Zisser: We’ll bring Las Vegas to Hungary
Elbit Medical Imaging has obtained approval of the Budapest city council for a €1.5 billion tourism project on the island of Obuda.
Golan Fridenfeld 30 Apr 06 18:02
Mordechai (Motti) Zisser is launching another grandiose project. Elbit Medical Imaging Ltd. (Nasdaq: EMITF; TASE: EMIT) today announced that the Budapest city council has approved construction of a €1.5 billion tourism project on the island of Obuda. Elbit Vision Systems owns 30% of the project’s land.
The Budapest city council also announced that Elbit Medical would receive building rights for 346,000 sq.m., comprising 8-10 hotels with 6,000 rooms, four apartment hotels, a marina for yachts, a 150-table casino, convention halls, a 5,000-seat auditorium, 3,000-seat opera house, and 40,000 sq.m. of commercial space. Construction is scheduled to begin by the end of this year and last 5-6 years.
“Globes”: It’s taken you a long time to obtain approval for the project from the Budapest municipality.
Zisser: “I want to tell you a story. 12 years ago, when I decided to enter the real estate business in Hungary, the first thing I wanted to do was to buy rights to land on Obuda island. I couldn’t get the necessary permits at the time, so I invested in commercial centers in Hungary as a default option. I’m very excited by this hoped-for permit, which arrived today. For me, this is a dream come true.”
“I saw the great success of Las Vegas in the US, and I never understood why people should have to fly 12 hours if they could get something very similar to the sites of Las Vegas two hours flying time away. Let’s bring Las Vegas here. Swing a pair of dividers around Hungary, and you’ll discover that 400 million people live within two hours flying time, including both Western Europe and Eastern Europe, which has been growing very rapidly in recent years. There is no other project on this scale in Europe, and its uniqueness will help make it a success.”
Who are your partners in this project?
“The project has three more or less equal partners. Elbit Medical, Sir Bernard Shreier (who owns a number of hotel chains and is the controlling shareholder in Zoko Enterprises Ltd. (TASE:ZOKO)), and Hungary’s second largest bank, MKB. Elbit Medical is responsible for the project’s implementation side, rather than for its financing side, including obtaining the necessary permits, presenting suitable plans, and bringing in suitable partners for building the project.”
How will you finance such a huge project?
“Most of the finance will come from the bank that’s accompanying us.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on April 30, 2006
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