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PRAGUE-Czech mixed developer Lighthouse group has started construction of its 42,000 square meters. Prague shopping mall Galerie Harfa, the first phase of a €220 million shopping-office development on a 15,000 square meter plot by the Czech capital’s sporting and cultural venue 02 Arena. But the project will open later than initially planned.

Eurohypo said in summer last year it was providing funding of €147.5m for the center, to include 39,000 square meters of retail space and nearly 15,000 square meters of office space for completion in June 2010. This month, Prague office chief Udo Scholssere told CiJ magazine Eurohypo is committed to lending €180 million out of a total €220 million in financing costs for the project.

The financing, expected to be the bank’s last transaction in the Czech Republic for the foreseeable future, is on favourable pre-crisis conditions with only 30 to 40% pre-release figures required for both the mall and office.

Some 50% of the retail space – which may be the only mall to open in Prague in the next two or three years – is already spoken for, according to Jones Lang LaSalle senior retail consultant Sylvie Samada. She says the market is slowly getting better, though many potential tenants do not want to sign until 2011: the backup opening date of spring 2011 may be more realistic than the current target of September 2010. No tenants are yet signed for the office component, expected to take two years.

Lighthouse shareholders are Deutsche Bank’s RREEF Alternative Investments, CEE developer Globe Trade Center, Israeli property investor Scorpio Real Estate and Alliance Holdings & Developments. Lighthouse founder and CEO Tamin Winterstein has also told Czech media the developer has secured financing for all its pipeline projects in the next five years, including the second phase of mixed residential and office project Prague Marina, as well as Galerie Harfa.

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