spreading from cities to large towns, while another concept that is picking up steam are retail parks, which gather one-floor stores of different chains in one place.

One such project is Universe Shopping Centre, which Israeli Ginio Group plans plans to build in Plovdiv. The design of the 60 000 sq m park is ready and construction is expected to start later this year. The company plans to build another retail park in Stara Zagora, although the project is still on the drawing board, the daily said.

Polish real estate developer Globe Trade Centre (GTC) also presented its three projects in the country - malls in Varna, Bourgas and Stara Zagora. The company is also reportedly interested to build another one in Rousse. The mall in Varna will have 160 stores, 38 000 sq m of rental area and is expected to be opened in April 2009. Its mall in Bourgas will have 130 stores, a rental area of 27 000 sq m and should be ready by June 2009.

Mixed-use projects are also becoming increasingly popular, like the Maritsa conference centre that Victoria Group will build in Plovdiv. With a built-up area of 45 000 sq m, it will feature conference rooms, offices, hotels, a sports centre and a 7000 sq m shopping centre. The company also plans to build a 44 000 sq m meters residential complex, which it has dubbed Victoria Gardens, also in Plovdiv, which will have four buildings with a total 270 apartments, 43 stores and 180 offices, as well as a multi-use sports hall and an indoor cycling track. Its construction is scheduled to start in May and be completed by end-2009.