South African investment fund NEPI Rockcastle, the biggest mall owner in Romania, said that the Romanian state does not need to give the land around the Romexpo exposition center for free to a private entity.
The fund suggests a public auction instead. NEPI is willing to pay for the 46 hectares of land around Romexpo, or for the right to develop the land.
The statement came on September 3, a day after the Chamber of Deputies passed a controversial bill allowing the transfer of the land around Romexpo, for free, to Romania's Chamber of Commerce (CCIR) - actually to a company 90% controlled by CCIR (Romexpo). The bill, drafted by the party of former president and Bucharest mayor Traian Basescu - PMP, was backed by the Social Democrats (PSD) and Liberals (PNL).
NEPI said that it is ready to attend a public auction for the selection of the investor that would develop the real estate project on this plot of land.
CCIR, which is an NGO, announced at the end of last year plans to develop a EUR 2.9 bln real estate project on this land in partnership with local developer Iulius, a company controlled by Romanian businessman Iulian Dascalu. It explained that it would derive incomes from the real estate project developed with Iulius and promised to use it to the benefit of all Romanian companies.
Iulian Dascalu is the biggest Romanian real estate developer. He has developed the Palas Iasi and Iulius Town Timisoara mixed-use projects, and standalone malls in Iasi, Cluj-Napoca, and Suceava.
NEPI Rockcastle has been investing in Romania for more than 13 years and has a portfolio of over 20 complex real estate projects throughout the country, estimated at EUR 2 billion.
(Photo source: Mihai Olaru/Dreamstime.com)