Public-private partnership to create 300 senior flats in Rome

A new public-private partnership will create a senior housing development in Rome with 300 apartments in nine separate buildings aimed at self-sufficient residents of 65 years of age or more. The initial investment of €130 million will create Spazio Blu, a pilot project, with a plan to build more in future in a very under-served market.

INPS (Italy’s National Institute for Social Security) has teamed up for the first time with CDP Real Asset (Italy’s development bank), Investire Sgr, a private asset manager, and Policlinico Gemelli, the largest hospital in Rome.

Giancarlo Scotti, CEO, CDP Real Asset

“With this project we add another ‘S’, senior housing, to our involvement in student accommodation and social housing,” said Giancarlo Scotti, CEO, CDP Real Asset. “Our strategy now is to push ahead with senior housing, an asset class that needs to be strengthened in Italy. Demand for independent accommodation for over-65s that caters to their needs is growing fast across the country.”

The existing cluster of residential buildings, owned by INPS and managed by Investire Sgr, will be repurposed to be suitable for older people and many amenities will be added, such as areas for socialising and exercising, a cinema, a library and an infirmary in every apartment block.

The complex in the Camilluccia area of Rome is situated less than a kilometre from the Policlinico Gemelli, and the hospital’s doctors and specialised nurses will be on hand to provide home care to residents. High-tech telemedicine and remote consultations will also be available. The aim is to prevent and avoid the need to go to hospital, reducing the pressure on the health system.

Crucially, the nine buildings will be surrounded by other apartment blocks where families and young professionals live, which will ensure the neighbourhood remains intergenerational and that seniors will be able to interact and socialise with people of different ages and will not become lonely and isolated. Local residents have agreed to the scheme.

“This innovative initiative sees seniors as a resource to be valued rather than marginalised and aims to improve their quality of life, offering activities and exercise, social interaction, medical care and spaces specifically designed for them,” said Valeria Vittimberga, director general, INPS. “The cooperation with other institutions will allow us to exchange best practice.”

After this first pilot project, the plan is to roll out the Spazio Blu model across Rome and across Italy.

“This public-private partnership puts together financial capital and expertise, an established track record in residential assets and social care and the best medical care available,” said Dario Valentino, CEO, Investire Sgr. “The package of services available will improve older people’s daily lives.”

The name Spazio Blu is the Italian for “blue zone”, a term used in gerontology to indicate areas of the world where life expectancy is significantly higher than the average. These areas are currently in Okinawa, Japan; Ogliastra, Sardinia; Icaria, Greece and Nicoya, Costa Rica.