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ATHENS-Cushman & Wakefield has opened its first wholly-owned office in Greece with key personnel from its former joint venture partner, the locally based real estate firm Sotiropoulos Brothers. The new C&W office is headed jointly by Nicky Simbouras and Árpád Török. Simbouras was a principal with Sotiropoulos Brothers and Török was in charge of the Sotiropoulos-C&W joint venture partnership.Simbouras, who has 15 years’ experience in Greek commercial real estate markets, will run the industrial investment, agency and management sides of the business, as well as working on behalf of C&W corporate clients. Török, who rejoined C&W in 2002 for the Greece assignment, will be responsible for retail investment and agency work as well as retail asset management. Prior to that, he was head of Leasing at TrizecHahn’s joint venture in Hungary and Bratislava and, prior to that, he was part of Cushman & Wakefield’s Budapest retail team.Neither Simbouras nor Török could be reached for comment Thursday, but retail will apparently be a focus of the new office. “The Greek retail sector offers particularly interesting opportunities,” says Török in a prepared statement. “Greece is one of the most ‘under-shopped’ countries when it comes to shopping centers in Europe.”Török adds that the retail investment market is beginning to improve as the market attracts the attention of international investors: “Until now, a lack of quality developments has held back the investment market. Recent acquisitions have involved small players and small lot sizes,” he says. “This is set to change over the next few years as several new shopping centers, providing sound investment opportunities in terms of their lease and financial structures, and their management set-up, come onto the market. The Greek real estate market is one of the euro zone’s least mature. It offers tremendous opportunities for ourselves and our clients….”Simbouras and Török bring with them the leasing assignments for two significant shopping center developments in Greece. One is the Maroussi Shopping Center, being developed by Lamda Real Estate Development in the Maroussi district of Athens, the site of the Olympic Village. C&W is also acting as marketing consultant on the Maroussi development, which is scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2005. The other is Mediterranean Cosmos in Thessaloniki, a development by Lamda and Portuguese shopping centers specialist Sonae Imobiliária. That project is due to be completed in the first quarter of 2005.Additionally, C&W is advising on the management set-up on behalf of Pireaus Real Estate’s Picar Shopping and Leisure Center in Athens, set to open in the first quarter of 2005. As well, Cushman & Wakefield manages and acts as leasing agent for the Village Entertainment Park, owned by fund manager Pradera, which opened in Athens in 1999 as Greece’s first shopping center.

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