SOFIA, BULGARIA-Los Angeles-based Tishman International Cos. is developing a 1.1 million-sf business center adjacent the new airport here in a joint venture with contractor Lindner AG of Arnstorf, Germany. To be built out over the next two years, the project includes corporate offices, a logistics center and other business facilities.

The new airport is expected to accommodate up to 2.6 million passengers per year eventually and 1.9 milion initially. In addition, Tishman officials say they chose the project because of its fast-growing economy and forthcoming EU membership, which is expected in 2007. The old airport buildings are expected to be used for charter flights from Europe. The project has been fully supported by the local authority and the municipality, according to Tishman officials.

This is the second US investment in the state capital making headlines in recent weeks. Earlier this month, a consortium led by GE Commercial Finance Real Estate said it bought a 50% stake in an Israeli joint venture developing the Mall of Sofia, a 360,000-sf mixed-use project. The GE consortium includes Golub & Co., GE’s long-time partner in Central Europe.

The project, which is under construction, will include a two-level shopping center, a 12-screen cinema, a supermarket and a five-story office building. Construction on the retail element began in July 2004, with completion scheduled for March 2006. The project is 78% preleased. Completion of the office component is scheduled for May 2006. No preleasing has been announced.

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