CitizenM joins forces with Antirion to enter Italian hotel market

Dutch hotel specialist CitizenM has partnered with Italian asset manager Antirion Sgr to launch a new investment fund focused on Italian hotel properties.

The vehicle, targeting affordable luxury hotel properties, plans to build up a portfolio of several assets – existing properties or redevelopment opportunities - focused on the largest Italian cities and particularly Rome and Milan. Although the size of the fund was kept confidential, PropertyEU understands that the vehicle will hit a three-digit volume in the short term.

The fund has made the first acquisition with the purchase of a historic 7,000 m2 asset in front of the Tiber island from a fund managed by Investire Sgr and invested by the Italian pension fund for journalists, INPGI. The price amounts to just under €30 mln.

The six-storey asset designed by Eugenio Montuori and built in the 1950s was previously the head office of the Ordine dei giornalisti and is currently let to the Fatebenefratelli hospital. It is set to be redeveloped to offer around 160 hotel rooms.

The operation marks the first Italian hotel for CitizenM, which was set up in 2008 and has since been expanding across the globe with around 20 hotels at present. Last year, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund bought a 25% stake in the firm, valuing the business at €2 bn. Founding investors are KRC Capital, the investment vehicle of entrepreneur Rattan Chadha, and Dutch pension fund APG.

‘Italy plays an important role in the next phase of citizenM's global expansion,’ said CitizenM’s CEO Klaas van Lookeren Campagne. ‘We are excited to start this collaboration with Antirion, which ensures immediate access to a highly competitive market and the resources necessary to develop quality assets, together with a qualified team with whom we share the same values and objectives.’

Ofer Arbib, CEO of Antirion added: ‘We are proud to accompany CitizenM's entry into Italy, a disruptor in the global hotel industry, which combines proven guest satisfaction with considerably higher investment returns than any other traditional upscale hotel. Thus we confirm our partnership with international companies that make innovation their business model. We also believe that this investment now represents, for Italy, the capital and the tourism sector, a clear indication of confidence and a signal that pushes us to look and plan the near future with optimism.’

Colliers REMS was entrusted with the property management of the property.

Antirion is strongly active in the hotel sector with three major hotel development projects in Rome together with Enpam, the Italian pension fund for doctors. In late 2019 the Italian asset manager spent €190 mln to buy the historic headquarters of bank BNL in Rome's Via Veneto from landlord BNP Paribas' BNL arm.

The 26,700 m2 property is expected to become a five-star luxury hotel with up to 180 rooms. A new hotel operator for the asset is expected to be announced in the near future.

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