Starwood Is Profiting From Roma’s Barca-Beating Champions League Heroics
Roma's 3-0 win against Barcelona in the second leg of the Champions League quarter finals was one of the most incredible comebacks in football history.
No one gave the Roman club a chance of overcoming a 4-1 first-leg deficit against one of the great teams of the era including Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest player of all time.
The fact that they did caused scenes of wild jubilation in the Italian capital — and probably the Greenwich, Connecticut, offices of Starwood Capital.
Roma’s run to the Champions League semi finals is coinciding with the long-awaited commencement of a major commercial real estate venture between Starwood, Roma, Lendlease and AEG, and success on the pitch will do nothing to hurt the value of what will be a massive real estate development linked to the club.
In 2014 Starwood took a minority ownership stake in Roma, owned by American investor and club president James Pallotta. As part of the deal it has the right to participate in a long-delayed regeneration project called Stadio della Roma on a site in the city called Tor di Valle.
The project would see the club move from the iconic but ageing Stadio Olimpico to a new 52,500-seat stadium that would be the centrepiece of a wider 2.7M SF commercial development including offices, retail, restaurants, conference facilities and entertainment venues.
The project was supposed to be finished in 2018, but it only received planning consent in December, and two days after the victory against Barcelona the club met with the mayor of Rome to seek the final approval which could allow work on the project to start later this year, La Repubblica reports.
The final cost could be as high as €2B, and Goldman Sachs is in talks to provide an initial construction loan of €800M.