REAL ESTATE - Real estate fund manager Cordea Savills has boosted its London and Milan operations with specialists in Italian retail and UK student housing.

Federica Bajeli joins the Italian office from Jones Lang LaSalle, where she was a retail property analyst. She will work on pan-European property fund Europa Immobiliare No. 1 and the Italian Opportunities No. 1 fund, with responsibility for analysing both assets and portfolio performance.

In London, James Whidborne will work on Cordea’s residential portfolio. He joins from Savill’s student accommodation team, where he worked on agency, valuation and development consultancy projects. He previously worked on King Sturge’s specialist valuation and investment team within the primary healthcare and student accommodation markets.

Cordea Savills CEO Justin O’Connor said the new hires plug significant gaps in burgeoning markets for the firm. He said retail, specifically, was “a sector of great interest, especially in Italy, where there’s a shortage of modern retail properties”.

He added that the firm’s focus on UK student housing specifically, and UK residential more broadly, reflected its interest in secure income streams and long leases.

Meanwhile, Cordea Savills has acquired three retail properties in Sweden with a combined rental space of 32,200 square metres for SEK400m on behalf of Europa Immobiliare No.1. Acquisition advice was provided by King Sturge and CB Richard Ellis.