BR Exclusive: Doron Klein, AFI Europe CEO: We have the pipeline full for five years

Newsroom 12/10/2018 | 07:41

Doron Klein became the CEO of AFI Europe Romania in June, and came from the Czech Republic subsidiary, the first expansion outside Israel of AFI Europe, a market already mature now. He has the basket full in Romania, with a pipeline of projects for at least 5 years.

The discutions starts with the most important asset of AFI Europe in the whole portofolio, the mall AFI Cotroceni, valued at the half year at EUR 545.5 million.

”If we could sell, we will sell. But we still have things to do in AFI cotroceni, the new owner of the company is interested in keeping the properties, he doesn’t want to sell immediatly. Plus, we have acquired the 47,000 sqm land behind the mall, and we are checking and evaluating what we can do with it. The land has  more than 150,000 sqm building rights to be developed. The masterplan allows us to build everything, residential, offices and even retail, ”Doron Klein said to BR.

Offices for sure…

„Yes, offices are the obvious choise, we intend to extend the AFI Park beyond 5, maybe we will get to 10… For sure one of the main parts will be used for offices. We have a huge demand for our client and new ones for offices in this area and we are proud that we have contributed to create this office poll in the city. We’ll probably built residential, is a great area for homes, maybe even retail. We have now a kind of a competition between few architectural companies to create the masterplan of the area” ,continues Klein.

The other projects of the company

AFI City is, for now, the only residential project of AFI Europe and it is in its early stages.

AfI City residential project

”We are starting from the back, and we are coming to the front, to the boulevard. We shall have 190 flats in the first phase. The construction goes well, ”said Klein.

Instead, the CEO of AFI Europe is not that happy with the development of AFI Brasov. The construction moves slow because of the lack of workforce, but he is happy about the lease operations.

AFI Brasov project

”The construction of the mall in Brasov goes slow, it is very difficult to find workers now, and we are hoping that we are going to within the next year, a year and a half. Roughly 80 percent of the mall is leased, and we are negotiating for another 10 percent, plus half of the office building developed close by, ”says Doron Klein.

Another project of AFI Europe, is AFI Tech Park of 56,000 sqm developed in three phases, close to the JW Marriott Hotel and Parliament Palace in Bucharest, reached a 40 percent occupancy rate, among the newest tenants of the project being Knauf construction materials manufacturer and distributor of Hilti construction equipment and systems.

Interesting will be the fate of the 80,000 sqm land plot in Arad, where AFI Europe intended to develop a mall ten years ago. Now, according to Doron Klein, the company is calculating the chances to develop the land, or sell it, because the demand for it exists.

The missed transaction for AFI Park

AFI Park and Dedeman announced on June 1 that they had agreed for the taking over of AFI Park 1, 2 and 3 by Dedeman for EUR 86.5 million, and the DIY company that would also have the option to acquire AFI Park 4 & 5, which if it would have happened the value of the business would have risen to EUR 164 million.

On July 25, Dedeman gave up AFI Park 4 & 5, and AFI Europe announced on August 6 that the deal has dropped.

”The dismantle of the transaction it was a mutual interest. The strategy right now is not to sell. The offices are going to be kept for longer time and the number will grow to six, seven, eight on the land we have acquired in near AFI Cotroceni, ”concluded Klein.

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