Thanks to a 266 million euro project, Italy will be home to the world's largest therapeutic garden. Approximately three quarters of the funds derive from the ethical redevelopment of some of the hospital's real estate assets, now earmarked for social housing
Credits: La Cura della Notizia
Health turns green and opens up to residents. The new Polyclinic in Milan is coming into being as a hospital that is open and accessible not only to patients and their families, but to the entire city. The ambitious project broke ground in June 2016. It involves rebuilding a 22,000 square metre area where the new hospital wards will be located. This imposing structure comprises two blocks of seven floors each, joined by a three-storey central building that houses the operating theatres. The entire structure has access to two underground levels.
But the biggest surprise is on the roof. Indeed, the world's largest therapeutic garden will be on top of all the buildings, with medicinal trees, therapeutic paths, a vegetable garden and a space for children to play. This green lung in the skies of Milan took inspiration from the High Line in New York, according to the architect who designed the project, Stefano Boeri. A pedestrian tunnel is also planned with services and businesses that will make the new Polyclinic Hospital open and lively, including places designed for relaxation and daily living.
The project required a total investment of 266 million euros. Excluding the contribution from the Lombardy Region (30 million euros) and the Ministry of Health (36 million euros), all of the other funds came from the ethical redevelopment of the Polyclinic's real estate assets. Pursuing a dual objective – to manage the properties efficiently and to secure sources of funding for the new hospital – the Polyclinic set up the Fondo Immobiliare Ca’ Granda with the support of InvestiRE SGR and in partnership with CDP Group; the Polyclinic’s real estate was then transferred to the fund.
As part of the operation to establish the fund, the Polyclinic simultaneously sold some of its shares to the Fondo Investimenti per l’Abitare (FIA), which is managed by CDP Investimenti SGR. The sale immediately brought in 105 million euros needed to begin construction on the new hospital. The remaining 95 million euros will come from the ongoing extraction of value from its real estate assets.
Dedicated to social housing, the Fondo Immobiliare Cà Granda has 1,390 properties in 65 buildings located almost entirely in the city of Milan that are worth more than 320 million euros. The plan developed by the fund management company InvestiRE SGR in accordance with the investors (Polyclinic, CDP Investimenti SGR and Fondazione Cariplo) first of all calls for the renovation of the buildings. This will contribute to improving living conditions by transforming old buildings into environmentally friendly real estate. The modernisation work will be accompanied by a mobility plan – currently underway – shared with the current tenants for the gradual transfer of some tenants into the first units that are renovated. Once fully renovated, the majority of the properties will go towards boosting the stock of social housing, with special attention given to the most vulnerable amongst the current tenants. Furthermore, the redevelopment plan involves the creation of a social service network: assistance and guidance for disadvantaged groups and the reinstatement of courtyards as common areas (play areas for children, gardening, leisure activities).
The construction work for the new Polyclinic is well underway: the first stone is expected to be placed in 2018 and inauguration is scheduled for 2022. Thanks to the support of the CDP Group, the Ospedale Maggiore of Milan can complete a historic project: building a new, modern, accessible hospital with financing from a social housing fund that will also result in the redevelopment of its entire real-estate portfolio.
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