Archive for the 'Bulgarian property market' Category

Bansko grows in all-year-round appeal


Bulgaria‘s biggest mountain resorts have begun to make more investments in providing attractions for tourists in the summer.

The resort town of Bansko, for instance, that sits 150km south of Bulgaria‘s capital, Sofia, has seen lately a boom in offers for sports activities, including playing golf, biking and hiking tours, while cultural events have gone on apace.

Another favorite are the packages for spa holidays and “healthy holidays”, which include diet menus and light activities.

The formerly off-the-beaten-path destination had gone mainstream. Locals in Bansko are banking on a healthy mix of adventure and structure, lots of places to spend the time when you are active and alert, being chic, but without the ridiculous attempts to be consmopolitan that you often find at Bulgarian resorts.


EUR 120 M ‘Sofia Ring Mall’ to Be Completed July 2013

Bulgaria: EUR 120 M 'Sofia Ring Mall' to Be Completed July 2013

The future Sofia Ring Mall – which is to become Bulgaria’s largest retail and entertainment destination together with the closely located store of IKEA Bulgaria – is to be completed by July 2013.

The EUR 120 M shopping center will provide to its customers views towards the city and Vitosha Mountain and a lot of green areas.

This has been announced at a news conference in the Bulgarian capital Tuesday featuring represenatives of the two Greek investors Fourlis Group and Danaos Group as well as the project consultants Colliers International.

They have pointed out that the expansion of Sofia ring road, which is scheduled for the fall of 2012, will provide safe and easy access for the some 1.5 million residents of Sofia.

Sofia Ring Mall is scheduled to be completed by July 2013 and its opening is planned for the fall 2013.

It will feature a tenant mix of over 200 stores, including fashion and sport stores, entertainment facilities, a 10-screen cinema multiplex. More than 25 000 sq meters of gross leasable area are slated to anchor tenants and more than 20 000 sq meters to fashion brands. In total Sofia Ring Mall will have 69 000 square meters of gross leasable area, and 172 000 square meters of gross building area on 3 retail floors.

One of the biggest advantages of Sofia Ring Mall is that it’s a unique cluster of “big box” operators working in synergy with a classical “shopping mall” mix, making it and all-in-one offer catering all needs of visitors, the investors say.

The total investment of the project, including the land and the infrastructure which involves green spaces and assisting roads on the side, is exceeding 120 million EUR.

Some of the tenants that have already made contracts for retail space at the Sofia Ring Mall include Piccadilly; Yavor Furniture; Mr.Bricolage; Cine’Grand; Technomarket; Public.

During the presentation of the project Liberis Moschovitis, General Manager of Sofia Ring Mall, highlighted the regional character of the development and the new experience that will be offered to the visitors.

He noted that “the new retail destination in Sofia has been created to provide the important tenants mix, especially with the combination with IKEA making it a new retail destination in the country.”

“One of the strategic advantages of Sofia Ring Mall is its strategic location, convenient and easy access. Moreover, the successful concept “all under one roof” makes the classic shopping in the city very special experience among the big open spaces, a lot of green area and entertainment places”, said Iglika Yordanova, manager “Commercial area” in Colliers International.

Sofia South Ring Mall EAD, a joint stock company owned by two major investorsFourlis Group & Danaos Group, is a company, active in the investment, lease and management of the commercial center Sofia Ring Mall.

UK journalists touring Bulgaria as guests of tourism ministry



Twelve journalists from leading UK media were to arrive in Bulgaria on January 16 2012 at the invitation of the Economy, Energy and Tourism ministry, a media statement by the ministry said.
Their five-day tour is the third in a series intended to promote tourism to Bulgaria in the UK market, the ministry said.
The programme is funded from the Regional Development Operational Programme.
The ministry said that the journalists were from “some of the most influential” publications in the UK covering tourism and recreation.
The first two tours were focused on cultural and historical tourism, wellness and spa, golf and wine tourism, the ministry said. During those visits, journalists visited Thracian sites, spa resorts, were shown Bulgaria’s scenic beauty and tasted traditional Bulgarian dishes and wines.
The tour starting on January 16 is intended to show off Bulgaria as an all-year-round tourism destination, according to the ministry.
The journalists’ first scheduled stop was Borovets, where they would be able to take part in night skiing, and the journey is to continue to Rila Monastery and other historical and cultural landmarks on the road to Bansko, with the tour ending in the southern spa resort town of Sandanski.
The ministry said that the UK is a key market for Bulgaria’s tourist industry. About 300 000 people from the UK visited Bulgaria as tourists in 2010.
The current campaign, which also includes news conferences, workshops, print, television and outdoor advertising, is intended to increase the number of British tourists visiting Bulgaria to 500 000 by 2020.

Whats your view? Will an expansion to the skiing area in Bansko be a positive development for the region?

The Bansko Municipality has advanced its plans to substantially increase the regions skiing area, following a change to the Bulgarian Forest Act in March. The change to legislation will enable the Municipality to issue construction permits for the development of ski lifts and ski runs in the Pirin National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.This has caused controversy amongst environmental groups as an expansion to the skiing area will result in a 12% reduction to the size of the Pirin National Park and will probably have an adverse effect on the wildlife in the area. Environmental groups have stages protests in Sofia and UNESCO is threatening to declare the Pirin National Park a “World Heritage Site in Danger” unless the Government can guarantee against construction taking place.

Despite the opposition, it seems unlikely that the decision will be overturned, as the expansion has the support of the Prime Minister and the head of the country’s forest agency, on the grounds that it will boost tourism and accelerate the economic development of the region. Residents of Bansko also appear to be in support of the scheme, as a survey found that 80% would vote in favour of the expansion, should a referendum be held.

What are your views on this?

Super Bansko

Skiing fans in Bulgaria were treated to an outstanding event of skiing on the last weekend of February, which only a fortnight ago was looking in danger of being ruined by the early arrival of spring and temperatures rising to double digits nationwide. But it all proved a false alarm and, as fortunes and the weather smiled seductively over Bansko, winter staged a comeback and the FIS World Cup leg proved a blast.

It was was the equivalent of a football super Sunday for Bulgaria, as while the international skiing elite congregated on the slopes of Bansko and thousands of fans made the pilgrimage to the winter resort, Sofia was bracing itself for the opening of the spring leg of the football season with a derby between arch rivals Levski Sofia and CSKA Sofia. The football match turned out to be a washout, as an otherwise unexpectedly decent football match, by Bulgarian standards, was overshadowed by violence on the terraces, which later spilled outside the ground and onto the streets.

But nevermind football. This was about Bansko’s magnificent white weekend and nothing would spoil it, not even initial concerns that the weather might interfere with proceedings as heavy clouds and thick fog enveloped the slopes on the day before the first race – it was just a teaser, with the sun emerging gloriously on February 26, bathing the mountain in its warm embrace.

Tourists flocked in their thousands as coaches ferried fans from Bansko town centre as early as 7am in the morning to Bunderishka Polyana, where the main stand was built. More than 7000 fans would make it up the mountain on both days, to give it the atmosphere of a real white carnival.

Bansko saw super combined on the first day, followed by slalom on February 27, and both had a fair share of drama.

Italy’s Christof Innerhofer – the reigning super-giant world champion, who finished second in the super combined race and third in downhill at the world championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen earlier in February – pulled off a win by the slimmest of margins, posting a combined time of 2:23.87.

What was particularly epic about his performance was that Innerhofer came in a lowly 11th place in the slalom leg, a full 1.2 seconds behind Germany’s Felix Neureuther, but Innerhofer regrouped to stage a brilliant super-giant run in the afternoon.

Neureuther, a slalom specialist, fell well behind in the super-giant, but still finished second overall, only 0.01 seconds behind Innerhofer. Frenchman Thomas Mermillod Blondin finished third, 0.33 seconds behind Innerhofer. Recently-minted slalom world champion, Jean-Baptiste Grange of France, who was expected to make a run at the podium, fell early into his slalom run and did not finish.

American Ted Ligety, the reigning giant slalom champion, finished fourth and World Cup leader Ivica Kostelic of Croatia, cheered on by his many fans present in Bansko, was fifth. Kostelic had secured the super combined lesser World Cup trophy well before the race in Bansko, the fourth and final in this discipline this season.

Mario Matt of Austria won the slalom on the second day, his first race win in nearly two years. The Austrian (31) was fastest in the morning’s first run and went on to be equally impressive in the second run to post a combined time of 1:50.35 and win his 13th World Cup race. His compatriot Reinfried Herbst clocked the second-best time, a mere 0.04 seconds behind.

Showing no ill after-effects from his mishap a day earlier, Jean-Baptiste Grange rounded out the podium, 0.48 seconds adrift, but he also managed to shorten the gap to Ivica Kostelic to 36 points in the slalom standings.

Kostelic tops the standings with 478 points, followed by Grange with 442, while Sweden’s Andre Myhrer is a distant 333 points with two races still to go.

In the overall standings following the Bansko races, Kostelic has a virtually-unassailable lead with 1294 points, while his closest pursuers, Didier Cuche of Switzerland and Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, have 725 points and 713 points, respectively. Both skiers specialise in the longer disciplines and skipped the slalom-centred event in Bansko altogether.

Bulgaria was also featured in both days of the spectacle, even if none of the resident skiers put in a big title challenge, as the local fans would have liked. Nevertheless, Georgi Georgiev scored big by finishing 21st in the slalom race, which won him 10 World Cup points, while Nikola Chongarov barely missed out by finishing 33rd.

Top skiing weekend and smiles all around for Matt and Innerhofer, who, apart from leaving Bulgaria with good memories, will have to get used to the idea of being neighbours after being given keys to brand-new flats in the Pirin Golf Complex near Razlog. Hopefully, that should mean we would be seeing more of them on the slopes of Bansko.

Welcome to RilaDev’s Blog!

In 2006, RilaDev a English Bulgarian homebuilder embarked on one of the most ambitious hotel and residential project in Bansko, Bulgaria, Pirinea Hotel Spa and Residence.

This blog offers current news and information on the Bulgarian real estate market and economy, local and touristic events and tracks the exciting progress of this emerging market.

This blog will also offer subscribers periodical updates on the Pirinea project, its construction progress and other related information.

For further information please contact

Russell Collins

+44 207 313 8073

Author: Russell Collins - RilaDev

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