If you're looking to set up a business in Bulgaria you will need to think about renting office space. Local and international real estate companies operating on the local market are best placed to help you negotiate your way around the options but we can certainly give you a quick overview of your options.
Modern office buildings
Rents for Class A office space in Sofia stand at about 12-13 euro/m2 at the end of 2015. Although at first glance it looks like there are a lot of high rise office buildings going up around Sofia it turns out there is actually something of a shortage of good office space that meets the needs of international companies setting up here. Bulgaria's popularity as an outsourcing destination has pushed up the rents and lowered availability. Outsourcing companies need class A office space with all the modern services for their staff who are basically sitting at a desk for their full shift. Additional services apart from security, cleaning, hidden wiring, internet and phone access, air conditioning, are car parking space, restaurants and cafes, recreational areas and more. That's why large office complexes such as Business Park Sofia still attract many companies because they offer all of this plus outdoor spaces, a choice of dining and cafe options, shops, dry cleaning. Business Park Sofia is in fact a mini city.
According to real estate consultant Forton there is currently 1.7 million m2 of Class A and B office space in Sofia.
Most of this is situated along the main traffic thoroughfares such as Tsarigradsko Shosse, Bulgaria Boulevard, Todor Alexandrov Boulevard, Nikola Vaptsarov Boulevard as well as in the suburbs and the area near Sofia airport. Major new projects underway in the prime office segment in Sofia city centre include City Tower (34,600 sq m leasable office space) at Macedonia Square and Millenium Centre – 3 high rise buildings close to NDK.
Serviced office space
Serviced office space can be a solution both for long term and short term needs. Leaders on the market of serviced office space in Sofia are Regus, with two centrally located office buildings, one close to the Parliament on Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd. Serviced office space provides fully furnished and equipped offices, IT infrastructure, security and secretarial and admin assistance. This can be a great benefit to companies not wishing to make capital expenditure on fitting out an office, signing long-term rental contracts. Serviced office space providers offer a great deal of flexibility, including the opportunity to change office size, hourly rental of meeting rooms, virtual offices. This is particularly attractive for startups and global firms.
Offices in apartment buildings
Many companies still choose offices in apartment buildings in the centre of Sofia despite disadvantages such as traffic congestion, parking and the old infrastructure of many of the buildings. Most apartments for rent as offices are on the ground or first floor. The convenience of being located in the city centre is what leads most companies to choose such offices, especially if their business dealings take place in the vicinity. Additionally there are some very attractive older buildings around Rakovsky St., Doctor's Garden area which can add prestige to the company's image. Rents vary wildly from around 4 euro/m2 to rival those of the Class A office centres at 12 euro/m2.
Coworking has now come to Sofia and there are several coworking spaces here that we know of. One is Soho, on Iskar St., which offers offices, coworking space, a cafe with a garden and puts on many interesting events, including handicraft bazaars and more.
Plovdiv is becoming increasingly more interesting for outsourcing and IT companies and some have already relocated to Plovdiv from Sofia.