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26 October, Il Foglio

Who the LendLease developers are and how much they’re worth, ready to take Arexpo and Santa Giulia

Why must be the Australians to remodel a good part of the city hinterland while Italians have the most beautiful skyscraper in the world (the Vertical Forest) that has been already copied in other cities in the world? That would be the question to ask ourselves when putting together the name of LendLease and two of the most important urban projects in Milan. The projects in question are the “eternal” (considered the time since the start of the works) Santa Giulia, where the three towers of Sky Italia headquarters are, and the surface occupied in 2015 by the Expo. The future of these two projects passes through Sidney. Regarding the former Expo space, now managed by Arexpo, the group represented in Italy by Andrea Ruckstuhl, heading the EMEA division (very hard finding his interviews) defeating, at least this is how it looks like, the team Stam-Vitali (the team was also competing for the Portello area where Barbara Berlusconi wanted to build the Milan FC stadium). For what concerns the development of Santa Giulia, the agreement with Risanamento is coming to a conclusion regarding the master plan for 400 thousand Sq m that could guarantee, among residential, services, and commercial activities, once completed and rented, something like 2.5 billion earnings (against costs for 1.3 billion). Two remarkable achievements for a company that nobody knew before in the Italian real estate market. Moreover, LendLease might also compete for the former train stations once the Municipality of Milan will have defined the procedure. In that case, the victory will be triple.

Who are these developers from Australia? We know very little about their man, Ruckstuhl, born in Como in 1971, also because he’s been working for the company only since 2005, first from Montecarlo, then from the European headquarters in London. Before then, he worked for an engineering company between Italy and Brazil. He started his career with Permasteelisa, a jewel of the Italian industry, a global leader in architectural steel and glass facades, that was acquired years ago by a foreign company.

But LendLease is not that new to the Italian market. It’s enough said that the first signs of its presence are dated back to 2001 when the very powerful Pirelli Real Estate (Pirelli real estate division now Chinese property), guided by Carlo Puri Negri (now Aedes president, together with the king of outlets Giuseppe Roveda) made a strategic agreement for the funding and the implementation of major works. Many words were spent at the time by the involved parties. But that translated into nothing as a matter of fact, and the story was forgotten. But the Australians managed to complete the restructuring of the hospital Spedali Civili in Brescia (for a total of 36 million euro), as well as the management of the construction site for the renovation of the hospital Ospedal Grando in Treviso, without forgetting the management of the famous Hotel Gallia in Milan property of the sheik of Qatar. There have been 18 projects that seen the Australian company involved in various roles, among which the Armani Hotel in Corso Manzoni, the Freccia Rossa shopping centre in Brescia, the luxury district in City Life always in Milan, besides having supervised and coordinated the design of the infrastructures for the Olympic games in Turin in 2006. The most ambitious project is the Eco Village which will rise in 2030 on a surface of over 500 thousand Sq m in Rome. Always in Rome, LendLease is participating to the team of professionals with the task of design the new Roma FC stadium.

In any case, the name LendLease is a guarantee. Next year, the group will celebrate 60 years of activity, with 12 thousand employees all over the world and development projects for a value around 50 billion between Chicago, Melbourne, London, Kuala Lumpur, and indeed Milan. Even if, the Italian branch has a turnover of only 8 million so far. In the meanwhile, the newco for the local development has been established and the operating company for the Santa Giulia construction works (together with Risanamento) has been appointed.

Source: Il Foglio

Translator: Cristina Ambrosi

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