Italy readies for expansion of science and technology niche

Europe’s science and technology real estate sector may still be niche but it now ranks second among the most interesting asset classes by European institutional investors according to Garbe managing director and country head Italy Marco Grassidonio and investment volumes are increasing at around 23% per year.

However, Italy is behind the curve even though Milan is considered a science and technology cluster.

“Italy has strong fundamentals to  attract science and technology companies – as is already  happening – and what we are now  discussing as a ‘niche’ or alternative asset class will, in five to ten  years’ time, become one of the main asset classes together with  residential, office and commercial,” Grassidonio said.

Talking to Real Asset Insight’s Richard Betts he pointed out that this is what occurred in the logistics sector just a few years ago.

“The north of Italy has strong infrastructure – which is important for science and technology – and has a lot of facilities and the possibility of converting entire business parks into  science and technology business campuses.”

He added that many science and pharmaceutical companies are also locating their headquarters there.

Grassidonio said that the sector is an emerging asset class even in the most mature countries. “Probably only the UK is almost mature,” he added, whereas Italy is at the beginning of its science and technology story.  

“But this is typical for the Italian market. It happened the same for the institutional office market, it happened the same for logistics, it is  happening the same for the residential,” Grassidonio said. “We are five to ten years behind the rest of Europe.”

Please click on the video above to watch the full interview or listen to the podcast below.