REAL ESTATE - A year after ING Real Estate fired development chief executive Paul Trip over delays in Warsaw’s Zlote Tarasy retail centre, it has reported that the centre will not open on schedule in November.

The latest delay – with the opening re-scheduled for the first quarter 2007 – is the result of contractor Skanska "failing to honour its contractual obligations" despite "substantial incentives", the firm said. However, it refused to disclose when it first knew of the shortfall or what action it planned to take against the contractor.

Arie Bos, a spokesman for investor Rodamco, said: "We’re disappointed but we’re dependent on what ING delivers to us. We’re exploring all options but it’s too early to say what action we’ll take."

Agnieszka Podbielska, a spokeswoman for ING Real Estate Poland, said the project had recovered from earlier delays caused by a six-month construction stoppage while environmental organisations wrangled in court over building permits for the project.

"We need to divide this issue from the previous problem," she said. "You have to take into account that shopping centres usually open in the autumn or the spring.

"It’s difficult to talk about the impact this delay will have on the project," she added, "but it isn’t comfortable for us or our tenants."

A press statement forecast the delay would have no material impact on the firm’s results.