M&G invests €65 million to expand retail park near Rome

M&G Real Estate is looking beyond the current crisis and betting on bricks-and-mortar retail. The group is investing €65.2 million to expand Market Central Da Vinci, a retail park near Rome, adding Da Vinci Village, another 24 stores over 22,400 sq m.

Da Vinci retail park near Rome

The deal is in line with M&G’s European Property Fund’s strategy to invest in sustainable assets in the best locations in Europe. Da Vinci retail park, which attracts over 10 million visitors a year, has already been certified as “Excellent” by BREEAM.

M&G had acquired Market Central Da Vinci, Italy’s largest retail park, in 2016 for €208 million. It has now decided to expand it to capitalise on its success and create additional value.

“By enlarging the retail park we can offer more choice to consumers in a great location in Italy which has a proven track record,” said Gabriele Inglese, asssociate director Italy, M&G Real Estate. “Every single store has always been let since the park was completed and remained let even during the pandemic.”

The Rome deal will not be the only one: M&G Real Estate said it plans to increase the retail component of its portfolio, buying defensive and high-quality assets such as retail parks in good locations and food retail assets and taking advantage of the opportunities which can now be found in the market.

“In the current context consumers want to feel safe when they go shopping and large retail parks meet that need,” said David Jackson, fund manager, M&G European Property Fund. “Retail parks, especially open-air ones, have proved to be resilient in the face of competition from online shopping and they have performed better than high street retail or shopping centres.”

Retail parks’ strategic positioning and the presence of many different stores make them ideal for click and collect services as well, Jackson said.