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235. First expat BBQ meetings - updated

Sofia Echo: 2008-09-01

On Saturday September 6, the first expat BBQ meeting will be held in Sofia. Expat BBQ meetings will be held several times a month, throughout Bulgaria. On September 12 an expat BBQ meeting will take place in Akroza bistro in Balchik, on September 13 in the Zuu bar in Varna and on September 14 at the lake in the village of Manastir near Provadiya, Varna district.

All meetings are co-organised by Expatinbulgaria.com -- the leading expatriate community portal -- and Andy's Foods, together with local hosts. Andys Foods is a British owned company striving to be the best professional distributor of foods across Bulgaria.

The BBQ meetings include a BBQ buffet, with beef burgers, hot dogs, bacon rolls and salads, supplied by Andy's Foods, and is set up to allow expats to network for business and pleasure over good food, a drink and good company.

Entrance fee to the events is 10 leva, part of which will go to local charity. The BBQ buffet is included in the entrance fee.

The first meeting will start at 4pm on September 6 at JJ Murphy's pub in Sofia.

234. Arco Invest secures loan refinancing

property wise: 2008-08-23

Arco Invest, the Bulgarian subsidiary of Estonian real estate company Arco Vara Group, secured a new 15.5 million euro loan to refinance existing debt contracted for the construction of its mixed-type Boulevard Residence project on Madrid Boulevard in central Sofia. The project is expected to be finished in the autumn of 2009 and would cost 20 million euro to build.

The new loan was contracted from Piraeus Bank Bulgaria, website investor.bg quoted unnamed sources from Arco Invest as saying.

Boulevard Residence will have a build area of 24 700 sq m, including 12 000 sq m of housing, 6100 sq m of commercial space and two underground levels.

It is Arco Invest's second project in the city, the first one being a gated compound in the Malinova Dolina borough in Sofia, which will cost 24 million euro. The compound will have a build area of 35 sq m, including 10 000 sq m of commercial space.

233. Wooden Sanctuary Discovered in Pliska

News BG: 2008-08-22

A team of archaeologists found an ancient wooden building serving for cult purposes from the 9th century during the exploration of military machinery on the grounds of the first Bulgarian capital Pliska.

The building served for sacrifices, connected to the earliest religious beliefs of Pliska inhabitants. It was built on the remains of the burnt-up wooden fortress wall of Pliska.

Its foundations were made of red bricks and the walls - of wood.

Two cameras, resembling funeral cameras, were discovered during the digging.

The archaeologists suppose that pagan ceremonies took place here, long after Christianity had become Bulgaria's main religion.

232. School closures a windfall for property developers

Sofia Echo: 2008-08-21

Bulgaria will close a record number of schools this year, allowing developers to remodel the buildings into hotels, retirement homes, spa centers or small factories, a Dnevnik investigation has found out.

Some 300 schools have been shuttered so far in 2008 at the request of town mayors more, than double the amount closed down in 2007.

The fate of the former school buildings, located mainly in rural areas, is decided by the respective municipal council.

Information posted on the websites of regional authorities indicate that the school buildings sell at prices ranging from 5000 to 90 000 leva, depending on their location and state of repair.

Town mayors and school principals said the main reason for the record number of closures is the new central budget funding scheme, adopted in early 2008, which ties the amount of government aid to the number of enrolled students. The new funding rule has led to the bankruptcy of the smallest schools in locations where the local government has no money to co-finance their operation.

231. Outlook for Sofia office space market good -CB Richard Ellis

Sofia Echo: 2008-08-18

Despite the effects of the credit crunch and forecasts for an overall slowdown in economic growth, Bulgarian gross domestic product defied the expectations of economists by recording seven per cent growth in the first quarter of 2008, real estate consultants CB Richard Ellis said in a Sofia office market overview for the first half of 2008.

Bulgaria remains attractive to international companies that outsource and offshore parts of their activities to the country, driven by the availability of well-educated and experienced specialists at lower salaries as compared to Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe and the US, as well as the low corporate and personal income taxes (both 10 per cent), among others. Therefore, according to the report, Sofias office market will continue to develop actively at least in the next two to three years.

Office space completion in the first half of 2008 set a record, with completions coming in at levels of over 87 per cent of all completions in 2006 and 58 per cent of all completions in 2007, CB Richard Ellis said.

As a result of this large amount of completions, Sofia now has modern office stock of approximately 808 000 sq m, according to the company. This number will continue to increase, in view of more than 250 000 sq m scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

That said, the consultancy doubts that all announced office projects will actually enter the market by the end of the year. CB Richard Ellis expect that no more than 150 000 sq m will actually enter the market by the end of the year. Another 500 000 sq m are expected by the end of 2010, to make the total pipeline approximately 750 000 sq m.

230. Bourgas central beach closed for MTV festival

Sofia Echo: 2008-08-16

The central beach in Bourgas, Bulgaria's second largest Black Sea city, has been closed for August 15-17 for the MTV music festival Spirit of Bourgas. To compensate, the Bourgas city provided 200 free sun umbrellas at the city northern beach, Bulgarian-language daily Dnevnik reported.

About 10 000 people are expected to visit Spirit of Bourgas daily. Many of the tickets were bought on Internet from abroad, but the local city hall said that by the end of the festival it would be hard to find vacancies in hotels in the seaside city. Some 1500 beds have been booked for the artists, who are performing at Spirit of Bourgas, and their crews.

The festival will be screened on nine MTV channels in 36 countries. The events organisation cost two million leva, where Bourgas municipality took part with 250 000 leva, Dnevnik reported. About 110 policemen and bodyguards will provide security at the festival.

As previously reported by The Sofia Echo, on the specially prepared concert stages and dance areas performances will run from 7pm each day until sunrise. Legends such as The Sister of Mercy, Asian Dub Foundation and Kosheen will stage live shows. This will be the first show of The Sister of Mercy in Bulgaria, while the other two bands return for a second time.

The drum and bass group Pendulum, Pharoahe Monch, the DJ duo Groove Armada and the broken beats genius Bonobo are also scheduled to perform. The beach will be wired for sound by the early hours of the three days by local bands and DJs including Gravity CO, Wikeda, D2, Deep Zone Project, Panican Whyasker, Upsurt, and the DJs from Magrathea and Metropolis sound conglomerations.

A stage for the Latino fans will also not be missing, featuring Frankie Morales on August 15, Salsa show performance on August 16 and Kalin Veliov & Tumbaito on August 18.

229. Bulgarian Christians Marks Assumption of Mary

News BG: 2008-08-15

Assumption of Mary is one of the 12 big Christian celebrations, marked both by Orthodox and Catholics. This is the day when the Mother of God, at the age of 64 leaves her earthly life and goes to her son.

On this day, after a special mass in the church, the ritual bread is consecrated. Afterwards the women distribute it among the people for good health and in memory of the dead relatives. The believers search for Mary's protection in their life problems.

On this day there are family gatherings, connected to offerings for life, health, fruitful year and against problems and diseases.

The traditional dishes for today are salty cake, chicken porridge, boiled wheat, corn and pumpkin. By all means watermelon and grapes should be eaten.

The believers give as presents to the church candles, home weaved cloth, towel and money.

All women with the blessed name Mary celebrate today.

228. The real estate market in the mountains is subsiding, brokers complain

News BG: 2008-08-14

Prices have also gone down because of the reduced demand. Foreigners who want to buy an attractive property are also becoming less. Analyzers explain this fact with the bad image of the country lately and the world economic crisis which is making people more cautious in financial transactions.

40-50 Euro costs a square meter of land in the Devin region. Since the beginning of the year the demand of real estate in the region decreased, representatives of the real estate agency Vipbulgarianproperties said. In the villages around Devin a square meter of land is sold for 15-20 euro. The tendency towards a higher demand of old houses continues. If you are a big enthusiast on the Rhodope Mountains, you can buy a house there for 20-30 thousand Euro. People buy them for recreational purposes, brokers claim.

Several years ago a lot of foreigners have shown interest in buying an old house in Devin. Now this tendency has subsided and most buyers are Bulgarians. Such a fortune is often times expensive, because the houses have numerous heirs and this makes the selling process difficult. Brokers are happy that more local people seek their services when selling their house

227. MTV Gives Away 100 Free Tickets for Spirit of Burgas Music Festival

News BG: 2008-08-13

MTV gives away 100 free tickets for its fans, willing to visit Bulgaria and the first edition of what turns out to be the largest music festival here up till now, reports dnevnik.bgIn the hot topics section the banner of the Burgas Fest is visible together with that of MTV Video Music Awards. Its teaser can also be seen on all MTVs channels.All you should do to get a chance for winning a free ticket is register at the televisions site www.mtv.tv and submit your personal data.Meanwhile, it was announced, that more than 100 volunteers will take part in the preparation of the festival, some of them foreigners. The young people will have to work in short shifts and in return will have the chance to watch all the shows for free.The approved canidates CV directly enters MTV database which gives the best among them the opportunity to take part in other major festivals, organized by the worlds most popular television.

226. New logistics centre to be built near Varna

Sofia Echo: 2008-08-12

The construction of a new logistics centre has begun near Slunchevo village, in Aksakovo municipality near Varna, Stroitelstvo Gradut weekly has reported.

The facility will be within a strategic proximity to Hemus Highway and Varna airport, and will have both industrial and storage functions, occupying a land plot of 6500 sq m.

Investor is Izgrev Ltd, a company specialising in the building of industrial and storage complex, while the design is done by architect Kalina Pavlova. The centre will be built by the Varna-based company Sgradostroene Ltd and Strimona Ltd from Petrich.

In July, the first construction stage began with the building of Izgrev I, an industrial-depository base, which will consist of six halls, occupying a total of 4100 sq m. The project also envisions the construction of a luxurious office building and a docking lot for load handling purposes.

According to the design, the warehouse section will be constructed with the help of separate identical metal units, joined together to form two buildings.

The buildings will be easily accessible from vehicles and pedestrians alike, and the docking lot will accommodate up to 32 cars and lorries.

Future clients are given the possibility to either purchase or rent the facilities, which sizes vary from 400 to 3300 sq m. The selling price runs between 490 and 550 euro a sq m.

Izgrev I base is scheduled to be completed by December 2008, while the rest of the facilities will be gradually built up in the upcoming couple of years, the weekly reported.

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