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Possible breakthrough for Milanosesto. The Hines-Prelios partnership

20 December, Il Sole 24 Ore

The development of the Milanostesto maxi-project might restart soon. The biggest development project in Europe has been waiting for years for the definitive version and its subsequent implementation and completion. We might be at a breakthrough with the arrival of some major partners to re-shape the area between Milan and Monza.

The well-known names that are at the centre of the rumours are those of the American multinational Hines and Prelios. The companies united for the first time in the project for its relaunch and to find capitals and investors. If this partnership is successful, the due diligence may start already at the beginning of the new year.

The Board of Directors of Intesa Sanpaolo has gathered today to approve a new credit line for Milanosesto to fund the completion of the development of Comparto Unione, the park and the land which will be sold to the San Donato group and the buildable area destined to the new construction.

Given the considerable exposure of the bank towards Milanosesto, over 400 million euro, the matter is directly followed by the high management.

According to the rumours, Davide Bizzi, the promoter of the initiative with a 46.69% share (the other quotas are held by Fas Holding with 25.80%, Sorgente with 12.49%, Sesto Futura with 8%, LesCopains with 5% and Barco with 2%), wants to exit the project. Indeed, Milanosesto is such a broad (and challenging) development project that might open to new capitals.

Moreover, there are the financial difficulties of the three Saudi brothers of the group Fawaz Alhokair. The three brothers were initially involved in the project as investors. At the beginning of the year, they were arrested together with other 200 people in an anti-corruption operation ordered by the Prince Mohamed Bin Salman and released upon the payment of a significant bail. As a result, they were forced to suspend the project for the shopping centre in Cascina Merlata.

The project concerns an area of 1.4 million Sq m to requalify the Falck steelworks with a mix of housing, green spaces, a healthcare district (Città della Salute) and a shopping mall. Its difficult start leads to evaluate possible new partners. Meanwhile, Bizzi has kept good relationships with the local authorities and has just signed an agreement for a fourth hospital, besides the Cancer Institute, the Besta hospital and the San Donato group, as well as a hotel.

The Milanosesto Board of Directors gathered about ten days ago to discuss the role of Prelios and Hines as coordinators. Hines is a leading global developer, and it has already implemented Porta Nuova in Milan which it then sold to the Qatar sovereign fund. In the last two years, the American multinational has invested in Italy two billion (15 billion in Europe) in properties to rent or to requalify, especially in Milan.

In 2000 the Falck steelworks were acquired by the Pasini family, then went to Davide Bizzi. He might use an international name such as Hines to relaunch the project, as it happened with Lendlease in Santa Giulia.

Source: Il Sole 24 Ore

Translator: Cristina Ambrosi

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