The group is a specialist in integrated area management, identifying the needs and resources of any urban area. It’s a service it has provided in some of the chicest parts of London
Transforming cities into workshops of civilisation, turning them into places of beauty and offering better services to their citizens. This is the challenge taken on by Alfredo Romeo, who from his origins in the real estate industry went on to invent innovative models of property and facility management, moving between the integrated management of public real estate patrimony to community-orientated services. Today, Romeo leads an organisation with annual turnover of € 300m, 1,500 direct employees and a total of 21,000 collaborators, allowing it to manage the patrimony and resources of 320 private and public clients. Running through the entire operation is a focus on bringing the best out of cities and local areas.
It is undoubtedly a challenging mission, but as Romeo explains: «The word difficult doesn’t exist for me. Difficult equals opportunity in my book, because it pushes you to look beyond what you already know how to do. I’ve never been happy with the first result I achieve. For me, perfectionism is the only way of reaching that elusive thing: beauty. In everything, it’s important to give a sense of completeness and beauty that transcends the base objective of the job at hand. Coming from someone who has made his fortune from community services, that might seem paradoxical. But perhaps it’s been that approach that has made us number one. Inventing an integrated management system for the real estate patrimony of a city like Naples was an extraordinary challenge that we tackled with great success; and the failures that came after the end of our contract are testament to that. In any case, aside from Naples, we’ve created models for the regeneration of cities that have been met with great admiration abroad».
It’s for this reason that Romeo Gestioni, which has provided property and facility management services to 1.5 million people directly and 10 million people indirectly (including the people that pass through the Linate and Malpensa airports), is now focusing on a new business channel: Territorial Facility Management. The vision for this new division is certainly appealing: «The integrated management of an area – i.e. the identification of the needs and resources of any area, urban or otherwise – can be the driving force behind the recovery of the entire Italian economy. Our cities represent a richness that is unique to the world. By making the most of and generating revenue from the assets they conserve, and often conceal, we can inject renewed oxygen and ramp up the attractiveness of our urban tapestry via economic impetus based on the integrated regularisation, regeneration and enhancement of the area as a whole. In this way, cities can become the workshops of civilisation, not just to relaunch the economy, but to create new living conditions within the social framework. With our operational models, these processes can be economically sustainable via tax optimisation and private capital flows. I’m no visionary, I’m merely a man who wants to relaunch the market in an ethical manner, developing my businesses at the same time as ensuring the collective progresses. I want to offer my country expertise that are widely appreciated abroad, despite the fact that at times they are met with resistance here».
An example? «In London we invested to bring the best out of a 6,000 m2 area of Belgravia and Mayfair and the city authorities did everything they can to allow us to bestow the beauty we were proposing», explains Romeo. «Here in Italy, however, our 19th-century administrative system simply prohibits us from doing things. But what we did for a five-star luxury hotel in Naples, which the New York Times named as one of the five most beautiful hotels in the world, can also be done for a whole section of a city. The result will be a new quality of life in cities and a new sense of civility in the way we life. In order to achieve that we need to be courageous, we need to believe in beauty. I believe. Beauty is in the architecture and furnishings of my hotels, it’s in the battle I fight as president of Ifma Italy and the Italian Observatory of Patrimonial Resources (as well as Nomisma, Cresme Consulting and Cnr) to improve the quality of public tenders. I don’t know whether that makes me number one in the world of services – for me it’s enough to be number one in the process of innovation of a country».