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BUDAPEST-Hungarian central Europe developer Futureal said its commercial projects are progressing successfully despite a fluctuating market environment, with plans for a €250 million commercial and entertainment project in Budapest, Hungary and its Romanian Gold Plaza shopping mall now 70% leased.

In Hungary, Futureal plans a €250 million commercial and entertainment project, Etele City Centre, in South Buda. The centre, with 40,000 square meters of leasable space at the terminal of the new M4 metro line is currently being designed and can probably be completed by 2013. Futureal Group is working closely with local government on the project. Meanwhile, it has completed the first stage of its €500 million Corvin Promenade PPP urban revitalization mixed offices, retail and residential project in Budapest with Cordia Co. at end-November and will start lease negotiations next spring.

In Romania, Futureal signed a 10-year lease agreement with an option to extend up to 30 years with hypermarket chain in its €97 million Gold Plaza shopping center in Baia Mare, Maremures, Romania set for completion next year, bringing leased space up to 70%. Since the 2007-2008 boom, Romania has been hit by a slowdown, with many brands postponing opening of new units this year and only 20% of projects skated for completion this year realized in the country. “In light of this, we consider the signing of this lease agreement an outstanding accomplishment,” said Futureal CEO Tibor Tatár at a press briefing.

Retail results of the Christmas shopping period will influence retailers’ plans for 2010, and major international chains are expected to resume expansion. “In central Europe, Poland’s standing is the best in terms of the future of retail trade, while that of Hungary’s and Romania’s is, unfortunately, the worst,” Tatár added. Nonetheless, he noted a perceptible improvement in investor interest, though financing remains restricted and delays can be expected. The fall in lease fees will soon bottom out, while new investment volume will remain low, allowing an improvement in the supply/demand balance in 2010, he predicted. Futureal Development is part of Hungary’s property development, investment and fund management company Futureal Group.

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