A joint venture between Hines and Blue Noble has acquired the former Teatro Comunale di Firenze (Municipal Theatre) site in central Florence from Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), via its Future Living property fund managed by Savills Investment Management SGR SpA, for an undisclosed price. The joint venture plans to develop a serviced apartment complex in Florence.
The acquisition marks Hines’ and Blue Noble’s third investment in the “living” sector in Italy, and follows the acquisition of two student accommodation sites in Milan in 2018, via Giovenale and via Ripamonti, which will together deliver around 1,300 student beds within close proximity of the Bocconi University. Hines and Blue Noble continue to assess further opportunities for the joint venture in major Italian cities, including in Rome, Florence and Venice as well as Milan.
The anticipated development of the former theatre site aims to provide serviced apartment units across one, two and three-bed configurations along with modern spaces and services, including common areas, retail, gym and parking.
Located on Corso Italia, the serviced apartment complex project in Florence is a 10-minute walk from Santa Maria Novella and 15 minutes from Santa Maria del Fiore. The final mix of serviced apartments will be destined partly for sale and partly for rent.
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Development of the new scheme is anticipated to commence by mid-2020 with completion expected by the end of 2022.
“Florence is an important market for us as we target the residential rental sector, which we believe has major potential for growth, and the project offers a housing model we would like to bring to other cities in Italy. Cities like Florence have a lack of quality housing for rent and our aim is to respond to this need with a development built to the highest standards of energy sustainability and attention to the environment,” said Mario Abbadessa, Italy country head for Hines.
“We are very pleased to confirm the acquisition of our third “living” themed investment in Italy. As investor and portfolio manager, Blue Noble is delighted to work with the very strong team at Hines Italy to bring forward another complex, landmark, project, in an irreplaceable city center location. Florence is a city with immense historical and cultural significance, but which faces the challenges of providing modern and sustainable accommodation for rent. We aim to create an oasis of tranquility in the heart of this bustling tourist center and believe that the prospects for this compelling investment opportunity are extremely strong,” added Paul Forshaw, CEO of Blue Noble.