ACROSS Magazine: Futureal, UniCredit and Erste Group have concluded the largest loan agreement of the past decade for the development of a shopping centre in Hungary

Futureal Group concluded a loan contract of EUR 150 million with a consortium led by UniCredit acting as Bookrunner and Facility Agent. UniCredit and Erste Group will finance Buda’s biggest shopping centre with equal parts, marking one of the largest shopping centre-related financings in Hungary over the past ten years.

Etele Plaza, with a gross area of 137,000 sq m, will accommodate most of the large fashion brands in one place in Hungary. The construction of the first smart plaza in the capital is already in progress with full capacity.

In the financing package, unique also by European standards each banking group provides equal parts of the total loan amount with around EUR 150 million available for 10 years for the development and long term operation of Futureal Group’s Etele Plaza project. The newest commercial project of the group will be a shopping and entertainment centre with the third largest rentable area of the Hungarian capital, and the largest plaza of the Buda side. The centre, combining digital services and architectural solutions unique in Hungary, will be built in the immediate vicinity of Etele square, the largest multimodal transport hub of Hungary, connecting several modes of transport.

With a rentable area of 55,000 sq m, built in the meeting point of the Kelenföld railway station, underground line 4 and the approach section of M1-M7 motorways, Etele Plaza can be accessed – by direct lines – in just 10 minutes from downtown. The hub is used already now by 165,000 people daily. Futureal Group’s iconic office development project, the Budapest ONE office park in Őrmező is being built in the immediate vicinity of the shopping centre. The first phase of the office building, with a total area of more than 65,000 sq m, will provide offices of almost 25,000 sq m, as well as commercial and service units on 2,600 sq m, spacious green areas and an underground garage for 480 cars for the several thousands of employees working in the centre.

According to the expectations, the primary catchment area of Etele Plaza – attracting almost 40,000 shoppers from the capital daily – will be one the most densely populated areas of Budapest, where some 235,000 people live. The residents of the district represent 125 percent of the national average purchasing power under a relatively low degree of retail supply.

Etele Plaza will feature 180 shops, where the largest fashion brands will be represented in a larger quantity and store area than anywhere else in Hungary. In addition to the fashion shops, the centre will also feature a supermarket, restaurants, cafés, a multiplex cinema, a gym, a children’s play centre and a range of other services with nearly 1,300 parking lots. The most advanced location and navigation system will facilitate parking in the building by indicating empty spaces, it will also help customers to find the chosen stores or services through a mobile application.

In the inner space an interactive LED display media interface of almost 200 sq m will add to the uniqueness of the centre, representing the latest generation of shopping centre design. The elegant entrance hall of Etele Plaza, the fashion brand corridors, the attractive internal event space and the terrace directly connected to the restaurant level, will all contribute to the unique atmosphere.
‘The cooperation with UniCredit and Erste Group is unprecedented in this area in the past ten years in Hungary. With Etele Plaza, we create a shopping and entertainment centre of unparalleled, visionary design, which – as a long-needed commercial development – will also give an impetus to the development of the neighbourhood,’ Pál Darida, Treasury and Financing Director said.

‘Our goal is to satisfy our clients’ financing needs with competitive project and syndicated loans tailored to their individual needs, thereby contributing to the implementation of their major projects. 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, envisaged by Futureal Group,’ added Gábor Vörös, Head of Financing at UniCredit Bank.

‘Erste Group and Futureal Group are in close business partnership for more than a decade. 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,’ said Zoltán Balázs, head of Real Estate and Structured Finance at Erste Bank Hungary.