Global private equity firm The Carlyle Group today announces that it has sold Cassina Plaza, a property located in Cassina de Pecchi (Milan), to a fund managed by the European Real Estate Group at JPMorgan Asset Management.
Cassina Plaza is a business centre formerly known as Centro Direzionale Lombardo located in Cassina de Pecchi, 10 km from Milan near Linate Airport. The business centre consists of six office buildings, four of which belonged to Carlyle for a total leasable area of 40.000 sqm. At the time of acquisition, 60% of the office space was vacant. After two years of proactive asset management 75% of office space is now leased to primary tenants. Carlyle conducted a major renovation project to change the identity into a modern place to work and leased up approximately 15.000 sqm to blue chip tenants including Nokia, Otis and Si-Call (Carta Si Group), Brother and Beckman Coulter.
The transaction was closed by Carlyles Italian real estate team based in Milan. Cassina Plaza was part of a 36 building portfolio (Jupiter) acquired in March 2003 from Ministero dellEconomia e delle Finanze. There are still seven properties in the Jupiter portfolio which are almost fully leased: one in Rome, one in Genova, five in the Milan area.
We are delighted with this transaction. This demonstrates that our strategy to invest in secondary locations can be very successful. The Italian market is very dynamic at the moment and there are numerous opportunities as the current stock needs to be refurbished into more modern and efficient spaces, with high quality services and competitive costs, as required by modern companies, said Robert Hodges, Managing Director The Carlyle Group.
Cassina Plaza was a real opportunity to create value through a proactive asset management strategy, said Barbara Polito, Director and Portfolio Manager of the Jupiter portfolio. We developed our approach by analysing the strengths of the facility, as accessibility to public transport, competitive leases, reasonable operating costs, and the tenants, namely the old clients of the former Centro Direzionale Lombardo. It was critical to be able to relate to the existing tenants to analyse the weak points and improve services, as well as optimise the space occupation and the condition of the office space delivered.
The Carlyle Group announced the closing of Carlyle Europe Real Estate Partners II, its second European real estate fund at 760 million in October 2005. The Italian real estate team have made two portfolio acquisitions in addition to the Jupiter portfolio, including 230 properties acquired from San Paolo IMI in November 2004 and a 26-building portfolio acquired from Beni Stabili in July 2005. The asset management team are continuing to work closely with these portfolios to add value.