Friday, November 23, 2007

Whelan eyes Romania with €1 bln plans for offices and shops

Irish Michael Whelan, one of the country’s biggest property developers, is planning to significantly boost his commercial investment in Romania to more than €1 billion – reports independent.ie.

Whelan’s Moritz firm has signaled that its Romania investment vehicle Mivan, is to spend €300 million to develop a major new business complex in the country’s capital, Bucharest, and also intends to build a €100 million logistics park in the city. The massive new investment comes on top of a €700 million blueprint announced earlier this year by Whelan to build 10 shopping malls in Romania. So far Mivan and Moritz have spent €150 million on land for the retail project, and could spend a further €700 million to develop the sites. It is understood that 70% of the land required to construct the shopping malls has been accumulated to date.

Whelan, whose Moritz firm owns Maplewood Developments in Ireland, has also been buying additional land in Bucharest and elsewhere in Romania, and intends building 2,000 apartments in the country over the next five years. Moritz has total assets well in excess of €500 million. Whelan is one of a number of Irish businessmen who have been ploughing money into eastern Europe in order to counter the adverse impact of a slowing Irish property market and capitalize on expanding European Union membership.

In Ireland, Whelan’s Maplewood Developments is responsible for the largest residential development in the country, at Adamstown in Lucan. The Longford-developer, who has a personal worth of over €130 million, has a number of property investments in the UK, while last year he also provided €20 million in funding to Louth-based broadband and telecoms provider Digiweb. (independent.ie)

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