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Competition to get Villa Igiea. Raised bid by Rocco Forte

10 August, Live Sicilia

There’s an actual competition currently going on to get one of the jewels of Palermo. Only a few months ago, the game seemed to be over with the adjudication by Algebris.

The relaunch came after ten days. A new adjudication. The advisor for the auction gave the news regarding the properties that were once of the entrepreneur Francesco Bellavista Caltagirone, and before that of Banco di Sicilia. The Coldwell Banker Commercial official website disclosed that: “After the sales of the hotels San Domenico Palace Hotel in Taormina and Hotel Des Etrangers & SPA in Siracusa, the following properties in Palermo have been sold too: Grand Hotel Villa Igiea MGallery Collection (euro 25,520,000.00), final adjudication on 03.08.2018; Grand Hotel et Des Palmes (euro 12,000,000.00), final adjudication on 23.07.2018; Mercure Excelsior Palermo (euro 8,808,000.00), final adjudication on 23.07.2018”.

The last adjudication, concerning Villa Igiea, came together with the one of Hotel Delle Palme and Excelsior di Palermo. However, the date reported by the advisor is more recent: 3rd August. During these last ten days, there has been a raised bid.

The numbers confirm this version. Algebris adjudicated the hotel for 23.2 million euro. The new price is by 10% higher than the minimum amount to raise the bid, as the advisor explains. The website reads: “Additional offers by 10% higher will also be admitted before the closing, in compliance with the regulation”. The final deed, namely the notarial deed that will close the auction for good, is scheduled at the end of October.

Hence, the sale of Villa Igiea has become an actual competition over one of the most precious properties in the region. Who made the raised bid? There is no official information, but all the hints point at the tycoon and baron Rocco Forte, currently owning 11 five-star hotels such as Hotel de Russie in Rome, Hotel Savoy in Florence and Verdura Resort in Sciacca in Italy, as well as hotels in Edinburgh, London, Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, Brussels and Saint Petersburg in Europe and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

It’s not by chance that, after that the first auction got inquorate, there were rumours about the potential interest of Rocco Forte in the properties already at the time of the adjudication by Algebris. The interest of the entrepreneur in investing in the luxury tourism in the region has never been a secret, as himself admitted in an interview to the monthly magazine I Love Sicilia. As he explains referring to the quality of hotels in Sicily: “Apart from the Timeo Hotel in Taormina, clients looking for prime properties don’t have much choice. This is why the Verdura Resort was born and why I’m looking at new investments in Italy and particularly in Sicily, Palermo and Catania, where there are no extra-luxury hotels able to attract international guests. My idea is to create a network of luxury hotels in Sicily and, more in general, give to Italy what the country deserves in terms of hospitality”.

The acquisition of Villa Igiea is increasingly becoming a competition which will end on the 31st October, with the official sale of the three hotels.

In the meanwhile, other two prime properties from the same owner, Des Etrangers in Siracusa and Excelsior in Palermo, have gone to the group Statuto. At this stage, as the advisor reminds, “the last property of the original hotel portfolio, the Mercure Excelsior in Catania, is currently being evaluated by some investors of the sector”. The next challenge is coming soon.

Source: Live Sicilia

Translator: Cristina Ambrosi

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