01 March, Wall Street Italia
The most important real estate operation at present. By the completion of the works, in 2021, Piazza Cordusio will be the new face of Milan.
A modern commercial district, one of the biggest in Europe, will extend from Piazza Castello to Piazza Loreto, covering Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Brera and linking Quadrilatero to Corso Venezia. A series of shops, restaurants, luxury hotels and art galleries will cross Milan. The City, in fact, is going through a radical change, which is primarily driven by Piazza Cordusio, the historical business district which is about to become a pedestrian area dedicated to shopping, food and international tourists.
A historic square for the city
The elliptic square, rimmed with landmark buildings owned by big financial groups and not far from the Stock Exchange, has always been a piece of the city’s history. Born as a symbol of the Lombard domination in the 500, the square saw the plague epidemic in 1576. During the fascist period it was renamed under Galeazzo Ciano, and finally, it returned to the old name. Since recently, it was the centre of Milan’s business district. Its decline started in the Eighties when the offices started to vacate. Now, with the banks and insurance companies moving to the skyscrapers in Porta Nuova and CityLife, Cordusio is rising again as the centre of the city’s social life.
Ready in two years
The requalification works on the square and the pedestrian area started a couple of years ago and are not finished yet. The pieces composing the site have been uncovered only recently, revealing requalified buildings which will accommodate several international brands, many of these for the first time in Italy. Several global real estate companies have been competing for the area, from the America Blackstone to Hines and the Chinese fund Fosun. Cordusio is one of the biggest real estate operations of the last years. The buildings had sold very quickly. Those who bought them made a bargain.
“By the end of the operation, prices will have gone from one billion euro to two billion”, stressed Scenari Immobiliari president Mario Breglia who sees in Piazza Cordusio the new Porta Nuova. The surrounding areas will also benefit from the operation. Besides the octagon of Cordusio, the roads nearby will also be requalified. The radius of the action is wide, as works also extend to the opposite side of Piazza Affari and Via Broletto. This street might become an extension of the new Cordusio.
Certainly, this new real estate operation will radically change the entire city as well as the country.
“Milan is now among the top 10 cities worldwide. Hence, being here is a must for investors – notes Breglia -. Moreover, all the players that bet on the area have long-term projects. This is the sign of the value of the city itself and not just of the single buildings”.
Other investors, from large institutional funds to real estate companies, might soon follow the same path.
Starbucks and Blackstone
It’s not only the architectonic and urban requalification of the site to promote Cordusio, but also the big international brands that chose the square to enter the Italian market.
The first step was made by the arrival of Starbucks last September. The American multinational launched its first Italian shop in the old building which was one a post office. It consists of a premium store featuring a reserve roastery and a tasting room, following the same model of its store in Seattle, which will also be replicated in New York. The imposing Palazzo Broggi, covering a surface of 11 thousand Sq m and located at the number one of the square, was bought for 130 million by the American fund Blackstone, and it was requalified shortly after.
Besides this scenic coffee shop, which occupies the square with its tables surrounded by exotic palms, the six floors above the shop were also be restructured for a total surface of 600 Sq m. The objective of the requalification is the implementation of modern offices, with particular attention to energy efficiency. Several large international law firms, financial institutions and banks, along with IT and internet companies expressed their interest in the location.
The former Sorgente building and Hines
Another essential piece to the puzzle will be the opening of the Uniqlo store in September. The Japanese apparel brand’s store was initially expected by spring. The brand is not present in Italy yet, and it’s a mandatory stop for Italian tourists in London, New York and Paris. The store will be located at number two on the square. The building has a surface of 14,200 Sq m, and Hines acquired it for 120 million euro.
The whole building has been renovated: the lower floors of the building will be occupied by shops, while offices will occupy the higher levels for a total surface of 6 thousand Sq m. In the same block of buildings as Uniqlo and Starbucks, Yamamay will open a store for 1,000 Sq m. Besides underwear, the brand will also offer a cafè and a restaurant. The model might also be replicated in other cities.
The new Yamamay store will also be an opportunity to test the new company’s line of home furniture, entering in this way a market where other low-cost fashion brands such as Zara are already active. The building between Via Broletto and Piazza Cordusio is also being renovated. According to the plan, the two buildings will be united, for a total of 6 thousand Sq m distributed over six floors.
The Generali building
Besides Starbucks, the Generali building (11 thousand Sq m) will likely be turned into a shopping centre and a luxury hotel. Some rumours talked about the group Melià. Dates are still to be defined. What is certain is that by 2020 Generali will have finished moving its offices to the Hadid tower in City Life.
The former Unicredit building
Unicredit will move to the Cesar Pelli tower in Piazza Gae Aulenti. The bank sold the 48 thousand Sq m building between Via Broletto and Via Grossi to the Chinese fund Fosun for 345 million euro. The space will likely be reconverted into an upscale restaurant (nearly 3 thousand Sq m on the ground floor). A luxury hotel might occupy the upper floors. The possible candidates are many, including Hilton with the brand Waldorf Astoria, although this rumour has been denied.
It won’t be easy to find a destination to the biggest building facing on the elliptic square. According to Wall Street Italia, the plan for the building might significantly differ from those of the other buildings on the square. Not all the commercial agreements have been completed. However, the offer will be very generous, and it won’t limit only to the commercial area on the ground floor.
We still have to wait a couple of months to know the new owner of Palazzo Broggi. By the first half of 2019, Dea Capital real estate Sgr, whose fund manages the building, is meant to present the related project. The works will start in spring and are expected to end by 2021.
Palazzo building (Cattolica Assicurazioni)
The adjacent Biandrà building, extending for 11 thousand Sq m between Via Grossi and Via Mercanti, went to Cattolica Assicurazioni in 2012 for 100 million euro. At the ground floor, Intesa Sanpaolo has just opened its new branch, featuring an innovative layout. Once the ambitious operations are terminated, Milanese can enjoy a pedestrian area like Time Square in New York.
Source: Wall Street Italia
Translator: Cristina Ambrosi