MILAN — Retail veteran Maurizio Borletti set the first stone of a new outlet project in the Republic of San Marino, a micro state surrounded by Italy, on Monday. The Market San Marino Outlet Experience, will comprise 120 stores and the first part of the venue is expected to open in mid-2018. Borletti Group, together with DEA Real Estate Advisor, will develop the outlet of more than 270,000 square feet, investing more than 110 million euros, or $122.5 million at current exchange. Designed by retail architecture and engineering firm One Works, the sustainable building is expected to attract around two million new tourists, create around 400 jobs, and requalify an industrial area.
The Market will be developed in two phases. The first will cover 162,000 square feet and be completed after about 20 months. The second phase will take an additional eight months.
“It’s an ambitious project, realized in a country that offers great opportunities for development,” Borletti said. “The outlets are the only retail segment that is still growing at a double-digit pace and that generates strong satellite turnover in the territory,” he said, underscoring the potential of the project in relaunching the country’s tourism and economy. Former Emanuel Ungaro and Salvatore Ferragamo executive Paolo De Spirt, who cofounded Borletti Group, also attended the cornerstone ceremony in San Marino.
“We are convinced that The Market will become an exclusive shopping destination,” said Luca de Ambrosis Ortigara, founder and chief executive officer of DEA Real Estate Advisor. “The concept of outlet has very much changed in the past few years and the goal today is to propose customers a real day-off experience. San Marino, already an established touristic destination, is for this reason the ideal location thanks to its strategic position close to the Adriatic coast, to the Rimini airport and the highway. These are the characteristics that make the project particularly attractive for international brands in the luxury and high-end range.” The executive has led the Italian start-up of McArthurGlen, opening the outlets in Serravalle — the first in Italy — Barberino and Castel Romano. For the past nine years, he has been on the board of Value Retail as a strategic adviser.
Borletti Group was among the investors that acquired Italian department store chain La Rinascente in 2005 and French department store chain Printemps in 2006. Borletti is a descendant of the founder of La Rinascente. The Italian department store was then sold to Thai group Central Retail Corporation in 2011, and Printemps in 2013 to Divine Investments SA, a Luxembourg-based investment fund backed by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the former emir of Qatar.
In July, the Italian entrepreneur’s Borletti Group completed the acquisition of Grandi Stazioni Retail from Italian state railway company Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane and private investment vehicle Eurostazioni as part of a consortium. Together with French private equity firm Antin Infrastructure Partners and real estate fund manager Icamap, Borletti placed a winning bid of 953 million euros, or $1.06 billion. The GSR concession, valid until 2040, provides exclusive rights to the commercial leasing and advertising spaces of the 14 largest railway stations in Italy, in addition to two in the Czech Republic.