Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

MALL OF SOFIA IS AN EUR50MN INVESTMENT

Mall of Sofia, the largest shopping centre in Bulgaria, will appear at the crossing of the boulevards Alexander Stamboliiski and Opulchenska in Sofia within 18 months. The mall will spread on 73,000 sq m. One hundred and forty shops will be located on 35 dka, the Piccadily supermarket will be opened on 4 dka on the top floor, and the offices will take up some 10,000 sq m. A free underground parking lot providing space for more than 700 cars will be available for the shoppers. More than half of the ground has already been booked by future retailers, Eli Egosi, the mall's General Manager, said.Where else... asks the motto of the new facility. Right here, right now, right for Sofia, announced Mr. Egosi at the press conference held in the Sheraton hotel and then the huge poster behind his back came down noisily on the ground. A good sign, he said, everything will be carried off with vigour!Investors in the project are the Israeli companies Aviv Group, specialized in the building architectural complexes, and Cinema City International, an expert in the construction of entertainment centres. The same companies have built trade centres of this kind in Poland, Hungary, and Israel. The Moore Speakman International company is the designer of the mall.The IMAX stereo cinema will be the biggest attraction in the complex. Its screen size will make the viewers feel like they are taking part in the films. The cinema will have seats for 400 viewers. The screen is 4,500 times bigger than the standard one!, said Mooky Greidinger, Cinema City International Executive Director.The EUR50MN investment in Mall of Sofia will be certainly the biggest one, made by a private investor in the Bulgarian capital. We expect return on our expenses from the very first day of the mall's opening, Mr. Greidinger said. Experience in other countries shows that some 7,000,000-8,000,000 customers visit such shopping centres each year and the expected turnover is in the range of BGN160MN. Mall of Sofia will offer more than 1,000 permanent working positions and about 1,500 people will be employed in its construction. In addition to the shops, 12 cinemas, restaurants, caffes, etc. will open doors. Ami Moore, one of the most famous Israeli architects said for the BANKER weekly: My company has built 600 malls of the kind. There are fashion trends in their architecture and construction, too, and they change every 10 years, approximately. Somebody could tell you he has been to the USA and knows these malls. Nothing of the kind! In Bulgaria we'll be building something that is all the vogue in the sphere of shopping centres. It's like holding a Paris fashion-show in Sofia for the first time. You ask about terrorism and the eventual risk of Israeli building the facility. There is no danger and for you there are only advantages. Who knows better than us, the Israeli, how to construct a well-protected building? We have a scanning system for visitors and thousands of cameras will be keeping under observation each corner of the entire building. The security will be in compliance with international standard, although Sofia is a calm city. Initially, Mall of Sofia will be entirely managed by foreign experts. They will study the Bulgarian labour market and will set criteria for the choice of personnel. The requirements will be up to world standards, and no compromise will be admitted. With a view to the good-quality services, qualifications of the future employees will include a very good educational status and excellent knowledge of at least one foreign language.

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