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Real Estate Corner

Gabčíkovo, other building projects grab $200 million loan
Towns want cash, not bonds
Office rents vary widely
Surveying: Nové Mesto

Gabčíkovo, other building projects grab $200 million loan

Vodohospodárska výstavba, a Bratislava-based construction company, has procured a 5-year $200 million syndicated loan from a consortium of Western banks led by J.P. Morgan. The loan will bear the London Interbank Market interest rate plus 1 percent in the first two years and that rate plus 1.25 percent in the remaining years. The funds will be used to finance construction works such as the Gabčíkovo hydro power station.

It is the first syndicated loan guaranteed by the state. Its interest is substantially lower than that recently provided to VSŽ Košice, but its terms are not as soft those provided to Czech or Slovenian companies, where the country's credit rating is higher.

Towns want cash, not bonds

Slovakia's apartments and roads will crumble if the government's plan to have citizens pay for municipally-owned apartments with their National Property Fund (FNM) bonds goes into effect, according to a statement issued by the Association of Towns and Villages (ZMOS). The ZMOS statement said that if municipalities are forced to accept FNM bonds as payment, then they will not be able to invest in housing and infrastructure modernization. While municipalities annually require 21 billion Sk, the 1996 budget allocates half a billion crowns less.

Office rents vary widely

Companies doing business in the center of Slovakia's capital city pay up the nose to rent space, according to the Slovak business weekly Trend. The annual price per square meter per year in Bratislava is between 9,900 and 11,000 Sk. In contrast, comparable space in Košice costs about 7,200 Sk and in Banská Bystrica it runs between 3,300 and 3,900 Sk.

Surveying: Nové Mesto

Nové Mesto, or "New Town," has the odd distinction of being a haven for both the athletic and the aged. World-class athletes compete at the Slovan and Inter soccer stadiums, the ice hockey and basketball arenas and Bratislava's largest indoor swimming pool. During the summer months, flocks of retirees, which make up one-third of the district's population, congregate at Kuchajda lake, which district officials boast has cleaner water than the larger lake at Zlaté Piesky.

Despite Nové Mesto's reputation rendezvous for the older generation with 11 retiree clubs, more people work in the district than live there. Major employers include chocolate producer Jacobs Suchard Figaro, the hospital complex at Kramáre, Istrochem, Kozmetika, and Palma Tumys.

Some of Bratislava's most luxurious homes dot the hills under Koliba, but there are also plenty of more modest homes and the ubiquitous "pánelaky." The district is able to provide space for new residential or retail development with sale prices starting at 1,500 Sk per square meter, according to Judita Ďurovská, a spokeswoman for the district office.

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