[IMGCAP(2)]The new company is called Federal BulgariaManagement. Its headquarters will be in Sophia, with regionaloffices in key cities such as Varna, the country's second largestcity, and Burgas, on the Black Sea coast.

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Initial plans focus on converting and redeveloping approximately50 sites, owned by different entities within the Petrol Holdinggroup of companies. These sites will be converted from oilservicing facilities to mixed-use developments that will likelyinclude office, retail, and residential components.

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"Bulgaria is new territory for developers," Gary Helminski,director of development for Federal Development tells GlobeSt.com."It just recently joined the European Union in January, so we'repioneering here." He compares where Bulgaria is today with wherePoland was four or five years ago. Poland is now booming in termsof real estate development, and Helminski believes Bulgaria willfollow suit. "We're on the front edge of that," Helminski says.

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The first mixed-used development for the joint venture team isslated for Burgas, according to Helminski. The company plans toraze an existing soccer stadium and replace it with a new30,000-seat stadium. Surrounding it will be a complex ofresidential towers, office towers, and a 10,000-seat performingarts center for this resort town on the Black Sea.

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The Burgas development is in the master-planning stage, saysHelminski. Like many of Federal's projects, it is a waterfrontdevelopment. Federal is also in the midst of waterfront projects inLido, Italy; Baltimore; and Monterey, CA.

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"This partnership will leverage our knowledge and expertise inthe Bulgarian markets and Federal's experience developing mixed-useprojects throughout the world, and, ultimately will result in trulyinspiring mixed-used facilities that respond to the needs anddesires of the Bulgarian communities," says Mitko Sabev, chairmanof Petrol Holding, in a prepared statement.

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The partnership between Federal and with Petrol Holding will bestructured as a long-term commitment designed to ultimately yieldthe highest return for both parties over the course of a decade.Both parties will invest equity in the venture. Petrol willreinvest earnings from its businesses, and Federal will bringprivate financing from both Europe and the US, according toHelminski. "Federal's extensive experience structuringpublic/private partnerships to maximize the value of underutilizedpublicly owned properties will be a real benefit for Bulgaria andits citizens as we integrate into the European Union," saysSabev.

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"We are excited to be entering the Bulgarian market with PetrolHolding by our side," John Infantino, CEO of Federal says. "Overthe past few years, Bulgaria has experienced rapid economic growth,and one of the advantages of public/private partnerships is theability to leverage increasingly limited resources of governmentagencies to complete high-cost, high-need projects. Public-privatepartnerships can help deliver, in an accelerated fashion, muchneeded public benefits, such as community parks, health care andtransit facilities and improved infrastructure."

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Petrol Holding was founded as a trader of crude oil and oilproducts in 1995. It has since expanded into financial services,telecommunications, hospitality and leisure, power generation,aviation, and more.

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