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Prada Holding Invests in Milanese Former Railway Yard
November 12, 2020
MILAN — Prada Holding SpA has teamed with real estate companies Covivio and Coima SGR to acquire the Scalo Porta Romana former railway yard in Milan.
Specifically, the public call for bids was won by the “Porta Romana” fund that the three parties created and which is managed by Coima with an offer of 180 million euros.
Located next to Fondazione Prada, the strategic Scalo Porta Romana area covers 20 hectares, or almost 50 acres, and will contain accommodations for the Olympic and Paralympic athletes competing in the 2026 Winter Olympic Games to be held in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo. After the Games, the village will be reconverted into social housing structures and accommodation for university students.
In coming months an international competition will be launched to select the master plan for the project. According to a statement released Wednesday, Coima will develop the residential structures and the Olympic Village while Covivio will build offices and services.
As for Prada Holding, the company will mainly oversee the re-qualification of a public park — set to cover half the surface of the former railway yard — but also establish a building housing laboratories and offices to extend its existing activities in the area.
The investment builds on the influence Prada is having on the southern part of Milan. The opening of Fondazione Prada in 2015 paved the way for real estate construction, coworking venues, exhibition spaces, restaurants and music events, which helped rev up the district and draw locals and tourists in what was once known for being an industrial zone.
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“Twenty years ago, Prada Group decided to build its own business center and a public cultural complex in the neighborhood overlooking Via Brembo — Via Lorenzini, which today houses the Prada Foundation,” said Patrizio Bertelli, main shareholder of Prada Holding, which controls Prada SpA.
“For several years, looking out from the terraces of the museum, we admired the large space of the disused railway station, remembering the history of industrial Milan, in the hope that its memory would not be lost. For this reason, when Ferrovie [Italiane, the Italian state railway company] decided to dismantle the area, we took action to find partners who would share with us the purpose of preserving the harmony of the spaces, enriching the life of the neighborhood — a purpose for which we decided to participate in this great venture.”
Coima and Covivio have also been present already in the area with buildings for residential, commercial and cultural purposes. For instance, Covivio has developed the Symbiosis business district, which counts Fastweb, Boehinger Ingelheim and the ICS International school among its tenants.
“This project is totally in line with our group’s desire to keep Milan at the center of our investment strategy and to increase the percentage of A-grade assets in our portfolio,” said Alexei Dal Pastro, chief executive officer of Covivio Italy. “Our goal is to develop one of the best destinations in the city with a contemporary spirit making Milan a place where people, spaces, opportunities and ambitions are strongly connected. A project consistent with Covivio’s approach toward sustainable urban regeneration that can return value to the city over time, improving the quality of life and well-being of people who live and work there.”
The public contest for the purchase of the area was launched at the beginning of the year by Gruppo FS Italiane — which controls the Italian state railway company — and seven non-binding offers by 20 operators were presented over the last nine months.
The whole re-qualification initiative is part of an agreement signed in 2017 by the Lombardy region and Milan’s municipality with FS Italiane, which committed to repurpose seven disused railway yards in the city through environmentally friendly and socially useful projects.