08 October, Il Sole 24 Ore
Ten years to disinvest, revaluate and optimise the real estate assets and reconvert its properties throughout Italy for a total value of around 330 million euro. After a difficult start, also due to the crisis of real estate, now Banca d’Italia “is selling a building every month” as Luigi Donato, head of Real Estate at Banca d’Italia, put it. There are 97 assets in total (sold or for sale), including eight bank branches (those in Ascoli Piceno, Avellino, Caserta, Grosseto, La Spezia, Latina, Ragusa, Trapani) which will close down by the end of the year. Donato says: “the transactions concluded or currently in process concern about one-third of the portfolio: 17 former bank branches and 13 mixed-use properties, for a total of 113 million euro”. Of the remaining 67 properties (the updated list of the buildings is available on the Banca d’Italia website), one-third is being leased or made available in case of emergencies such as earthquakes, as it happened in Rieti, Teramo and Ascoli. Donato concludes, “the part that remains on offer concerns one-third of the portfolio”.
The deadline to submit the offers for the properties in Pordenone, Treviso, Reggio Emilia, Pesaro, Benevento and Taranto is 12th October; and new sales will be soon advertised. The buildings for sale are generally former branches of the bank and historical buildings that may accommodate at the ground floor shops and restaurants (where there used to be offices) and apartments in the upper floors. The most significant operations have been completed in Como, Parma, Pavia and Savona.
“The reference price in the negotiations is aligned to the standards of the market. In the case of Banca d’Italia, the reference price also corresponds to the book value which is constantly reviewed. Donato explains that in the case of public calls for tenders, there is no price given, as the bank is open to the open bids from the market. In the following phase, the binding offers are evaluated, and the bank discloses its judgment resulting from the appraisal by an external technician and from the assessment carried out by an internal commission in charge for the analysis of the property. If the number of offers is not sufficient (as it already happened), we’ll proceed with a reverse auction”.
There are several operations currently in process. A real estate complex in Perugia has been recently put for sale; it used to be a training centre for bank managers. The property is particularly attractive, featuring a 6 hectares park, a manor house and the buildings used for trainings and conferences as well as other multifunctional facilities. Meanwhile, the buildings of a real estate complex in Brindisi have been sold separately, as there were no adequate offers to buy the whole complex. After a series of unsuccessful negotiations, the sale of the theatre Salone Margherita in Rome is also about to be completed.
The aim is selling, “but not at any condition: for the buildings with some particular characteristics, we also evaluate the possibility of reconversion”, as Donato clarifies. For instance, in Siracusa and Matera, the properties were acquired to turn them into hotels to enhance the touristic vocation of the two locations. Last summer, the bank entered an agreement concerning the prestigious real estate complex that used to be the Udine branch (Palazzo Antonini, designed by Palladio). The building went to the University thanks to the contribution of the patron Attilio Maseri, an internationally-known cardio surgeon.
Source: Il Sole 24 Ore
Translator: Cristina Ambrosi