Qatar could acquire Milan’s newly built Porta Nuova business district

Qatar is in talks to buy some or all of Milan’s newly built Porta Nuova business district as Italy’s economic crisis squeezes its U.S. developer, several sources have told Reuters. The project has been developed by U.S. based Hines Group and is estimated to have cost over 1.8 billion euros,  with completion next year. Hines has confirmed that half the 370 apartments have been sold for an average of 1.5 million euros and 55 percent of the 130,000 square metres of offices have been let to Unicredit Bank.

The 3.5 billion euros which Qatar spent on European real estate in the 12 months to mid-August 2012 was the equivalent of six weeks’ revenue from the country’s liquefied natural gas exports, according to Reuters calculations.

Porta Nuova would fit with the Gulf state’s track record of investing in well-appointed office blocks. According to Thomson Reuters data, it owns about 29 percent of Songbird Estates, the majority owner of Canary Wharf Group, which controls the London financial district of the same name.

Porta Nuova District, Milan (Unicredit Tower)