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Hines to invest €1 bn in last mile and green logistics in Italy

Hines is betting on “green” logistics assets in Italy. The US group is planning to invest €1 billion over the next two years, focusing on last mile and sustainable warehouses.

Hines plans to buy land where it can build new, modern and high-tech warehouses which the group will continue to manage after they have been leased.  

“Our plan is to create state-of-the-art structures that can take logistics into a new era,” Hines Italy country head Mario Abbadessa told Italian media.

“We will create assets with a concierge and many other services, with charging points for electric vehicles. We will combine traditional logistics with last mile assets, which will use electric vans and scooters to facilitate transport and delivery in congested urban areas.”

Abbadessa wants to introduce the “logistics of the future” to Italy, using technology and sustainable practices to a sector that is expected to grow exponentially in the country, as e-commerce penetration is still low compared to other European countries. During the lockdown period online sales shot up in Italy and the expectation is that they will stay at high levels.

Bologna buy is one of many now expected

The first of what is meant to be a very long list of acquisitions was the purchase last week of a €60 million plot of land in Castel San Pietro, near Bologna, at the heart of one of Italy’s busiest industrial and logistics hubs. On behalf of Hines European Value Fund 2 (HEVF 2), Hines is planning to build two warehouses of 37,000 and 45,000 sq m (pictured above), which will be completed in June 2022.

Hines is now looking at other opportunities worth €200 million around Milan and other strategic areas in the North of Italy. “For the last mile we are interested in Milan, but also Brescia, Verona, Turin and Trento,” Abbadessa said.

The €1 billion for the new real estate investment fund has already been committed by German insurance companies and pension funds. The fund is expected to yield 5-7%.

“In tomorrow’s world most products will be delivered the same day with electric vans and scooters all over the country,” Abbadessa said. “These real estate investments will lead to a reduction in traffic in the big cities, also reducing emissions and pollution.”

Introducing best practice will also mean reducing water use, energy consumption and emissions in the warehouses.