09 January, Corriere della Sera
New life for the former garage Traversi. 15 years since its closure, seven since the tender for the reconversion of the building in Via Bagutta, Milan, the project got the approval from the Superintendency of Fine Arts, Landscape and Archaeological Heritage. The massive restyling – the building is 24.70 metres high, with a total surface of five thousand Sq m – will cost over 30 million euro and it will take three years to be completed. The first multi-storey garage of Milan, built in the 30es in typical rationalist style, it will be turned into luxury stores. In fact, the building will accommodate fashion brands, a showroom, a restaurant and, perhaps, even a spa with a terrace with a view over Milan. The location, after all, has always interested big brands. When it closed down, it was rumoured an interest from Armani, then from Ralph Laurent, and finally from the sheikh of Kuwait Majed Al Sabah, the founder of the Villa Moda stores, the temples of luxury shopping in the Middle East. Those were the times when it was rumoured also the hypothesis of the arrival of Harrod’s in San Babila square.
The history of Traversi is rooted in the reconstruction of the city centre between the two wars. The thirties saw the start of the works to empty and clean up the internal structure, which is based on the demolition of the urban surroundings. As a result, while the whole area between Corso Matteotti and Piazza San Babilia was completely reconstructed, a small plot of land was left, but it was too small and uneven to build houses, and with just one free side, that facing on Via Bagutta. For this reason, it was decided to use it to make a building where to park cars, that at the time were becoming popular. The project was assigned to the architect Giuseppe De Min, who also designed the building at the corner between Piazza San Babila and Corso Vittorio Emanuele.
Traversi was inaugurated in 1938. The uneven land didn’t stop De Min from implementing a remarkable example of architecture, with fan-shaped foundations and the distinction between the two lower floors and the upper ones, characterised by curved lines and glass surfaces. Throughout the years, the garage had been modified. But when someone suggested to tear it down, the regulation protecting historical monuments saved the garage in 2007. The renovation works will include also the implementation of an elevated passageway.
The garage had been the parking of the cars of Milan’s celebrities. But it has been left vacant for too long, except for a temporary shop that caused the resident to protest due to noise. With a turbulent past, the building has changed ownership several times. The real estate agency Aedes, after having emptied it three years ago, sold it Zunino and to the company Risanamento for 89 million euro through a complex financial operation. In 2010 a tender was launched to gather new ideas for the “new Traversi” but, in the meanwhile, it was bought by Banco Popolare due to one of the many defaulted contracts that saw Banca Italease involved. Then, two years ago, the property was acquired by Bnp Paribas Reim on behalf of the British private equity fund Hayrish. Obtained the permit to build from the City of Milan, there will be also a swimming pool in Via Fatebenesorelle in exchange for the planning fees.
Source: Corriere della Sera
Translator: Cristina Ambrosi