This is how a provisory balance of the consuming crises that hit the local retail market in the last years looks like, adding also the bets that proved too risky, made by a series of investors in Romanian real estate.

In July 2009, British Andrew Stear said resignedly: „We definitely did not analyse enough the market in Braila. The project doesn’t attract enough people, and the price level of the retailers does not correspond to the buying power of the city’s inhabitants“.

That was the announcement of the first lock on a commercial centre in Romania – Armonia Center Braila – a project involving EUR 45 million investment, currently closed. The judicial liquidators are looking for buyers at EUR 15 million, a third of the costs, but investors don’t show.

Same problems – absence of the purchase power and insufficient analyses of the market – have determined afterwards other developers too to close the malls doors or to protect themselves from the creditors by opening the insolvency procedure.

In other cases, investors that started mostly the works of the malls in the growth period of the market, when any project seamed would be rented and sold at 7-7.5% yield in euro per year, stopped the construction and abandoned the sites on undefined period, taking the balance of the failed commercial investments to over 20 projects and approx. EUR 600 million.

The only failed commercial centre that were sold by far are Tiago Oradea, a mall reopened under the brand Oradea Shopping City, City Mall, a Bucharest mall to be receonverted into an office building and MacroMall in Braşov, taken over for approx. EUR 1 million, with over 90% discount compared to its boom value.

„Romania currently has many malls, but only a few are good. From the point of view of an institutional investor, I consider that only 10-15 projects would be interesting for an acquisition. The retail market was over developed in certain regions, and the quality of the projects is low in many cases, considering that few really experimented investors were active on the market. Moreover, the urban regulations did not limit the commercial area in some cities, as in Austria and Germany, followed by a large number of failed projects. “, says Gijs Klomp, managing director within Jones Lang LaSalle.

The city with the biggest number of commercial projects in distress is Craiova, where the construction sites of the malls started by the Austrian Immofinanz (West Gate) and Portuguese Sonae Sierra (Adora) were blocked, while the only operational mall in the city - Electroputere – went in insolvency this year. (source: