TriGranit Eur 2-3 billion Bucharest Project Moves Forward – Romania May 2008

Trigrant Esplanade Project to start 2009 at Eur 2-3 billion
The Diplomat Vol 4 No 4 (May 2008)

Hungarian real estate developer TriGranit will start the works on the city-centre Esplanada project in the second half of 2009, following the Government approval of a private-public partnership.
The Bucharest project is planned for a wasteland bordered by Unirii Boulevard and Strada Nerva Traian, stretching over 107,140 sqm on the banks of the Dambovita.
In 2005, when the project was first announced, the investment plan was for one billion Euro. Since then the project has suffered delays due to contested land ownership of the site and now the investment figure is expected to be two to three billion Euro.
The mixed-use project will include stores, offices and leisure. The first phase of the project will provide local authorities with a cultural building worth 40 million Euro, office spaces for state institutions covering 12,000 sqm and underground public parking spaces.
The entire project will become the property of the state after a 49 year-partnership, at the end of which Trigranit will have the option to buy the complex.

TriGranit Romania to pony up EUR2 Bln to develop a host of real estate projects

NewsIn, May 17, 2007 – TriGranit Romania is aiming to invest 2 billion euros in several real estate projects in the country over the next five years, according to a company official.

Some 1 billion euros have already been poured into the Esplanada project in Bucharest, whose contract will be signed in the summer, according to Bucharest’s general mayor, Adriean Videanu. Negotiations will be completed at the end of June.

“We are looking for land in Brasov, Arad and Craiova to develop real estate projects similar to the Polus Centers in Cluj and Constanta,” said Torok Arpad, development director for Romania.

Polus Center will be the largest mall in Cluj Napoca county and is scheduled for completion in October this year. Construction works started in 2005 and total investments amount to 140 million euros.

TriGranit $1Billion Bucharest Project Moves Forward

Expropriations for Esplanada project
Bucharest Business Daily – May 24, 2006 by Ciprian Domnisoru

The initial one billion dollar investment for the 800,000 square meters Esplanada Project could attract up to three billion in further investments. The government will lease the project to developer TriGranit see for 49 years. Owners that will refuse the City Hall offer for the purchase of properties on the site of the Esplanada real estate project will be expropriated, as the construction project is considered to be of public utility, announced Mayor of Bucharest Adriean Videanu yesterday. “If owner demands are above the evaluation we shall have to resort to expropriation. There are some owners with high demands, but municipality cannot hold separate negotiations, we will pay the same price to each owner,” mentioned Videanu. The 10.7 hectares downtown Bucharest site is 70 percent owned by citizens or is being claimed by former owners. The Ministry of Transportation currently owns much of the claimed land. Authorities have received 25 retrocession claims for 55 percent of the necessary land and 17 owners agreed on the price offered by City Hall. However, land prices in the area exceed 1,000 euros per square meter, a price City Hall is not prepared to pay. The government and Bucharest City Hall have designed Esplanada as an office space, retail and housing project. Esplanada will be built through a public-private partnership with multinational company TriGranit, which will ante up one billion in financing. The memorandum for the project was signed yesterday by Delegate Minister for Public Works Laszlo Borbely and the president of the TriGranit Group, Nathaniel Rothschild.
Construction of the project will begin next year and the first stage of the project, namely the construction of office buildings, retail spaces and the commercial center, will be complete in seven to ten years, announced TriGranit executive director Todd Cowen. “We are optimistic about the start date of the project. City Hall gave reassurances on the prompt settling of problems related to land,” Cowen said. 
The residential and green areas will be built in the second stage. The complex will have 210,000 square meters of office spaces, a 90,000 square meter residential area and 120,000 square meters of retail and entertainment spaces. In addition, TriGranit will build a cultural center and 270,000 square meters of parking spaces. “We want to build a symbol for Romania. The complex could be a tourist attraction and all the more reason for multinational companies to invest in Romania,” Cowen added. 
The developer is holding talks with representatives of the Guggenheim Museum in view of the opening of a center in Bucharest.
According to the memorandum signed yesterday, the land will be leased to the TriGranit company for 49 years, after which the residential, office and retail spaces will be administered by the Romanian state.
Until then, the State could administer several buildings or receive part of the profit. The government will establish the procedure shortly. “I personally like the scenario that the Romanian state receives one, two or three buildings and I believe it is best we take over the cultural center,” said Minister Borbely. The Esplanada project will be later handed over to Bucharest City Hall. “We thought it was necessary to involve City Hall in this project. We will gradually hand the entire project over to Bucharest municipalities, as it is a project of the inhabitants of Bucharest. City Hall needs to solve the land and utility problems,” Borbely said.
TriGranit Development Corporation, founded in 1997 is American, Canadian, British and Hungarian owned and does most of its business in Central and Eastern Europe.  The company intends to invest 1.5 billion euros in Romania over the next few years in Bucharest, Cluj and Constanta. TriGranit is also interested in the finalization of works on the National Library, but after works on the Esplanada Project are complete.