Monthly Archives: April 2011

Sex sells, etc. (SFW)

Shop 013: Toy store. Shop 012: xXx Erotic shop...location, location, location (click to enlarge)

We noted with interest a Prague daily newspaper article about a sex shop in the Park Hostivar shopping center. It’s called xXx Erotic shop, in case you’re interested. If there are other examples of this in CEE, we’d love to hear about it.

Is this a hot new trend? We have a sneaky suspicion that examples of this west of the border will be difficult to find. It’s not clear if the idea to drive footfall, or what it says about the larger vision for the mall’s tenant mix. (Fun for the whole family!)

Finally, is it poor taste, or brilliant strategy to place the store right next to a children’s toy store? (“Kids, you have 10 minutes, I’ll be next door if you need anything!“) In case you were wondering, the shop isn’t listed under “services” or “entertainment” on the web site. Just under plain old “stores.”

Update: An alert reader writes that Sestka in Prague 6 has an Erotic City, while another in our comment sections reminds us of the one in Palladium. Any more? in other countries?)

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News: AI and SK joblessness

-Unemployment in Slovakia fell 0.25% in March, but remains problematically high at 13.13%, and close to its 6 year maximum. State sector job cuts have hit employment numbers this year, but it’s hoped that investments in anti-flood measures and castle renovations will help at least in part.

-Anglo Irish bank took an symbolic step into nothingness when its signage was removed from company headquarters in Dublin. AI signs had already been taken down in other Irish cities ahead of a rebranding for the company, whose profligacy during the boom is being paid for by Irish tax payers.

ProLogis full in Slovakia

ProLogis has announced officially what its representatives have been hinting at for a couple of weeks now, which is that its Slovak portfolio is now officially full. As in, no vacancy. “Now we are moving our focus to securing pre-let and build-to-suit opportunities in Slovakia to monetize our 48 ha land bank available for the immediate development,” says Martin Polak, market officer in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Facebook vs. Developers

In the era of social media, controlling your PR becomes a much different task. Sometimes transparency can be enforced on developers who would otherwise have preferred to stay quiet for a few more months. All it takes, though, is a couple of people with a lot of friends or followers on Facebook or Twitter and it’s out of their hands.

It will be interesting now to watch how Galerie Stromovka, a proposed project in Prague 7, responds to a recent petition that’s now doing the rounds via Facebook. Careful: Letna’s a pretty popular place amongst the roller blading, frisbee-chucking crowd, and they’re pretty tech savvy as well. Do they need a place to go shopping after an afternoon in the beer garden? Guess we’ll find out soon enough.

C&W: €3.5bn of RE investment product available in CE

Cushman & Wakefield’s most recent study of Central Europe’s real estate investment opportunities has found €3.5bn worth of product is currently available. That’s a slight increase over the last quarter, and the agency says roughly half of it is in the retail sector, while 58% of the total is located in Poland (the study looks at Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary).

“We have seen strong pricing in the Czech Republic during the first quarter of 2011 compared to last year. This is starting to bridge the gap between buyer and seller expectations. That has triggered a number of assets to be brought to the market by owners,” says James Chapman, Partner and Head of Capital Markets at Cushman & Wakefield Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Chapman also suggests a slight easing in the water-tight conditions demanded by investors.

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Comic relief

Somehow we overcame the urge to link to what’s now everyone’s favorite moment of kleptomania, but with Jay Leno getting in on the fun, we realized that resistance is futile. Yes, we’ll get back to the serious stuff now.

Is Budapest cheap?

It’s a topic that’s been coming up for a while now, though there doesn’t seem to have been much in the way of transactions to back it up. But it’s no longer just agents in Budapest that are saying the city has some good buys these days. It even came up at CEDEP yesterday, a part of a discussion about whether Warsaw is overheating. It’s certainly more expensive in the Polish capital, but then prime rents for the best office space is over €20 per sqm. That certainly puts a discussion we had at CEDES in Bratislava into a bit of perspective, since rents there are usually about €10 less, barring Eurovea.

Jos Tromp of CB Richard Ellis gave a typically insightful romp through CEE investment, and while Poland was the focus of the day, we were struck as well by the suggestion that Budapest is being given a look these days given the difference in price now available. Check out the chart attached (click it to study closer). The note of caution, though, is that market liquidity is key. Warsaw’s just got it, at least at the moment. Budapest simply doesn’t. For now.

Interested in comments on any of this, as usual….