BFF – the largest independent specialty finance in Italy and the leading name for the management and non-recourse factoring of trade receivables due from the Public Administrations in Europe, for securities services and payment services in Italy – has signed an agreement for the purchase and development of a site, owned by Fondazione Fiera Milano, covering a surface area in excess of 3,000 m2 and located in front of Pavilions 3 and 4 of FieraMilanoCity, in the Portello district, with a view to erecting a new building with an above-ground constructed surface area of around 9,000 m2 (7000 m2 gross floor area) to serve as the Bank’s new headquarters.
The agreement, signed by Massimiliano Belingheri, CEO of BFF, and Enrico Pazzali, Chair of Fondazione Fiera Milano, is an integral part of the project to regenerate and redevelop one of the historic areas of Milan.
The new headquarters will be located in the zone adjacent to Pavilions 3 and 4 of FieraMilanoCity, in the Portello district.
Sustainability and art will be among the distinctive features of the new HQ, designed by Architects Paolo Brescia e Tommaso Principi of OBR, Open Building Research.
Milan, 2 February, 2022 – BFF – the largest independent specialty finance in Italy and the leading name for the management and non-recourse factoring of trade receivables due from the Public Administrations in Europe, for securities services and payment services in Italy – has signed an agreement for the purchase and development of a site, owned by Fondazione Fiera Milano, covering a surface area in excess of 3,000 m2 and located in front of Pavilions 3 and 4 of FieraMilanoCity, in the Portello district, with a view to erecting a new building with an above-ground constructed surface area of around 9,000 m2 (7000 m2 gross floor area) to serve as the Bank’s new headquarters.*
The building will be completed by the end of the first half of 2024 and will welcome the 500+ employees currently working in Milan. The new building, which will be named “Casa BFF” (BFF House), will form part of the gradual process of renewal of the Group’s workplaces, already under way for the Spanish offices in Madrid (2020), at Castellana 81 (LEED Platinum), and for those in Poland, in Łódź (2019), at the Brama Miasta complex (LEED Gold). In every case, these offices serve as a European benchmark thanks to their high standards of environmental sustainability and the care taken over the wellbeing of the employees.
Like the others, the new project, conceived by Architects Paolo Brescia e Tommaso Principi of OBR, is geared towards the construction of a LEED Platinum-certified building, which in addition to being person-centred also combines integration with the city and a sense of community. It features what is referred to as a “Flying Carpet of Energy”: a regular geometric shape on the roof that is recognisable as a map of the city seen from above. Fitted with 2,600 m2 of photovoltaic panels, it will produce 360 megawatt-hours, becoming an embodiment of BFF’s commitment to sustainability and to the environment while generating energy to meet the requirements of the building and the surrounding area.
The design’s unerring focus on open spaces is also reflected in the open area aligned with the tunnels of the subway system, which is transformed into an agora: a shared space that will become a super-urban site of aggregation, encapsulating a renewed sense of urbanism. The Flying Carpet of Energy is what both defines the pronaos – through which you access the building and which marks out the large panoramic terrace – and affords shelter from that agora, which belongs to everyone.
The new offices evince BFF’s desire to contribute to the development of the city of Milan, in synergy with the role already played by Fondazione Fiera Milano. The initiative forms part of a cohesive dialogue with the adjacent project by the architect Michele De Lucchi for the construction of a hotel owned by the Fondazione Fiera Milano, intended in the main to support the expo activities of the nearby MiCo (Milano Congressi) conference centre.
The area was selected in part because of the historical importance that this section of the city has for BFF, which transferred to the building on Via Domenichino in 1998. Indeed, the Bank always goes to considerable lengths to engage in dialogue with the cities that play host to it, both within and outside Italy. For example, in 2006 the Bank commissioned the work “Danza” from the artist Gianfranco Pardi, which it then donated to Milan to embellish one of the city’s main access points at Piazza Amendola. This work inspired the various versions of the corporate identity.
Art and sustainability, then, lie at the heart of the comprehensive project to overhaul the area, which will offer easy access to public transport and new cycle routes, and will link up two areas of the city that are currently separated by the transport artery of Viale Scarampo, by means of the footbridge that will connect them to CityLife and Monte Stella.
In line with the overall plan is the decision to include, within “Casa BFF”, a museum area showcasing the works of Italian contemporary art that the bank has been collecting since the 1980s and which are the subject of an exhibition currently touring Europe, entitled: “ART FACTOR – The Pop Legacy in Post-War Italian Art”. **
As Enrico Pazzali, CEO of Fondazione Fiera Milano states: “The agreement reached with BFF allows us to press ahead with the project to regenerate one of the most prestigious parts of our city, which began in 2006 with the sale of the site occupied by the Fiera Milano expo hub. It is an operation that, in just a few years, has transformed this quarter of Milan into one of the world’s most iconic districts, benefitting from the input of some of the most prestigious names on the international architectural and financial scenes. Today we are adding another element to this urban development operation, which has always been conducted with respect for the highest standards of liveability and environmental protection. The prestige and solidity of our partners ensure that, as before, we will end up with a result that will make the entire city proud.”
Massimiliano Belingheri, CEO of BFF Banking Group, commented: “And so begins the operation that will give BFF a new home, based on its cherished values of sustainability, transparency and sharing. It will be a place dedicated to all the employees of the group and, with the museum and the accessibility of the outdoor spaces, to all the citizens of Milan, too. The occasion is for us another source of pride, having found in Fondazione Fiera Milano a partner with which we can expand the design of our new headquarters to take in a wider initiative for the development of such an important part of Milan”.
BFF Banking Group
BFF Banking Group is the largest independent specialty finance in Italy and a leading player in Europe, specialized in the management and non-recourse factoring of trade receivables due from the Public Administrations, securities services, banking and corporate payments. The Group operates in Italy, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain. BFF is listed on the Italian Stock Exchange. In 2020 it reported a consolidated Adjusted Net Profit of € 97.6 million, with a 18,5% Group CET1 ratio at the end of September 2021. www.bff.com.
Fondazione Fiera Milano
Fondazione Fiera Milano has been one of the first drivers of Milan’s economic and urban development, and, in this role, in 2002 began construction of fieramilano in Rho. At the same time, it initiated the process for redevelopment of the fieramilanocity trade show district. It is currently the owner of fieramilano, fieramilanocity and Mi-Co Milano Congressi in Milan ‒ one of the largest and most modern congress centers in Europe ‒ and promotes the organization of domestic and international events that are compatible with the surrounding area. It is the majority shareholder of Fiera Milano Spa, a leading company in the organization of trade shows, congresses and events and has a controlling interest in Fiera Parking Spa. As institutional investor, Fondazione Fiera Milano will implement its long-term investments while also providing support to exhibition and congress activities to enhance the territory through initiatives of venture philanthropy in specific sectors, including services for the community, scientific research, art, culture, and sport.
*BFF’s bid for the acquisition of the aforementioned area was selected by Fondazione Fiera Milano at the final stage of a tender process taking in all of the expressions of interest received by 30 June 2021, in response to the specific call for tenders published on the Fondazione Fiera Milano website.
**Further information on the contemporary art project is available here: www.art-factor.eu