30 January, La Nazione
New life for the former Teatro Comunale. The American real estate giant Hines is negotiating the purchase of the property in Corso Italia recently returned to Cassa Depositi e Prestiti to turn it into a luxury student house. It will be a hostel on the model of the American campuses, implementing the concept of micro-apartments, a home away from home. All this in respect of the original architectural structure of the building.
Therefore, there will be a new owner of the building, that has been vacant for nearly six years, after the reacquisition by Cdp (the public company owned by the Ministry of Economy and for 17% by banks) who bought it from the City of Florence in 2013, sold it to Nikila Invest in 2015 and got it back in 2017. The complex is formed by several buildings and it was built in the middle of the 19th century but it was completely transformed in the 30es after it was burnt down and bombarded.
The American company aims at the student housing formula, an expanding segment in Italy, where the researches show there is a growth potential. As a result, Hines has decided to bet on the Italian market and on Florence through a selective purchasing activity, buying offices and commercial buildings in Milan and in Florence for total investments amounting 700 million euro. In 2016 Hines acquired in Florence, with an 80 million euro operation, the entire 15th-century building in Via Tornabuoni: a property of about 6 thousand Sq m of surface arranged over six floors, four of which are occupied by the Hotel Tornabuoni Beacci while the ground floor accommodates Tiffany, Burberry and Swatch.
Now Hines is aiming at the old Teatro Comunale, whose recovery project signed by the architect Marco Casamonti was already submitted to the City of Florence for the approval. Will the recovery project still be valid for a luxury student house?
The objective of Hines Italia, guided by the country manager Mario Abbadessa, is to create a common platform throughout the country. This means not the typical student house. Rather a new model, that has already landed in Florence with The Student Hotel of Charlie McGregor, with spaces dedicated to cinemas, libraries, gyms and swimming pools. The news is that the hostel will be managed directly by a company of the group, Aparto, that already manages about 5 thousand beds between the United Kingdom and Ireland. The acquisition strategy has already started in Milan and in Florence and it will continue in Rome and in Venice.
Hence, Hines will be the direct competitor of The Student Hotel that will open its hostel in Florence in Via Lavagnini between May and June, and that has already purchased the former Fiat factory in Viale Belfiore while awaiting the evolution of the project for the former Manifattura Tabacchi area.
Source: La Nazione
Translator: Cristina Ambrosi