Dario Nardella: a Firenze 750.000 mq da riconvertire

Italia, Firenze • Dario Nardella è da pochi mesi il nuovo sindaco di Firenze e subito ha presentato alcuni progetti di investimento alla fiera Expo Real di Monaco grazie alla promozione di Invest In Tuscany, della Regione Toscana, che favorisce l’arrivo di investimenti di larga scala sul territorio toscano. Il Comune di Firenze possiede già un regolamento edilizio ed un piano strutturale e si appresta ad approvare il regolamento urbanistico attuativo. “Il contesto delle regole di pianificazione è certo”, secondo il sindaco, e la promozione anche sui mercati internazionali può partire con basi solide. Un piano urbanistico “a volume zero” che ha lo scopo di trasformare l’immenso patrimonio immobiliare della città, storica, d’arte, turistica ma con vocazione anche industriale e produttiva. Parlando di immobili da riqualificare, ci sono 750.000 mq di immobili pubblici e privati che possono essere riconvertiti con le destinazioni già indicate, e con un tempo stimabile chiaramente grazie alla semplificazione amministrativa. Tre fattori chiave secondo Nardella, per valorizzare tutto il patrimonio immobiliare pubblico italiano: la creazione di una regia unica per evitare conflitti tra troppi poteri decisionali, una strategia unitaria per valorizzare le grandi aree urbane, servono procedure semplici e chiare per gli investitori. “Non è la complessità dell’investimento o la durata” ma è l’incertezza a frenare gli investimenti. A Firenze 5 mesi fa è stato firmato un accordo con l’Agenzia del Demanio e il Ministero della Difesa per il recupero e la valorizzazione di 8 caserme (totale 160.000 mq), operazione che era bloccata da vincoli burocratici.


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Italy Makes Property Investment Changes That Helped Spain

Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) — Italy’s steps to transform its real estate investment trust industry mirror changes made by Spain that helped attract foreign investors including Bill Gross and George Soros.

The Italian changes include lifting the maximum stake a single investor can hold in a REIT, known as a SIIQ in Italy, to 60 percent from 51 percent, according to a decree published in the state bulletin on Sept. 12. It also reduces the amount of recurring rental income the company must distribute to investors to 70 percent from 85 percent.

“Italy’s government has clearly had an eye on the robust health of the French REIT sector and how the changes to the regime in Spain and the launch of the structure in Ireland have spawned a series of successful IPOs,” Philip Charls, chief executive officer of the European Public Real Estate Association, said by e-mail. “This is an encouraging step.”

Reviving Italy’s slumping property market is key to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s plans to sell assets including publicly held real estate to bring in revenue as the country tries to trim its 2.2 trillion euros of debt. Italy may fail to achieve its fiscal targets for this year after the country’s economy unexpectedly contracted in the second quarter and entered a new recession, the European Central Bank said last week.

The Italian rule changes “are clear and very welcome,” Aldo Mazzocco, chief executive officer of Italian REIT Beni Stabili SpA, said by e-mail. “These are very important decisions that align Italy with the best European real estate markets.”

Italian commercial property transactions dropped 7.3 percent in 2013 compared to the prior year, according to data compiled by the Economy Ministry. The data excludes real estate used for industry and services.

Capital Gains

Under the new REIT legislation, 50 percent of capital gains must be distrubuted within 24 months of the year that they are realized, according to the state bulletin. Changes take effect immediately and the decree will go to the Italian parliament for ratification in the next 60 days.

Spain reduced the tax burden for REIT investors starting last year to boost investment after real estate values fell more than 40 percent from their 2007 peaks. Pacific Investment Management Co.’s Gross, Soros’s Quantum Partners LP and Paulson & Co. head John Paulson have since taken stakes in Spanish REITs that have staged IPOs in recent months.

Investment in Spanish commercial real estate more than doubled in the first half from a year earlier to 3.23 billion euros, according to data compiled by CBRE Group Inc. Investment for the year will reach around 7.5 billion euros, a figure last seen at the peak of Spain’s real estate boom in 2006 and 2007, said Patricio Palomar, director of research and investment strategy at CBRE Spain.


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Italy Seeks to Ease REIT Rules to Attract $1.3 Billion a Year

Italy is considering steps to make real estate investment trusts more profitable as it seeks to attract 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) a year to a market that has failed to gain popularity since its 2006 creation.

The Economic Development Ministry proposed cutting the size of dividends REITs must distribute and easing rules for stock market listings, according to a draft bill. The ministry aims to increase the number of REITs to seven from two and raise their combined assets to 11.1 billion euros from 6.1 billion euros. The proposal hasn’t been scheduled for discussion in Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s cabinet.

The proposed changes are part of a wider package of measures designed to improve productivity and increase foreign investment in Italy. A bigger REIT market may boost Letta’s plan to sell 1.5 billion euros of state real estate assets over three years.

“REITs are seen as an indispensable vehicle for the state privatizations coming up,” said Francesco Galietti, founder of research company Policy Sonar in Rome. The creation of new REITs may help the government get better prices when it sells its buildings, he said.

REITs, which trade on stock exchanges, provide tax breaks for their owners in return for guarantees that a set amount of their profit is distributed to shareholders. The specifics vary from country to country and the Italian ministry seeks align its rules more closely with France, which has 37 REITs with a combined market value of $68 billion, according to a study by the European Public Real Estate Association. The U.K. has 23 REITs with a total market value of $49 billion.

Rulebook Needed

“Professional investors must be assured profitability and a rulebook” that’s in line with European peers, the ministry said in the draft. “The property market’s efficiency, and especially in the non-residential segment, depends in large part on the presence of institutional investors.”

The proposal includes cutting the minimum company stake that must be publicly traded to 25 percent from 35 percent and raising the maximum holding by a single investor to 60 percent from 51 percent. The changes would make Italy’s rules similar to those in France and Germany, the ministry said. The plan would also lower the dividend requirement to 70 percent of earnings from 85 percent, allowing REITs to reinvest more of their profit.

Struggling Market

Regulatory changes alone may not be enough to invigorate an industry that has struggled compared with other European countries. Beni Stabili SpA (BNS), the bigger of the two Italian REITs, had a market value of 970 million euros at the end of June, about 43 percent of its net asset value of 2.28 billion euros. Unibail-Rodamco SE (UL), France’s largest REIT, traded at about 125 percent of its NAV on June 30, while French No. 2 Klepierre SA (LI) was at about 107 percent.

Italian REITs have borrowed too much and failed to attract significant investment from Italian insurers and pension funds, said John Lutzius, managing director with Green Street Advisors in London.

“A significant portion of the failure of Italian REITs to grow is due to self-inflicted wounds,” Lutzius said in an interview. “For the right management team and the right incentives, it’s a very strong platform and an interesting way to play the Italian market.”

The Italian property market has contracted since the financial crisis as two recessions curbed investment and bank lending. Non-residential transactions in 2012 were 49 percent lower than the peak in 2006 and inflation-adjusted prices fell 8.9 percent in that period, Bloomberg Newscalculated based on data from national statistics institute Istat, the Economy Ministry and the Bank of Italy. Transactions are expected to slide 6.8 percent in 2013 and prices are forecast to slip 5.6 percent, Nomisma Institute said in a September report.


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