Consultant cost and project manager on four giant stores worth £223m

EC Harris has secured the largest-ever retail deal in Romania to build four shopping centres worth more than £223m.

British investment and financial services group Atrium Centres has appointed the consultant to provide project and cost management, and technical supervision services from its office in Bucharest.

Matthew Cutts, global head of lenders and investors for EC Harris, said: “Eastern Europe and Romania in particular is a key target for retailers and highly attractive for investors at present.

“International retailers are increasingly looking to capitalise on the opportunities presented in these emerging markets as the domestic and Western European market becomes increasingly saturated.”

He said the success of giant stores like Tesco and Carrefour in Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary shows that there could be real potential for similar schemes in Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia.

The shopping centres will be built in the Romanian cities Arad, Baia Mare, Cluj, and Satu Mare in Transylvania.

This will be Atrium's first development projects in Romania, with additional projects planned in the future.

Cutts added: “If one is to look at Eastern Europe, including Russia, as a whole then the numbers for retailers are very strong, particularly when you consider that the size of the region’s grocery market.”

The centres, which will also contain a mixture of leisure development, office space and hotel accommodation, will cover almost 300,000m² and are due to be completed in 2009.