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TIRANA, ALBANIA-Gambling on projected growth, Colliers International has opened a retail office here. Company officials say the country had a 141% growth in total shopping center space in 2007, and that this increase will continue for the next few years, particularly with the opening of the 437,003-sf City Park retail center here.

One property already open is the Qendra Tregtare Univers mall, a 142,000-sf center along the Durres highway with a bar, restaurants, a Euromax supermarket and 30 other shops including Mango, Hilfiger, and Vodafone. Colliers is the leasing agent for the City Park project. “It’s about 60% constructed, and we are now in the process of searching and negotiating with potential anchor tenants for the supermarket space and electronics center space,” says Stela Dhami, general manager of Colliers Albania.

Dhami would not disclose the cost of the City Park project. Dhami tells GlobeSt.com that the property sits on 25 acres “where in addition to the shopping center, there will also be an outdoor children’s entertainment area, a hotel and an auto showroom with six to 10 different car brands.”

There has been a lack of quality retail space in Tirana, Dhami says, leading to the current explosion of growth. Until recently, there was the only one shopping center for a city of about one million people, Dhami says. “There will be strong demand for quality retail space at least for the next two-three years. Many of the international brands that would like to enter the market don’t even have the space where they can enter in,” Dhami says.

Albania can sustain more retail and office projects than other countries in southeastern Europe, Dhami tells GlobeSt.com. “There’s a good pipeline of these projects coming up. We can see the same type of development in Montenegro, but the rest of the countries in the region are at a more developed stage in the market – we will be there in five years,” Dhami says.

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