The Carlyle Group - CEREP III strengthens European retail portfolio with first Italian acquisition (EUR/IT)

Global private equity firm The Carlyle Group, has signed a preliminary agreement to acquire the company that owns the retail development Le Terrazze di Vado, which is currently under construction in the municipality of Vado Ligure, in the province of Savona, Italy.

The acquisition will be the first in Italy by The Carlyle Group on behalf of its latest European real estate fund, Carlyle Europe Real Estate Partners III (CEREP III). It draws on Carlyle's experience of investing in and developing important European retail assets such as the ongoing progress it continues to make with its Freeport outlet mall portfolio and the recent acquisition of The Mall portfolio in the UK, where it has also identified a number of opportunities to create value.

Carlyle believes that, despite the current economic uncertainty, there remains strong mid and long term demand from both retailers and consumers for large scale high quality retail projects such as this, particularly in regions where there is little competition. Several local and international retailers have expressed an interest in letting units in the shopping center, including Decathlon which has already signed an agreement for 3,000 m² of retail space.

Expected to cover approximately 21,000 m² of gross lettable area (GLA), Le Terrazze di Vado is part of a wider project to redevelop the coastal strip of Vado Ligure, in the region between Savona and Bergeggi. The catchment area, amounting to about 275 km², extends across the entire Savona province and its population of about 123,000 people.

With the opening expected in summer 2009, it will accommodate approximately 60 retail units on two levels. The development has a spacious architectural style with a number of design features, including terraces and outdoor bridges.

Construction of the project, including marketing of the space, is being managed by Global RE Sol, a company which specialises in implementing real estate developments for the retail sector.

"Le Terrazze di Vado is an exciting investment opportunity," states Guido Audagna, Managing Director of The Carlyle Group. "It combines the qualities of a state-of-the-art retail project with highly innovative design. It also has an attractive geographical location and, as a result, we expect we will continue to see strong interest from potential tenants, as evidenced by the pre-let to Decathlon. This investment represents a further example of Carlyle's strategy in Europe of making long term investments in well located retail centers with good catchment areas."

Source: Financial Dynamics

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