Comerio New Life, a project to convert the Whirlpool area of Comerio, in the province of Varese, which was the headquarters of the Company’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA) till the offices were moved to Milan in May 2017, was presented in Milan today to an audience of national and international investors and representatives of the institutions.
“We are very proud today to be able to announce the conversion project for the Comerio site, an area that saw the birth of Whirlpool in Europe back in 1989,” said Alessandro Magnoni, Head of Communication and Government Relations, Whirlpool EMEA. “Once again our Company is standing by the Town Council and local community, thus demonstrating its sense of responsibility in identifying solutions that are innovative and sustainable over time. We are confident that after today we will have important new partners at our side on this unique project.”
After moving into its new offices in Milan, Whirlpool kept up its close ties with the community and territory of Varese, where it had been for 70 years, since the start up of Ignis. Since 2016, Whirlpool EMEA has been working with Comerio’s town council to find solutions shared by the ownership and the local community to convert the site within the framework of a memorandum of understanding and letter of intent regarding the upgrading of the Whirlpool area. Such agreements define the objectives and principles that will guide the process of transformation in terms of economic development and local employment, the relationship with the historic centre of Comerio, sustainability, urban quality and functional flexibility.
“I’m confident that all the work done in the last few years to ensure a new future for this area of great symbolic value for our Community will translate into a harmonious programme of activities in which people can work, live, use quality services and find recreation,” commented Mayor of Comerio Silvio Aimetti.
Comerio New Life is a project designed together with Comerio’s Town Council, Università Carlo Cattaneo (LIUC) and Università degli Studi dell’Insubria, with consulting provided by CBRE. The entire area (around 50,000 m2) will maintain its role of economic centre for the whole of the township by favouring the establishment of businesses that will generate quality jobs and services for people, especially small children and teenagers, young families and the elderly. All the initiatives envisaged for the site will be inspired by solid principles of environmental and economic sustainability and for the benefit of the entire community.
Three macro themes have been defined for structuring the implementation phase of this organic project:
- innovation and enterprise in terms of spaces for work, research and development and culture;
- sport, health and rehabilitation to be covered by specialist healthcare services, assisted housing and sports facilities;
- housing at the service of urban integration.
“Comerio New Life represents a set of best practices for the regeneration of brownfield sites in Italy. The conversion process begun in 2016 has benefitted from two fundamental ingredients: Whirlpool’s direct commitment and effort in guiding a virtuous process of transformation, and a public administration that insists on the principle of creating value for its community and that has managed to facilitate the process with pragmatism and enthusiasm. In the same spirit, Whirlpool and all the stakeholders involved are about to bring to completion the project to give a New Life to Comerio site,” commented Camilla Bastoni, Sales Director, CBRE.
Today’s event was also an opportunity to share the results of a study conducted by Scenari Immobiliari and entitled “Converting industrial sites: success factors”.
“Urban regeneration has been the priority issue in territorial development policy making in recent years, not only in the practice of urban planning but as a goal for the sustainable development of cities,” said Francesca Zirnstein, General Manager, Scenari Immobiliari. “Conversion is a priority for guaranteeing that people have quality and security in terms of housing and social and environmental conditions, and for promoting local enterprise and occupation. It is also one of the possible ways to restore the identity of a territory, by breathing new life into its economy with initiatives capable of contributing to territorial development and meeting new social needs.
From this point of view, the course chosen by Whirlpool is a case history of undeniable success, one that grew out of highly constructive dialogue between the various parties involved, a reciprocal exchange of intents that has produced a concrete project in just under two years”.
The Comerio New Life project is a new endorsement of Whirlpool’s sense of responsibility toward communities and territories, a reflection of its ongoing commitment to all parties involved and efforts to strengthen the economic and social fabric of the communities in which it operates through conversion and re industrialization projects.