South African property investment fund NEPI Rockcastle reached an agreement to acquire Paradise Center – the largest retail center in Sofia, for 252.9 million euro. This is a record high price for a real estate in Bulgaria. Earlier this year NEPI acquired another shopping mall in Sofia – Serdika Center together with Serdika Office building, for a total price of 207.4 million euro.
The company’s official statement for the transaction said: With a growing population of over 1.32 million inhabitants, Sofia is the economic and cultural centre of Bulgaria and an attractive head office destination for international companies. Benefitting from a developing infrastructure and strategic location, Sofia is a major hub for international railway and automobile transport, with three Pan-European corridors crossing the city. During the last couple of years, Bulgaria’s economy has shown robust growth, with GDP growth of 3.6% in 2015 and 3.3% in 2016. Growth is forecast to remain strong at 2.8%-2.9% per year in 2017-21 (compared to a forecast growth of 1.4%-1.5% in the European Union), as domestic and external demand continues to increase (according to the Economist Intelligence Unit).
With a total area of 82,000m2, Paradise Center is the largest retail centre in Sofia. The centre is located in the wealthy southern part of the city, which is undergoing strong development. Paradise Center is located at the intersection between two main traffic arteries, it has 1 900 parking places available and direct access to Vitosha station from M2 metro line. The trade center welcomes 10 million visitors annually. Apart from the major national and international tenants, the centre has also a strong food and entertainment area, sport areas, a playground, cinema and a congress center.
The acquisition strengthens NEPI Rockcastle’s position as the largest listed retail real estate company in Central and Eastern Europe (“CEE”), and together with the acquisition of Serdika Center earlier this year, its presence in the Bulgarian market. The fund is the leading retail owner in Romania and has strong positions in Slovakia and Croatia.
Two month ago, in August, another South African investment fund acquired another trade center in Sofia – Serdika Center shopping mall together with Serdika Office building, for a total price of 207.4 million euro.