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The derby of Milan skyscrapers

01 March, Milano Finanza

Five or six years ago, when the recession was hitting hard, no one would have bet on their success, especially of City Life. Instead, with the official launch of the Libeskind tower (the last one of the program), also the requalification project by Generali will be soon completed, the completion of the works is scheduled for 2020. This is a big step for the project itself and for Milan, that has been through some difficult moments.  The path of Porta Nuova has been easier (obviously, omitting the decades that the public administration took to release the former Varesine area, and the many ideas rejected, starting from the City of Fashion). Porta Nuova has now acquired its definitive shape and it’s ready to colonize the surroundings. The two projects together have required over 4 billion in investments, considering the several towers accommodating offices, about one thousand residences, and at least 25 thousand people between workers and residents. Without considering the visitors brought by the commercial areas for several millions. In addition, there are over 270 thousand Sq m of green spaces, kilometres of cycling lanes, but also services, schools and public facilities.

City Life and Porta Nuova together have recovered over the last decade (from the start of the works) large areas of the city, modernizing and improving its look, and giving to it new impulse. It’s not by chance that Porta Nuova has become the main business centre in Milan, thus also the most expensive (500-550 euro/Sq m per year). And City Life will follow suit, even though the two companies that are going to occupy the other two towers, Generali and Allianz, are also the owners, hence there is no rental price to take as reference. PwC, the multinational operating in strategic and financial consultancy that is going to occupy the Libeskind tower, has committed to pay a rent of 200 million in the next years. Whereas the destiny of the residential part is more uncertain. After an initial crisis that forced to rent about a hundred apartments, City Life has now recovered, “with only around forty vacant houses”, explains Armando Borghi, City Life Ceo, “and we’re intending to sell also the rented apartments as soon as they’re left by the tenants”.

While in Porta Nuova the commercial and office part prevailed. Here, office spaces are sold out (among the tenants, there are Bnp Paribas, Samsung, Hsbc, Unicredit and Axa). Regarding the residential part, except for the iconic Vertical Forest, the Solaria and Aria towers, as well as the shorter buildings, are still registering 20% of unlet properties.

Nevertheless, both projects can be considered a success and have encouraged new initiatives. Both City Life and Porta Nuova are looking forward, thanks to the great interest of investors in Milan and the new projects. Porta Nuova is considering the surrounding areas, Gioia 22 in particular, a new 26-storey skyscraper designed by the Cesar Pelli studio, completely environment-sustainable. It’s the first project of the second development phase of Porta Nuova, coordinated by Coima sgr on behalf of the subsidiary of the Aby Dhabi sovereign fund (that took over the complex in 2015). The building will accommodate offices for 2,700 people. The new skyscraper will replace the former Inps building, and construction works will start in summer and terminate in 2020. Actually, all the streets surrounding Porta Nuova are thriving with new initiatives, especially in Via della Liberazione which has already seen the requalification of the Generali building as well as of other buildings.

In the meanwhile, City Life has not stayed inactive since it still has developable spaces. There are already rumours regarding the launch of the construction works for Lot 2 (where now a golf camp is). There, there will be new residences for a total of 120 apartments. The projects that were put on hold during the recession will be also reconsidered. The initial project regarded new residences, but the destination may change, and the new constructions may be turned into office buildings, always towers, the most successful property type. “In Italy, there are only a few companies needing a 30-40 Sq m space in the city centre such as the City Life and Porta Nuova towers, but there are still only a few properties of this type”, concludes Borghi, “hence, they sell very well”.

Source: Milano Finanza

Translator: Cristina Ambrosi

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