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Milan’s CityLife retail district gearing up for November opening

by Giovanna Mancini

CityLife Shopping District will open to the public November 30 and will be the largest urban shopping center in Italy, with about 32,000 square meters of space and a hundred active businesses, targeting 700,000 people. And it is expected to create 800-1.00 new jobs.

When the new shopping center opens its doors, it will mark the ending of the redevelopment of the former area of the Milan Fair, launched over ten years ago and which -- after a difficult start -- has now taken shape. The development is a 100% subsidiary of the Generali insurance group.

The Shopping District will be grouped in three Clusters, in addition to the shopping area: a food area with 20 bars and restaurants inside and out (including Bomaki, Chocolate Chips, California Bakery, That’s Vapore); an entertainment area, with the 1,200 seat cinema multiplex “CityLife Spaziocinema” in partnership with Cinema Anteo; a health and wellness area with fitness facilities, but also an outpatient clinic of the Italian Diagnostic Center.

The names of the fashion and design brands that will occupy the second floor of the Mall (designed by the Zaha Hadid’s architecture firm) and the outdoor promenade are top secret.

What is known however is that the retail offering is positioned on a “premium,” but luxury, level.

The Shopping District, said CityLife CEO  Armando Borghi, is a a key element to make the CityLife residential real estate area surrounding it come alive. It has required a total investment of around €2 billion and extends over 360,000square meters. The neighborhood includes, in addition to the commercial area, three office-use skyscrapers, two residential complexes (for a total of 530 apartments, of which only 80 are still empty) and a park that - once completed, next November - with its 178,000 square meters will be the second largest park in the city.

By the end of the year, Allianz employees will move to the first completed tower, designed by Arata Isozaki (the tallest skyscraper in Italy, 202 meters and 50 feet plans); the Generali tower (Zaha Hadid) will be opened next year, and the release of the last skyscraper, designed by Daniel Libeskind, is scheduled for 2019.

“This is a project of urban redevelopment and therefore, for the retail part, we have created a mix of offerings and services that really benefit both residents and visitors, “said Marco Pellizzari, managing director for the development of Sonae Sierra Italia, the company responsible for managing the shopping district shopping area in partnership with Generali Real Estate.

“Today,” added José Maria Robles, Sonae Sierra Italia’s General Manager for Property Management, “we have closed more than 80% of retail space for business.”