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Futureal inks EUR 150 mln loan agreement for Etele Plaza

A loan contract of EUR 150 million has been concluded between real estate developer and investor Futureal Group and a consortium led by UniCredit acting as bookrunner and facility agent, with UniCredit and Erste Group set to finance the Etele Plaza mall in equal parts, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

Once completed, the 137,000 square-meter Etele Plaza will become one of Hungaryʼs largest shopping centers, accommodating most of the large fashion brands in one place, according to the press release.

The construction of Budapestʼs first "smart plaza" is already ongoing. The mall will be built in the immediate vicinity of Etele tér, close to the Kelenföld railway and metro stations, placing it at an important transport hub.

"The cooperation with UniCredit and Erste Group is unprecedented in this area in the past ten years in Hungary," said Pál Darida, Futurealʼs treasury and financing director. "With Etele Plaza, we create a shopping and entertainment center of unparalleled, visionary design, which – as a long-needed commercial development – will also give an impetus to the development of the neighborhood."

The financial package, one of the largest deals in the past decade, features each banking group providing equal parts of the total loan amount, making around EUR 150 mln available for 10 years for the development and long-term operation of the Etele Plaza project.

"Our goal is to satisfy our clientsʼ financing needs with competitive project and syndicated loans tailored to their individual needs, thereby contributing to the implementation of their major projects," said Gábor Vörös, head of financing at UniCredit Bank. "We kept this in mind also in the case of Etele Plaza, one of the most significant projects of the Central and Eastern European property market."

"Erste Group and Futureal Group are in close business partnership for more than a decade," added Zoltán Balázs, head of real estate and structured finance at Erste Bank Hungary. "In the course of our cooperation, our bank has participated in the financing of several successful office development projects, underlining our strong commitment to financial partnership and value creation. We are happy that this successful relationship has come to a new milestone with the financing of Futureal Group’s new flagship project, the Etele Plaza Shopping Mall."

The Budapest ONE Business Park in Őrmező, Futureal Groupʼs office development project, is also being built in the immediate vicinity of Etele Plaza in District 11 of the capital. The office buildingʼs first phase, with a total area of more than 65,000 sqm, will provide offices of almost 25,000 sqm, and commercial and service units on 2,600 sqm, as well as green areas and an underground garage for 480 cars for the several thousand employees working in the center.

Etele Plazaʼs primary catchment area is expected to be one of Budapestʼs most densely populated areas, with some 235,000 people living in the area. The center is expected to attract around 40,000 shoppers from the capital daily, with the districtʼs residents representing 125% of the national average purchasing power.

The plaza will host 180 shops, according to the press release. Etele Plaza will also feature a supermarket, restaurants, cafés, a multiplex cinema, gym, children’s play center, and many other services, with nearly 1,300 parking lots.

Parking in the building will be facilitated by a system indicating empty spaces, with a mobile application helping customers find chosen stores and services. The mallʼs inner space will feature an interactive LED display media interface of nearly 200 sqm.