British real estate investment firm buys castle in Western Romania

CastelulSalbek_(12)London-based real estate development and investment company OMC Invetsments has bought the Salbek Castle from the village of Petris, in the Western Romanian county of Arad.

OMC Invetsments, a firm founded by Romania-born investor Octav Botnar, will use the Salbek Castle to develop the activities of the Botnar Foundation, creating 60 jobs in the village, according to a press release issued by Hammond, Minciu & Associates law firm, which assisted the company in closing the deal.

Octav Botnar was born in the town of Cernauti (Chernivtsi, today in Ukraine) in 1913 and left Romania in 1960, during the communist regime. He set up Datsun UK, the first Nissan importer in the UK, in the 1960s and was, at one stage, rated as the third-wealthiest man in Europe. OMC Investments is the former Datsun UK.

After the businessman’s death, in 1998, the company has been managed by his wife Marcela Botnar. The Botnars are well-known philanthropists and have donated over GBP 100 million to various charities, according to data from OMC Investments.

Their company, which started as a car import and dealership business currently focuses on real estate investments. Its portfolio comprises prime high street retail, hotel and restaurant, motor trade and offices principally in Central London and the South East of the UK. “With a current net worth of some GBP 75 million, the company funds all acquisitions and developments from its own cash resources,” according to a presentation on the company’s website.

The price OMC Investments paid for the Salbek castle hasn’t been made public. The property has been promoted by Artmark Historica Estate, the real estate division of local art auction house Artmark. In 2015, it was listed at a starting price of EUR 350,000.

The castle was built between 1800 and 1850 by the serfs in Petris village for count Salbek. It has a built surface of 980 sqm and is located on a 17-hectare domain.

The transaction for the 19th century castle was completed over a period of three months. The Hammond, Minciu & Associates team led by Nicholas Hammond and partner Alina Minciu has carried out a detailed due diligence in respect of the title which involved looking at documents prior to 1920.

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