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245. Price Decrease of Mobile Phone Services

News BG: 2008-09-10

From summer 2009 onward the price of a one minute phone call between a BTK subscriber and a mobile phone operator and vice versa will decrease to 25 stotinki per minute. Night phone calls will even be cheaper.

This is according to the schedule of the price decrease between fixed and mobile phones prepared by the Commission for message regulations (KPC) and the operators, bTV announces.

"For the period of one and a half years we reduced prices by 35% in the high-traffic zone and 48% in the off-topic zone", the Chair of KPC Veselin Bojkov said.

Before the state pushed telecoms for these price rebates, the European Commission criticized Bulgaria many times that the prices and the profits of this kind of service are among the most expensive in the EU.

In the fall the regulator will have new market analysis for the expenses and profits of telecoms. If prices continue to be inadequately high, the Commission will order a new price decrease.

"Then we will have the right to levy even lower prices, lower than these we have already established with the operators. So this will be a major element in our relationship with the operators", Bojkov announced.

244. Russian interest in Bulgarian property market grows

Wise Property: 2008-09-09

There are times when the "Russian invasion" could be a pleasant surprise. When speaking of investments and buying property in Bulgaria, that is.

Russian buyers seem to be the new hope of property developers after the tide of British and Irish clients has begun significantly to subside since last year.

According to a survey by Green Life Property Development, as cited by Stroitelstvo Gradut weekly, a steadily increasing number of Russian, Scandinavian and Romanian buyers has come as a satisfying substitute, with Russian-speaking clients making up to 90 per cent of all buyers.

The investment company noted that there are two groups of emerging on the Bulgarias property market. One is of wealthy Russians coming from Moscow and Saint Petersburg, who seek to purchase spacious flats with the intention to use them as holiday homes and not let them for profit. The other group of buyers, not as solvent, prefers to buy smaller homes as an investment.

Green Lifes survey indicated that the latter group comes to replace British clients who often bought several flats off plan and later tried to re-sell them to their fellow countrymen for a profit.

However, most Brits who have bought property two years ago are pretty happy with their investment return that accounts for 40 per cent of the initial price. On the other side, people who have bought real estate last year are left rather disappointed.

Pressed by mortgage payments for a first home, in addition to unsatisfactory three to five per cent as opposed to the expected 10 per cent returns for the last holiday season, most buyers are looking for ways to rid themselves of the property, according to Green Life.

The withdrawal of potential British and Irish clients puts many developers seeking quick profits in unfavorable position, but the tendency will help the property market to regulate itself. Only the most reliable investors with a clear business strategy will be able to stay afloat in the midst of advancing property market crisis, Stroitelstvo Gradut has quoted Green Lifes CEO Nikolai Pehlivanov as saying.

243. Lighthouse Golf Resort to open May 2009

Wise Property: 2008-09-08

Lighthouse Golf Resort will officially open in May 2009Lighthouse Golf Resort, the 70 million euro complex being built near Balchik on Bulgaria's northeastern Black Sea coast, will officially open in May 2009. Some 50 million euro of the funds earmarked for the project have already been invested, executive director Georgi Chouklev said at the ceremony inaugurating the golf course.

Ian Woosnam, the Welsh golf pro who designed the course, is expected to attend the official opening of the complex.

The complex, whose full name is Lighthouse Golf Resort & Spa, will have 1000 housing units, of which some 600 are still under construction and 350 have already been sold to buyers of various nationalities.

The five-star 180-room hotel part will feature retail space, bars and restaurants, a spa and wellness centre, a tennis court and swimming pools. The holiday homes will be grouped in five clusters, two of which Marina and Lighthouse will rise above the cliffs on the shore, while Green, Lake and Forest are all surrounded by the golf course.

Lighthouse Golf Resort is close to two other golf courses Black Sea Rama and Thracian Rocks, giving golfers the chance to switch courses.

242. Russians Once Again on the Bulgarian Real Estate Market

New BG: 2008-09-00

90% of the buyers of vacation properties in Bulgaria are Russians. This was announced today in Sozopol by Nikolay Pehlivanov, the executive director of the investment company Green Life.

Clients of Bulgarian property no longer come from Moscow and Saint Petersburg, but from other regions in Russia as well. They prefer big vacation properties near the beach with a well developed infrastructure.

The weak tourist season influenced the Bulgarian vacation real estate market in Bulgaria negatively. The levels of return this year are between 3 and 5% when the expected was 10% and the realized is 7% in the previous year, representatives of Green Life claim.

The English-speaking clients retreated from the market because of their inability to pay their credits and the financial crisis in Great Britain. Green Life predicts a retreat of profiteers from the market.

Experts claim that the prevailing vacation home search is for big properties and more scalable land terrains. The prices of big complexes will continue to increase, the company predicts.

241. India and Nepal En Face in Bourgas

News BG: 2008-09-06

The library in the Bulgarian town of Bourgas presents the unique exhibition of Shantipria India and Nepal en face.

The exposition includes photographs from that part of the East that has always been perceived not only as a geographic place but mostly as a center of spirituality, wisdom and the way towards self-cognition.

From the Thar desert in Rajasthan to the Jainism temples in Gujarat, from the crowded markets of West Bengal to the Buddhist monasteries in Sikkim, from Buddha's birthplace in the Nepalese Terai to the Tibetan kingdom of Mustang, from the valley of Kathmandu to the eternal ice of Everest.

The exhibited photographs reflect the direct contact and the specific viewpoint of the person interested in the East who has his camera with him.

The audience has the chance to (re)discover a spot in the world, in the dynamic and changing everyday of which the ingenuous beauty and the deep insight of India and Nepal remain frequently incomprehensible and hidden.

The photo exhibition will be in the Exhibition hall of the regional library P.K. Yavorov in Bourgas from 8 to 19 September.

240. Bulgaria's Black Sea airports to have new terminals in 2011

Wise Property: 2008-09-05

Bulgarian Black Sea airports of Bourgas and Varna will boast new passenger terminals in 2011Bulgarian Black Sea airports of Bourgas and Varna will boast new passenger terminals in 2011, the firm that holds the concession on the two airports, Fraport Twin Star Airport Management, has said.

The terminals will cost more than than 65 million euro to build, of which 36 million euro will be spent on the Bourgas airport, 26 million euro on the one in Varna and seven million euro will be go to design and project management.

The Bourgas airport will have a larger and more expensive terminal given the bigger tourist numbers and bed capacity of the country's southern Black Sea coast. The airport serviced 1.6 million passengers in the first eight months of the year, compared to 1.1 million who landed at the Varna airport.

Fraport will launch the procedure to pick the main contractor by end-September, with construction set to start in mid-2009.

The three-storey buildings will have similar design, with the luggage handling area underground, luggage pickup and check-ins on the first floor, while the second floor will host security and departure areas. The two terminals will not be equipped with airbridges, so passengers will be transferred by buses, Fraport technical director Karl Mai said.

The project will follow the requirements for seaside airports, which handle high number of passengers over short periods of time.

239. Construction of bicycle lane in Sofia on track

Sofia Echo: 2008-09-05

The construction of the first new-age bicycle lane started in Sofia on September 1, but the official launch date will be September 8 when all documents will be signed, Sofstroy infrastructure department manager Mitko Berberov told The Sofia Echo on September 5.

The privatised, formerly municipal company Sofstroy started constructing the bicycle lane along Evlogi Georgiev Boulevard in Sofia by removing the old tiles and replacing them with new concrete blocks. The bicycle lane will be separated only by road marking from the walking area, Berberov said, in line with cyclists requests and the initial project.

The cyclists wanted no kerb stones to separate the bicycle lane from the pedestrian path, as this could be dangerous, Delyan Spasov from Bikevolution association told The Sofia Echo on September 5. Bikevolution, Sofstroy and Sofia municipality representatives had previously met to discuss what kind of road surface should be used for the new bicycle lane. It was not possible to use asphalt, as the machines would destroy the green area surrounding the new bicycle lane, constructors said. The project stipulated that the covering would be composed of concrete blocks measuring 2x2m and 2x3.2m.

According to the project, the bicycle lane has to be completed within three months. As previously reported by The Sofia Echo, it will be more than five km long and will run along both sides of the Perlovska River to the intersection of Evlogi Georgiev Boulevard with Gourko Street. From there, it will proceed only on the western side of the canal. The bicycle lane will be 2m wide in some areas and in other areas, where its combined with a pedestrian path, the width will be 3.2m.

The new bicycle lane is part of six bicycle routes planned by Sofia municipality to connect opposite ends of the city. According to the programme for management and development of Sofia municipality 2008-2011, the lanes will have to be built by the end of 2009. However, the bicycle lane parallel to Tsar Boris III Boulevard that was planned for re-construction in 2008 will be repaired in 2009 because the repair of the boulevard itself was also postponed to July or August 2009, Sofia deputy mayor in charge of transport Velizar Stoilov said.

238. Spanish developer to invest 500M euro in residential property near Sofia

Wise property: 2008-09-04

Residential property market in Bulgaria still has a potential to grow, Hercesa International saidThe Bulgarian residential property market still has a potential to grow, Nikolina Nikolova, CEO of the Bulgarian arm of Hercesa International, said during a news conference on September 1 2008 at the Hilton Hotel. Nikolovas statement contradicted the tone set at the general discussion with real estate agency executives, that the market is near saturation.

Nikolova announced plans of the Spanish developer to invest 500 million euro in the building of a gated residential property along the road between Sofia and Pernik. The land plot is within close proximity to the Sofia boroughs of Gorna Banya, Ovcha Koupel and Zapaden Park.

The company intends to build a railway station within the estate compound, which will allow residents to commute easily to either Sofia or Pernik. As of now, there is an existing station where a train passes every half an hour, but the company wishes to shorten the interval to 15 minutes, Nikolova said. She also said that municipality building permission had already been obtained.

Nikolova said that the company had 33 years of experience on the international property market, and what differentiated it from the rest was the quality of its product.

The most important feature for us is securing an adequate infrastructure, together with a sense of security for our clients, she said.

Asked about the recent media buzz regarding the property market crisis in Spain and how Hercesa International would gain the trust of its future clients, Nikolova answered that the company was not a typical Spanish investor and developer. She added that, on the board of directors, there were representatives of five major Spanish banks, which, according to Nikolova, meant financial stability.

The project features more than 2000 apartments with a total living area of 240 000 sq m. Prices will vary between 800 and 1100 euro a sq m, Nikolova said, and added that the first building phase should be completed by the end of 2010. Completion of the entire project is expected by 2016.

A full presentation of the project will be ready for the upcoming real estate exposition BalPEx, which will be held October 10 to 12 in Sofia.

Hercesa International has investments in Romania, Portugal and the Czech Republic, among others.

237. Balkan real estate expo in Sofia to feature 300 new projects

Sofia Echo: 2008-09-03

From October 10 to 12, the forth edition of the Balkan Real Estate Conference (BalREc) will take place at the Inter Expo and Congress Center in Sofia. The property expo gives opportunity to professionals not only to present their products and services, but to create a network of new business partners and friends, organisers said in a media statement.

Spread over 4000 sq m, the property exposition will feature 300 projects presenting different segments of the construction business. More than 150 exhibitors, among which leading Bulgarian and foreign developers and investors, real estate agencies, financial and credit organisations, will present their latest projects and services to existing and potential customers.

Traditionally, the residential property segment is best presented and most popular among visitors and clients, considering that it represents more than 50 per cent of the projects on offer. Organisers said that the number of large-scale business projects such as office buildings, commercial and logistics centres was rapidly increasing.

For a first time, visitors will see the concept of residential gated property Zelenika in Sofia, Residencia Botanica in Sofia borough of Boyana, and the Prestige complex, also in Boyana, among others.

Pravets Golf and Spa Club near the city of Pravets will also have its premiere at BalREc, featuring a golf course, hotel and other property.

Preceding the expo, a conference BALREC Bulgaria will be held on October 9 at Sheraton Hotel in Sofia. Invited are real estate professionals who will discuss the current state and the potential for development in the upcoming two years of the Bulgarian property market.

Some of the participants are Immo Industry Group, Bulgarian Properties, Alfa Development Management, RE/MAX Chance Group, and more.

236. Attraction in the middle of the road

Property Wise: 2008-09-02

Soon enough, a mock-up medieval castle, somewhat mimicking the style of Las Vegas, will meet and greet travellers in the Veliko Turnovo region. Spread over a land plot of 0.4 ha within the territory of the village of Arbanassi, this road-side attraction will feature a spacious restaurant and a lodging facility, Stroitelstvo Gradut reported.

The project has been designed by local architectural office Arhmaster Veliko Turnovo and main architect Plamen Ivanov; investor is Kaloyan VT Ltd.

In the spirit of an old castle, the buildings edges are flanked by turrets. The path leading to the main gate passes over a wooden draw bridge over a moat with running water, for decorative purposes.

The envisioned restaurant Attraction will feature a multi-functional hall with 384 main room and 60 additional seats. All seats are organised amphitheatrically, encircling a stage in the middle. Natural lighting will stream down from a large skylight in buildings roof.

In addition to the restaurant, there will be a hotel facility with a total of 28 beds. For the convenience of all customers, the building will have an adjoining parking lot with 36 stalls.

The Attraction will open doors in the fall.

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