On 27 October IGD presented the requalification work underway at Officine Storiche to the mayor of Livorno, the Town Council and the press during an Open Day that the Company management felt strongly about organizing. “It is only by being very open with the local authorities and public that we will be able to proceed with this ambitious project that is transforming Livorno’s waterfront, as we will be able to count on an active, well-informed collaborative environment”: Roberto Zoia, IGD SIIQ SpA’s Director of Asset Management, Development and Network Management, explained to us.
Where did the idea for an Open Day at the construction site of the Porta a Mare project’s Officine Storiche section come from?
The extensive requalification of what was an industrial area that IGD has undertaken in order to create a new waterfront in Livorno is broad in scope and will take a long time to complete as it covers approximately 10% of the city’s total area. A project, therefore, that will have a big footprint with a positive economic and social impact that will become more tangible over time. As this is a multi-use project, comprised of different areas that will be inaugurated in subsequent phases over time, we thought it might be helpful to present the work underway to local officials before the single section of the project reached completion. Similarly, we believed it was important that the local public had the opportunity to know what the new areas being inaugurated will be able to provide.
What types of properties will be part of the new complex?
As we mentioned, as this is a mixed-use requalification project we imagined a vast range of possible property types: not only commercial spaces, but also hotels, student housing and residences overlooking the marina. Some of the commercial areas are already open. There are also 73 apartments that are already occupied, as well as the historic Palazzo Orlando which was restored and then leased and sold as offices.
What did you point out to the public officials during the Open Day held on October 27th?
We tried to provide an understanding as to the impact this requalification can have on the urban fiber and for the Livornese, also. The more the project meets the needs of the local community and responds to new market trends, the more positive the impact will be. The project was planned originally in 2006, but the pandemic changed people’s needs and preferences completely: just look at how the restaurant business changed in order to meet consumers’ new tastes….As developers of the project, we need to be able to count on the support of the authorities, in order to obtain the permits needed to make the changes to the original plans called for as a result of the new trends.
Which initiatives were designed to involve the city residents?
During three week-ends, between November 2022 and March 2023, the residents of Livorno will have the opportunity to participate, after making a reservation, in guided tours of the Officine Storiche construction site. At the same time, on the same days, we have planned a series of initiatives at areas which are already open, like Piazza Mazzini, including workshops and musical performances. Our goal as developers is to have the local residents follow a path through the work that has been done in order to understand how much attention we pay to environmental and social sustainability, and provide the local community with maximum transparency. We are convinced that it is easier to understand how we do things if you can see how we manage our shopping centers every day; we have to, however, create the opportunities to illustrate how our approach works, including for the areas being requalified, through initiatives like the guided tours of the construction sites. Seeing how the small bricks used of the Officine Storiche building were cleaned one by one and reused in the new retail space, with great respect for the property’s original spirit, will certainly provide a concrete example of the great respect we have for the local heritage. During the week-ends of meetings with residents, we will tell them how IGD studied local preferences carefully in order to design and build structures consistent with their tastes, as much as possible. The Livornese, in fact, have a great love for the sea. This is, for example, behind the creation of the new, increasingly popular, jogging path which winds along the water’s edge.
The Open Day week-ends will last through March. The renewed version of Officine Storiche will, therefore, open in spring 2023?
The work will end early next year, but the area of Officine where the gym will be is slotted to open earlier, in January, in order to present its membership packages and launch the membership campaign.
Is your proposal focused on a specific segment of the population?
The target changes based on the use of the property. In the case of residential units, we have sold around 80% of the units to families as their primary residence and the remaining 20% to investors who plan to rent their units to, for example, mega-yacht crews who have to stay ashore for months while the boats are being repaired and undergoing routine maintenance. The food & beverage businesses are focused on families and young people who enjoy the waterfront area, above all in the evening. The catchment area for the retail businesses, however, is not limited to the perimeter of Livorno: we need to find ways to attract shoppers from the surrounding areas, as well. We shouldn’t forget either that Livorno is an important port for the Tyrrhenian Sea, where already today a number of cruise ships dock. As the docks for the ships are close to our areas, we estimate that each year approximately 900 thousand cruise passengers will transit through the heart of our Porta a Mare project: we will plan an adequate proposal for them, also.