MILAN, June 25 Italian fashion house Gianfranco Ferre and Galadari Investment Office will build a luxurious $1.2 billion tower of at least 60 floors in Dubai, part of a joint venture for the design and development of real estate.
The Gianfranco Ferre Stresa building in Dubai, a residential and commercial complex due to be completed by the last quarter of 2011, is the first project of the venture, which was signed on Wednesday.
GIO Developments, part of Dubai-based Galadari Investment Office (GIO), will build and manage the property while Gianfranco Ferre, whose designer founder died suddenly last year, will be responsible for the interior design.
The agreement will give Milan-based Gianfranco Ferre, which is owned by IT Holding ITH.MI, minimum revenue of $23 million and royalties of 10 percent on the sales of furnished properties designed by the fashion house's creative team.
"We chose the name Stresa because it is a town that was dear to 'The Architect' Ferre, it is where he had his summer residence and liked to spend his free time," Ferre Chief Executive Michela Piva told a news conference.
Designer Gianfranco Ferre died in June last year after suffering a brain haemorrhage. His nickname, "The Architect" of Italian fashion, reflected both his degree in architecture and his trademark tailored suits and blouses.
The tower is also expected to house an exhibition of vintage Ferre designs and could be a prelude to a possible Ferre homewear collection.
"One of Gianfranco Ferre's dreams is coming true," said Tonino Perna, chairman of IT Holding, which will add 40 outlets to the 45 shops its brands have in the Middle East by end-2009.
The tower is expected to have "60 floors plus", GIO Chairman Rashid Abdul Wahab Galadari said, adding more details will be unveiled in September.
Perna said the agreement allowed for the option of other projects in India, China, Moscow and London.
Other Italian designers have branched out into property. Giorgio Armani is working with developers on hotels and residences in Dubai, Milan and Tokyo.
Perna said that in coming days Gianfranco Ferre will begin selling its pre-collection, which will be presented at women's fashion week in September and foresees orders "four or five times higher than the previous year". (Editing by Paul Bolding)