- Mr. Katrieli, how is the Plana Heights residential project developing?
- Plana Heights is a visionary project. It is an example of the development of our country. The last city in Bulgaria, Dimitrovgrad, was established more than 70 years ago. Now there are so many people involved in the establishment of the new settlement. The Government is also taking part and has made specific commitments. The construction sector and the citizens, too, are involved in the project.
We launched the advertising campaign, started pre-sales, and are receiving many positive responses. At the end of the winter season, we will start building the infrastructure, which will create the real feeling of the beginning of Plana Heights. I am sure that from then on everything will go in a positive direction.
- Why is the construction of the new city being late, and can we guarantee that it will start in 2018?
- This is a question that can lead us to the administration, and also to the corruption schemes of the green organizations. We managed to handle a blackmail attempt from such a environmental organization. This is the reason why we had go through the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and public discussion procedure that the law did not require of us, but the specific authorities involved in the matter did not want to confront this type of organization and recommended that we go through the procedure. This, of course, slowed us down with many months. There were other administrative challenges, too, but we are finished with all this, and we received all the permissions. Actually, we have already started, because we have marked the roads in the first neighborhood.
- Will the prices before and after the beginning of the construction be different?
- Of course. This is a business logic people who buy houses at the beginning are in some sense investors like ourselves. They take some risk, and like in any other business, later on, they have a chance to win more. People who believe in this project, and believe that they should be among those who make the first, of course, take advantage of much better prices.
The prices of the houses will depend on their size, type, and the size of the plot. A standard house of 150 sq. m, with a yard an acre will cost about EUR 125,000. In the future, such a house will reach a price of EUR 250,000 .
- What is the total amount of the investment in Plana Heights?
- The total amount of the project will be EUR 500-600 million but this, of course, is an investment in time that will be made within 7-9 years. The way in which the project is managed, will enable us to finance it independently all its stages. I am happy to emphasize that until now, we have not received any side funding from banks or other institutions. This definitely puts us in the ranks of stable companies.
- What added value will the Plana Heights bring to its residents?
- I think you will be able to answer this question yourself, if just visit the Plana area. In the history books of Bulgaria, the region is called "paradise near Sofia. It is a very beautiful place with incredible nature and is close to the city. l want emphasize that we are creating a product that does not exist on the market at the moment. A private house of 150-200 square meters on half an acre, in a brand new, well-regulated place, this is not seen in Bulgaria. For example, in Boyana or Dragalevtsi, it would cost at least three times more, and yet, some neighboring properties may not be as nice as yours. In Plana Heights, everything will be beautiful, not just one or two houses, everything is planned in this way.
- What about the infrastructure to Plana Heights?
- According to the promises made by the Government, the existing road to Plana will be reconstructed and improved. In the future, there will also be new roads, one of them leading to Gorni and Dolni Okol, and another one that will probably pass through the village of Alino. In this case, Mr. Boyko Borisov has intervened as a prime minister, and the commitment was made to us not because I have the honor to drink my coffee with him every day, but because the Government understands that this project is important for Bulgaria. Because it will not only create jobs, but it also show the world that our country is interesting, and there are investors who put their money in it.
Plana Heights creates a very positive spirit and the commitments
made by the Government have to do with this. Their promises are given on a professional level. After all, we are not talking about some unbelievable investments that will be required by the state, it is just a drop in the sea called state budget.
- A comprehensive infrastructure - a kindergarten, a hospital, parks and shops will be constructed in Plana Heights. Are they going to be built at the first stage of the construction?
- Everything will be built at different stages, because there is no need of everything at the beginning of the project. More of that infrastructure will be added to the construction of each neighborhood. We are currently discussing the establishment of something like a “historic village” that will present all Bulgarian traditional crafts. The place will be a tourist attraction, since we suppose there will be a big tourist flow because of the proximity to winter resorts and the Iskar lake. We are making plans with mayors around Plana, because there are other places that can be interesting for tourism, and we want to improve them. Plana is a unique place and deserves it.
- Plana Heights will be constructed as a green project. What will the environmental solutions be?
- I remind you that we, human beings, have a need to live in nature. Let those who criticize the project think on the fact that there were times, when in the places where they live, there has not been anything. Protecting the environment does not mean living anywhere, it is trying to do our best to minimize the damages we are causing. We have had consultation with experts to see if the project will cause problems to the surrounding environment, and the answer is explicit - "no”. We follow the advice of these specialists to minimize the impact. We will be building this project in a way that will turn it into part of the environment.
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