Larry Smith Italia snares big
Larry Smith Italia is expanding into China through a major first project. The real estate company specializing in shopping center management has been picked to oversee the retail development of Infinity Walk, one of the largest fashion and luxury outlets in China. The facility will open in 2016 in Chongqing, a city of about 20 million people located in the southwest of the country. Construction will begin with the laying of the first cornerstone on Sunday July 27.
Infinity Walk is the creation of Legion International Holding, which is also financing the project. The Chinese investment company controlled by three Chongqing entrepreneurs and is currently involved in the massive Trade City, a one-million-square-meter residential and commercial new construction project with investments totaling one billion euros. The Chinese investor has given Larry Smith Italia the job of developing the luxury outlet's retail landscape, with architectural plans by the Venice-based Hyd firm.
"An entire new district will be built in the northern part of Chongqing," said Corrado Vismara, Larry Smith Italia CEO, in an interview with FashionMag. "The location is 15 km from the city center, with Infinity Walk as the city's spearhead. The 42,000-square-meter building is totally enclosed and air conditioned and will house 160 stores. We are focusing on luxury brands and have identified some 300 names active in this market. The luxury market is currently moving towards the interior of China," explained Corrado Vismara.
Infinity Walk is not just for shopping, but also entertainment. The complex will be outfitted with a system developed by the Canadian company Forrec that includes a multiplex cinema and other activities for families.
"This is our first official project in China and an important calling card," said the CEO. “Last February, Larry Smith Italia opened a subsidiary in Hong Kong, the latest in our international network after Moscow, Russia and Recife, Brazil.”
The real estate management company is also a consultant on the Oriental Blue Bay shopping district in Ningbo Binhai New City south of Shanghai.
And the company recently signed two memorandums of understanding with major Chinese business associations: CREA (the China Real Estate Association), whose members include the most important developers and investors in China's commercial real estate industry; and SEIBA (Sino European Industry Association and Business Association). The SEIBA collaboration calls for the Larry Smith Asia subsidiary to create "new synergies in the People's Republic of China," specifically, to facilitate the flow of information, as well as create and develop contacts with investors and Chinese developers looking for consultants for both the domestic and European markets.
At home, Larry Smith Italia is currently a consultant on two major projects in Milan: the commercial hub of the new CityLife district; and together with Prelios SGR, the renovation of the historic Cinema Manzoni film theater near Milan's luxury quadrilateral.
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