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AXA bets on office and commercial real estate market

by  Evelina Marchesini

AXA Real Estate is confident in Italy’s RE prospects; so much so it has perfected
two further deals in the country, by the usual m.o. of purchasing on behalf of its international clients.

AXA Investment Managers Real Assets has announced it has completed the acquisition of Assago Building from Sireo Immobilienfond: an office complex in the southwestern area of the Milan metropolitan area. Total price tag: approximately €27 million. The building, about ten kilometers from the city center, comprises a gross lettable area of 19,500 square meters spread over five floors above ground, besides its underground car park. The property dates from the 1980s but has gradually been renovated and modernized.

This new acquisition has joined AXA IM Real Assets’ portfolio of Milanese office complexes purchased over the past six months: Torre Beta and two office buildings in via Battistotti Sassi. Not forgetting that last November, AXA acquired a portfolio of assets in northern Italy intended for hospital use, for €180 million.

Alessio Lucentini, Head of Asset Management & Transactions in Italy, Real Assets, told Europe Real Estate that he is confident in the excellent potential of Milan’s office building sector, based on the Italian branch’s experience.

Another recent deal for AXA IM Real Assets focuses on the shopping mall sector, sought after by many international investors. AXA has just completed the acquisition of the Porta Siena shopping center in the Tuscan city of Siena, for €21.5 million. Porta Siena is part of a larger complex, completed in 2007 and including the International University of Siena, offices and public services. The mall attracts 5 million visitors a year and comprises 33 lessees including some major retail brands, spread over an 8,800-square-meter surface.

AXA IM Real Estate considers prime location shopping centers as one of the strengths in global real estate investment: in fact, the Siena deal comes in the wake of a 35% share acquisition of Germany’s Ruhr Park, an equal-share joint venture with Eurocommercial Properties for the Estrembière Shopping Center in France and the purchase of a 50% chunk of Bristol’s Cabot Circus, jointly with Hammerson.

By late September 2015, AXA IM Real Assets boasted a portfolio worth €9.4 billion in retail properties in eleven European cities and 45 shopping malls.