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Allan Saunderson is managing editor of Property Finance Europe and a contributor to GlobeSt.com.

SOFIA, BULGARIA-German retail mall developer ECE has refinanced a significant share of its 25% equity investment in the Arkády Pankrác mall in the Czech capital of Prague on a long-term basis with €20 million in debt capital from Berlin Hyp.

CEO Alexander Otto said the refinancing shows, “banks are fully confident in our projects even during the financial crisis.” It has already concluded financing of new construction projects in Oldenburg and Dortmund in Germany, and the refinancing of Arkády Pankrác affirms the positive signals from eastern European countries.

Meanwhile ECE, in partnership with Austria’s Sparkassen Immobilien, is pressing ahead with its €210 million Serdika Center in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia. One of the biggest shopping and office centers in SEE with over 51,000 square meters of retail space on three levels and some 35,000 square meters of office space, it will house some 220 shops. Over 90% of the rental area is already leased and the office space will be built on top of the shopping center. “Despite the current economic situation, the construction works are in line with our schedule, which shows the investors’ strength,” said ECE Bulgaria MD Plamen Iltchev.

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