Russian-Israeli business tycoon Lev Leviev and Romanian President Traian Basescu attended the official opening ceremony of the Cotroceni mall in Bucharest on Tuesday.
The mall was built by AFI Europe, an Africa Israel subsidiary company.
The venture is slated to be Eastern Europe's biggest mall and the largest of all malls opened in Europe in 2009. Its shopping area stretches over 79,000 square feet out of a total of 214,000 sq ft.
The shopping center will include 300 shops, a movie theater with 25 auditoriums, including an IMAX theater, and parking lots spreading over 100,000 sq ft. It is expected to generate some € 35 million a year in operational revenue and is estimated to be worth a total of roughly € 400 million.
Africa Israel invested € 300 million in the venture, the construction of which was performed by Dania Sibus.
AFI Europe CEO Ofer Linchevsky said that the company was provided with € 234 million in funding from the German Hyop Real Estate company.
"The crisis works on both ends: It doesn't make it easy to obtain project funding, but once you have secured it you have an advantage, since you are 'lonely at the top.' We foresee very little competition for the next few years," Linchevsky said.
He also noted that AFI Europe, which does business in Romania, the Czech Republic, Serbia and Bulgaria, intends to penetrate the mall market in Eastern Europe "full force".
Linchevsky further added that it was no accident that the mall was opened during the pre-Christmas shopping season.
According to the businessman the mall sees an average of 80-100 thousand visitors per day, and a total of 750,000 people visited the shopping center during its first eight days.