U.S. Small Business Uses OPIC Loan to Construct Apartment Buildings in Georgia
January 15, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A U.S. small business will use a loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to construct four residential apartment buildings comprising a total of 318 apartments in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.
OPIC will provide a $10 million loan to JSC Iberia Real Estate, a leading Georgian real estate company, for the project, which comprises a nine-story building with 89 apartments on Kipshidze Street in Tbilisi; a ten-story building with 18 apartments on Abashidze Street; a ten-apartment building on Radiani Street; and a 22-unit complex of 201 apartments in Iberia Hills. Firebird Avrora Advisors LLC, an investment fund manager which partly owns Iberia RE, is the U.S. sponsor of the project.
OPIC Acting President Dr. Lawrence Spinelli said timing of the project was propitious, given the fact that the Georgian economy is experiencing a housing boom, as Soviet-era housing is being replaced with newer housing stock. At the same time, the country faces a chronic housing shortage. According to estimates, Tbilisi has the lowest total residential stock per capita and the highest average residents per household of any capital in Eastern Europe.
“Georgia’s housing sector is on the verge of significant growth, given the great demand in the country, but it has been hard hit by the crises in international financial markets. This project will both help Georgia meet that housing demand and provide a necessary source of funding for the construction sector,” Dr. Spinelli said, noting that OPIC staff members had visited Georgia in October 2009 and reported significant progress on earlier Iberia projects supported by OPIC financing. “We are pleased to partner with Iberia in a project that will provide so many developmental benefits to Georgia.”