19 October, Il Sole 24 Ore
They aim at Farini. The agreement program signed in June
The international investors are already in action: according to financial sources, the Abu Dhabi sovereign fund offered 70 million to Savills Investment Management to obtain 10% of the old Farini train station. That owned by the company is the only private land of the entire railway station system, the remainder is owned by Ferrovie dello Stato. The land is of small dimensions, but with high strategic value, seen as a way to enter into the operation.
The negotiations are at a good point, and they’re strictly confidential and with no official confirmations. Besides, the real estate management company signed only in June the agreement with the Municipality of Milan, the Region of Lombardy, and Ferrovie dello Stato. The agreement concerns the transformation and requalification of the areas. The partner cannot be changed in the program agreement. But at a certain stage, the Arab investor might be involved in the process that will lead, through long and complex public procedures, to the development of a crucial area of Milan.
Of all the stations, the reconversion of Farini may be the first to start. According to the sources, the international tender for the 620 thousand Sq m of land will be soon launched in the next months by Savills and Ferrovie together. Within the summer then a third-party jury will choose the best masterplan to be publicly discussed. Only at that point, the land will be officially put on the market: who buys it will commission the operational projects.
For what concerns the former Customs House, an access point on the left of the bridge on Via Valtellina that includes also a listed building, its use might be a mix of commercial and residential. For Abu Dhabi, this might be the second property development operation in Milan, after that for the former Inps building in Via Melchiorre Gioia, managed together with Coima led by Manfredi Catella. Whereas potential new acquisitions in the city by the sovereign fund might be speculative, to be subdivided and be hypothetically sold to other investors. On the other hand, Catella, author of the development near Porta Nuova in collaboration with Qatar, has just exited from the negotiation on the Expo area, perhaps to focus on Farini with various Middle Eastern investors. Taking a step back, in June Savills, the company managing the investment fund Olimpia controlled by Kennedy Wilson Europe RE which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, signed the program agreement involving all the seven stations (besides Farini, there are Porta Genova and Porta Romana, the other two favourite assets, then Lambrate, Greco-Breda, Rogoredo, and San Cristoforo). Awaiting the plan to take shape based on the agreement, no urbanistic intervention will be possible. Once the masterplan is chosen, the cards will be revealed. In the background, there is the general requalification project: of the over 1.25 million Sq m surface of the stations, 200 thousand should remain for railway purpose, the remainder will be converted into green areas and public spaces.
Source: Il Sole 24 Ore (by Elisabetta Andreis)
Translator: Cristina Ambrosi