(LONDON) – Hines, the international real estate firm, has successfully signed contracts to acquire the iconic 27-story mixed-use Torre Velasca tower in the center of Milan on behalf of the Hines European Value Fund (HEVF 1).
Located on the Piazza Velasca in the heart of the city’s historic central business district, close to the Duomo di Milano cathedral, Torre Velasca comprises over 20,000 square meters of office, multifamily and retail space. The asset has been acquired from Italian insurance company, Unipol, for an undisclosed price, though a newly incorporated Real Estate Investment Fund that will be managed by Prelios SGR, a leading Italian real estate fund and asset manager.
Hines will embark on a comprehensive refurbishment and modernization program to transform the tower into a high-quality office-led, mixed-use scheme, while leveraging the global firm’s wider placemaking experience to enhance and fully reposition the surrounding piazza.
“The Torre Velasca tower is an historic, landmark building instantly recognizable to all residents and visitors to Milan. This acquisition provides us with a genuinely generational opportunity to breathe new life into the outdated configuration and interior, transforming it into modern, contemporary workspace," said Mario Abbadessa, Hines Italy country head. “The project sits perfectly with our track record of redeveloping and repositioning historic major buildings in the city to trophy asset status and creating core institutional real estate. The Missori district of Milan in which Torre Velasca is located is currently undergoing wholesale regeneration with significant institutional investment, so it’s an exciting time to be part of this evolving and dynamic part of the city.”
“Torre Velasca epitomizes the type of acquisition which has become the hallmark of HEVF 1. A landmark building very strongly located in the heart of a major European commercial and tourist destination, providing the scale and flexibility to leverage the core Hines capabilities and market insight," said Paul White, HEVF 1 fund manager. “We intend to create value through physical improvements, relaunching the destination and leasing activities to attract a strong tenant mix. As always, we are also determined to respect and echo the architectural and cultural significance of this monument and its piazza, and to enhance the community in which it is located.”
The acquisition represents the ninth secured by Hines for HEVF 1, the flagship core plus/value-add fund for which Hines raised €721 million of equity commitments in closings from July 2017 to August 2018, exceeding the original fund target size by over 40%. HEVF 1 has successfully secured a portfolio of investments in Germany, the UK, Denmark, Spain, Italy and Poland within less than two years of closing its first acquisition. With this ninth investment, the fund is effectively fully committed, and Hines is already actively closing equity commitments for the successor fund HEVF 2.
GVA Redilco represented Hines as the lead commercial agent, supported by a wider advisory team of Ashurst, AMMLEX, DLA Piper and EY. Prelios Integra, REAAS, Asti Architetti, as well as FOA Studio Architetti Associati, acted as technical advisors. JLL advised Unipol.
About Hines European Value Fund 1
HEVF 1 is a Euro-denominated, Luxembourg-based investment fund launched in July 2017. Managed by Hines, its objective is to acquire a portfolio of core-plus and value add commercial real estate throughout Europe on behalf of an institutional investor group.
In August 2018 Hines announced the final closing of HEVF 1, with the total fund size exceeding €720 million of equity commitments, surpassing its original target by more than 40%. As the flagship value add fund for Hines in Europe, HEVF 1 has a geographic mandate across the European Union (plus Norway) and flexibility of scope to invest in office, retail, logistics, residential and mixed-use opportunities in primary institutional markets.
Hines is a privately owned global real estate investment firm founded in 1957 with a presence in 219 cities in 23 countries. Hines has approximately $124.3 billion of assets under management, including $63.8 billion for which Hines provides fiduciary investment management services, and $60.5 billion for which Hines provides third-party property-level services. The firm has 148 developments currently underway around the world. Historically, Hines has developed, redeveloped or acquired 1,362 properties, totalling over 449 million square feet. The firm’s current property and asset management portfolio includes 514 properties, representing over 222 million square feet. With extensive experience in investments across the risk spectrum and all property types, and a pioneering commitment to sustainability, Hines is one of the largest and most-respected real estate organizations in the world. Visit www.hines.com for more information.
Since entering Europe in 1991, Hines has grown its European platform to include offices in 16 cities as well as a presence in 47 cities in 12 countries, with €18.2 billion of assets under management in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.