Real estate investor Ioannis Papalekas, who took over the insolvent City Mall project last year, will turn the mall into an office building, according to Romanian media. The conversion already started in December last year, and should be finalized towards the end of this year. This will be the first such shopping mall to offices conversion in Bucharest.
The Greek investor took over the insolvent mall for some EUR 17.3 million, and it is not the first time he has owned the mall. Papalekas owned the mall in 2006 and sold it to Australian investment fund APN European Retail for some EUR 103.5 million. The Greek investor also owns the office buildings Tower Center, acquired in 2012.
The future office complex, located in the Southern area of Bucharest close to Bellu cemetery, will have 20,000 sqm of offices on the first, second and third floors, and the ground floor will feature a small retail galleria, where Mega Image already opened a supermarket earlier this year. Leasing of the office space has already started, with most areas suitable for back-offices.
City Mall became insolvent last year, with some EUR 76 million in debt, to banks UniCredit Bank Austria AG, UniCredit Ţiriac Bank and Bancpost, as well as the former owners and lenders. The mall covers some 31,000 sqm of built area, out of which 19,000 sqm leasable area.