The Hines and Blue Noble joint venture has teamed up with a fund managed by Savills Investment Management to buy an apartment complex development site in Italy.

The Future Living property fund managed by Savills has paid an undisclosed sum to buy the site of the former Municipal Theatre in central Florence from Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.

The development of the former theatre site, on Corso Italia, is expected to provide serviced apartment units across one, two and three-bed apartments along with spaces and services, including common areas, retail, gym and parking.

Development of the new scheme is anticipated to commence by mid-2020 with completion expected by the end of 2022.

The acquisition marks Hines and Blue Noble’s third investment in the living sector in Italy, and follows the acquisition of two student accommodation sites in Milan in 2018, via Giovenale and via Ripamonti.

Mario Abbadessa, Italy country head for Hines, said: “Florence is an important market for us as we target the residential rental sector, which we believe has major potential for growth, and the project offers a housing model we would like to bring to other cities in Italy.

“Cities like Florence have a lack of quality housing for rent and our aim is to respond to this need with a development built to the highest standards of energy sustainability and attention to the environment.”

Paul Forshaw, CEO of Blue Noble, said: “Florence is a city with immense historical and cultural significance, but which faces the challenges of providing modern and sustainable accommodation for rent.

“We aim to create an oasis of tranquillity in the heart of this bustling tourist centre and believe that the prospects for this compelling investment opportunity are extremely strong.”