Mar 03, 2022

Certosa District Regeneration: Realstep and Jamestown Partner to Revitalize Milan Neighborhood as Center of Culture and Innovation

Community-focused redevelopment includes new and reimagined office, retail, and greenspaces, as well as neighborhood-wide event programming

Among the first initiatives from 25th to 27th of March, Milano Graphic Festival, the new widespread festival dedicated to graphic design, illustrations, and visual cultures

Certosa District exterior with colorful mural and midrise building facade

Milan, March 3, 2022 - RealStep, the Italian real estate developer specialized in urban regeneration of industrial sites, and global real estate firm Jamestown today announced a partnership to revitalize Milan’s Certosa neighborhood as a vibrant center of culture and innovation. The multi-dimensional regeneration project – to be known as the Certosa District – includes new and reimagined office, retail, and open greenspaces, as well as neighborhood-wide event programming.

The community-focused regeneration project will preserve the area’s history and character while fostering a vibrant neighborhood and stimulating job creation and economic opportunity in the area, supporting Milan’s 15-minute city model.

“RealStep currently manages more than 75.000 square meters in the District; we started investing in the Certosa District more than 10 years ago with La Forgiatura, a disused industrial area, today a 30.000-square-meter unique integrated campus fully regenerated which maintains its historical heritage and occupies more than 1.500 employees,” said Stefano Sirolli, CEO of RealStep Sicaf. “With the experience gained in transforming all major industrial sites in the Tortona district for more than 20 years of investments and by partnering with Jamestown in revitalizing the neighborhood as a center of culture and innovation, we will continue to be focused and invest in the Certosa District.”

“The Certosa District will offer a new perspective on old Milan, melding its industrial heritage with its innovative future: a distinctly local neighborhood with a global mindset,” said Michael Phillips, President of Jamestown. “The sustainable redevelopment will feature a dynamic retail ground plane and be intentionally designed and curated to encourage a sense of discovery—for both a local and international community.”

The regeneration currently includes the revitalization and redevelopment of several industrial complexes, which includes the two former properties of Sandvik and the former headquarters of Koelliker, more than 40.000 square meters of existing warehouse and industrial buildings. The properties are owned and managed by RealStep. The redevelopment will maintain portions of the existing industrial buildings while adding more than 15.000 square meters of new-built office.

The Certosa District regeneration project also includes the redevelopment of Pennellificio, a 3,000-square-meter, four-story building located at Via Varesina, 173 that includes converting the basement, ground floor, sheds, and courtyard to retail and food and beverage uses, and repositioning the upper floors as modern loft office.

Ongoing neighborhood-wide event programming, including vintage fairs, industry workshops, and public art installations, will also be part of the regeneration project. The programming will be aimed at creating a distinct sense of place and driving connection between businesses, residents, and visitors throughout the District.

Later in March, the Certosa District with co-anchor the first Milano Graphic Festival, celebrating visual art in partnership with the cultural leaders of Milano. The festival, which is curated by Francesco Dondina, will have one of its two main hubs in Certosa: the Certosa Graphic Village. A temporary performative space of over 3,000 square meters where talks, workshops, and installations will activate a reflection on the regeneration of the neighborhood in the name of graphic design and will personally involve professionals, students, artists, residents of the neighborhood and beyond.

The ground floor retail of the two former Sandvik sites will also drive continuity between the developments and wider neighborhood and include a diverse assortment of food and beverage purveyors. Such regeneration will also include the revitalization of more than 10.000 square meters of greenspaces adjacent to the properties.

The regeneration project will expand upon the already active office campus, La Forgiatura in via Varesina 162, developed and managed by RealStep. The sustainable office campus has attracted dynamic businesses to the neighborhood, including Medtronic, Zeiss, VF, UCB Pharma, Sandvik, Schuco, Schaeffler, DesignTech and Expression Parfumées.

Certosa District will become an important multifunctional district, capable of interacting with the urban and social fabric, and acting as a strong link between Porta Nuova and MIND thanks to Stazione Certosa and Milan's future Circle Line. The district aims to become a reference point for emerging graphics over time, thanks to the involvement and attraction of new talents, focusing on the role of creativity as an activator of well-being and visual innovation. Among the first steps in this direction was the desire to enrich the neighborhood with the large mural over 57 meters long - entitled When the City Changes You Look at its Colours - inaugurated last November in via Varesina 162 right outside La Forgiatura on a project by the graphic studio CamuffoLab with SIGNS, has quickly become a symbol of regeneration and creativity for the District.

The different projects have been entrusted to several architects such as Giuseppe Tortato of Studio Tortato Architetti, Marco Claudi of MLA Architettura, and AG&P as landscape designer. The Studio Bossi as well as ESA Engineering were retained for the project management and construction supervision. MEP System was retained for structural design to guarantee the quality and efficiency of the buildings.

RealStep is known for its regeneration of more than the 250,000-square-meter Tortona District, which today represents one of the largest areas in the world related to art, fashion, and design. RealStep have been active in the Certosa District since 2008. In the partnership with Jamestown, RealStep is the owner, developer, and asset manager, and is acting on behalf of its shareholders.

The Certosa District regeneration partnership with RealStep is Jamestown’s first project in Italy and part of the firm’s ongoing expansion in Europe. Last year, Jamestown acquired JQOne, a 48,000-square-meter office building located in eastern Lisbon. The firm also secured a mandate to manage a portfolio of properties across Europe on behalf of one of its institutional investment partners and co-investors, E.ON Pension Trust, the pension fund for one of the largest German energy companies.

In 2020, Jamestown purchased two buildings in Amsterdam and an office asset consisting of three buildings in Cologne, Germany. In 2019, Jamestown purchased the iconic Groot Handelsgebouw in Rotterdam, one of the largest mixed-use buildings in the Netherlands. With more than 38 years of experience in the international market, Jamestown has a long-term ownership and management perspective and is well known in the industry for its market discipline and mission of revitalizing historic spaces and emblematic buildings into mixed-use innovation hubs and community centers.

About RealStep SICAF:

RealStep is a real estate investment, development and management company specializing in the regeneration of disused industrial buildings and areas of Milan. Over the course of the last 25 years, RealStep has developed more than 330,000 sqm of real estate and is best known for catalysing the transformation of the Tortona area of the city from forgotten warehouses into a destination for renown fashion brands, as well as La Forgiatura in Certosa, the first 100% carbon-free, corporate campus. Driven by the principles of low environmental impact and energy efficiency, with a focus on the creation of destinations with a high quality of life for end users, RealStep work includes iconic projects such as the former Richard Ginori and the former General Electric, the new location for Hotel Now and

About Jamestown:

Jamestown is a global, design-focused real estate investment and management firm with a 38-year track record and mission to create places that inspire. Since its founding in 1983, Jamestown has executed transactions in excess of $35 billion. As of December 31, 2021, Jamestown has assets under management of $13 billion and a portfolio spanning key markets throughout the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. Jamestown employs more than 400 people worldwide with headquarters in Atlanta and Cologne, and offices in Amsterdam, Bogotá, Boston, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Milan, New York, San Francisco, and Washington. Current and previous projects include One Times Square and Chelsea Market in New York, Industry City in Brooklyn, Ponce City Market in Atlanta, Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, the Innovation and Design Building in Boston, and Groot Handelsgebouw in Rotterdam. For more information, visit