[IMGCAP(1)]WROCLAW, POLAND-Continuing its robust performance in 2007, the Polish commercial real estate market is showing signs of strength in 2008. Three sizeable properties changed hands this week, with W.P. Carey & Co. acquiring a retail facility in Wroclaw for $14 million, Credit Suisse Asset Management purchasing a Krakow office complex, and the Grand Hotel Lodz trading for $29.5 million.

[IMGCAP(2)]The Wroclaw retail deal is the third sale-leaseback the W.P. Carey Group has arranged with the OBI Group over the last two years, providing more than $200 million in financing to the German Do-It-Yourself retailer. “The sale-leaseback and build-to-suit transactions we’ve completed with W.P. Carey have played a significant role in supporting our growth initiatives over the past two years,” says Sergio Giroldi, CEO of OBI, in a prepared statement. “Despite the vagaries of the capital markets, the sale-leaseback transactions have been a steady source of capital, allowing us to focus on our core business and evaluate our development strategy within the context of quantifiable financial parameters.”

W.P. Carey has been an increasingly active sale-leaseback financier in Europe. In 2007, the company completed more than $650 million in transactions in Germany, Finland, France and Poland. “By reinforcing the consistency and efficiency of the sale-leaseback model at various points in the economic and credit market cycles, these types of follow-on transactions hopefully encourage other companies to look at the sale-leaseback as a constant, available and attractive financing alternative,” notes Edward LaPuma, president of W.P. Carey International.

In Krakow, Credit Suisse Asset Management purchased the Rondo Business Park from the Buma Group for an undisclosed amount. The 188,000-sf class A development consists of three buildings: a 14-story tower, a three-story wing, and a five-story building linked with the tower. Colliers International represented the Buma Group, and Knight Frank represented Credit Suisse.

Rondo Business Park is the second major office development in Krakow to be successfully developed and sold by the Buma Group. It follows closely the completion and sale of the Buma Square Business Park office complex just over one year ago.

Colliers also brokered the sale of the Grand Hotel Lodz, a landmark, neo-Renaissance-style hotel, in Lodz, for $29.5 million. The hotel is the most recognizable hotel in Lodz, located in the heart of tourist and business part of the city, on its main avenue.

The hotel features 161 rooms, three restaurants, a café, an amusement arcade and conference rooms. The hotel was constructed in 1888, and built in a neo-Renaissance style. The buyer of the hotel, a private investor owning boutique-style hotels in Poland, has not been disclosed.

Colliers International Poland was acting on behalf of the seller, Orbis Group. “The Grand Hotel is one of the great landmark hotels in Poland,” says Alex Kloszewski, director of Colliers International Poland’s Hotel Department. “We are very proud to have secured its future.”

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