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Bulgaria Offers 'Excellent' Investment Opportunities


The world is getting smaller, or so it seems, as developers, investors and other real estate professionals go to great lengths to find opportunities these days, California Real Estate Journal wrote in one of its articles.

In the article Tishman International Chairman Alan Levy explains how his company discovered Bulgaria and why it decided to invest in the Balkan country. Tishman had been active in London, where its European office is located, since the 1980s. Levy said one of the company's London bankers had been approached by the investment division of Bulgaria's Interior ministry, which wanted to know if it had any clients who would be interested in developing Western-style buildings in that country.

"Bulgaria was about to enter NATO, which it did, and is scheduled to enter the European Union in 2007, which it will," Levy said. "They don't have all the environmental studies and traffic studies and difficult and time-consuming bureaucratic procedures to get development rights," he explains. "It's a much more efficient and welcoming process."

Tishman International chairman also commented that a number of Westerners, though not from the US, have undertaken residential developments in the country.

Alan Levy backs his choice of Bulgaria with a number of arguments. "First of all, they like Americans, which is nice," Levy said. "They welcome Americans", the chairman of the major company explains his interest in Bulgaria. The younger generations of Bulgarians all speak English, he added. Besides Bulgarian, German and English are the two main languages that are taught at any early age. The business culture tends to be more Western-style and less formal than, say, Japan's.

"You get to know somebody on a first-name basis much more readily than the Japanese culture permits," Levy said. In addition, he said, the education level of most Bulgarians is very high and the work ethic is very good.

Levy said local newspapers still have stories about corruption and bribery, but the government is trying to crack down on that, particularly since Bulgaria is poised to enter the European Union. If fact, he said one of the country's chief crime fighters recently was elected as the mayor of Sofia."One of his campaign promises was to patch all the potholes in town, and he actually did," Levy said. "He got the streets cleaner. It's becoming a more user-friendly city, because it's an international city."