Ukraine Draws Increasing Israeli Business Interest

KIEV, Ukraine -- Israeli entrepreneurs are planning to invest billions of dollars in Ukraine during the next several years, representing some of the nation’s largest foreign investment.

Israel’s wealthiest citizen Shari Arison

Global finance, infrastructure and real estate developer Arison Group, led by Israel’s wealthiest citizen Shari Arison, visited Kyiv in early April to explore investment opportunities, particularly those related to the EURO 2012 football championship.

Arison met with President Viktor Yushchenko at the Secretariat on April 2, after he visited Israel in November and invited a delegation of top Israeli entrepreneurs to visit Kyiv and consider investing in Ukraine.

“Generally, through its subsidiaries, the company will consider becoming involved in projects of the $100 million to $500 million scale,” Arison Group said in a press release.

The firm is interested in projects related to the EURO 2012 football championship, “particularly the building and restructuring of stadiums, road construction, airports and hotels,” the press release said.

However, the company said it would not limit itself to EURO 2012 projects and will consider a wide range of investment opportunities.

Arison Group is already active in Ukraine after subsidiary Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank owned by Arison, purchased a 76 percent stake in the Ukrainian Innovation Bank (Ukrinbank) for $136 million in December.

Meanwhile, Seven Hills LLC, a Ukrainian-registered developer that serves as the Ukrainian arm of Israel’s Scorpio Real Estate, is working on “four major projects in progress with an estimated value well in excess of $1 billion,” said chief executive officer Arie Schwartz.

Scorpio Real Estate is owned by Israeli billionaire businessman Benny Steinmetz.

Seven Hills will complete the first of four buildings, containing 380 apartments, in the Park Avenue residential development in the Holosiyivskiy district in Kyiv by the end of 2008.

The Israeli developer will begin construction on a residential complex in the Pechersk District at an undisclosed time, recruiting renowned New York architect Costas Kondylis to design what will be “the tallest residential complex in the city,” Schwartz said.

The Kondylis architectural firm has designed many notable real estate projects in New York, including the Trump World Tower, the Plaza Hotel & Residencies, and the Atelier.

The Pechersk project has the regulatory go-ahead and when completed, will offer 150,000 square meters of apartment space and “a spectacular penthouse that will be the envy of the city,” Schwartz confirmed.

Another project, Airport City, will consist of office units linked to warehousing and distribution facilities with shopping outlets, a hotel and restaurants.

It will be located on a 50-hectare plot next to Kyiv-Boryspil highway.

The company will start work on the project in 2009, and its offices will provide work space for more than 5,000 people.

Airport City was included in the general plan for EURO 2012 preparations as a priority project, Schwartz said.

Another project being designed by Kondylis, Podil Center, will be a 30,000-square meter complex combining Class A office and shopping space across from the National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy.

The current projects are the start of Seven Hills’ national and regional investment program called “Project 150,” which envisions property developments in all Ukrainian cities with a population of 150,000 or more people, Schwartz said.

Source: Kyiv Post


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