Doughty Hanson & Co Real Estate has signed a pre-let with Zurich Italia to build a new 306,775 sq ft (28,500 sq m) headquarters building for its Maciachini development in Milan.

The Zurich Group, one of the largest financial services providers in the world, looked at 22 potential sites for its new Italian headquarters before choosing Maciachini, a development managed by Europa Risorse.

Maciachini is a new office location currently under construction in Milan and includes approximately 1m sq ft (92 900sq m) of office space, retail, and leisure facilities. The 290,630 sq ft (27,000 sq m) Phase 1 has secured lettings to Sorin and Montblanc and Mattel and Universal Music. The new headquarters for Zurich Italia will form part of phase two.

The letting is the latest Italian deal for European fund manager Doughty Hanson which yesterday announced the purchase of a residential development site in Brescia from Camozzi Holdings.

It is also the latest deal for Doughty Hanson and Europa Risorse’s Solutions for Corporates programme in Italy, which matches the needs between owners and developers and occupiers of real estate. The Solutions for Corporates programme has provided office space in Italy for companies including L' Oréal Italia, Marsh and Unicredito Italiano. It has also bought surplus properties from Alcatel in Italy and Holtzbrinck and Grundig in Germany.

John Howard, head of Doughty Hanson & Co Real Estate, said: ”This is one of the most important leasing transactions in Italy the last five years, both for its size and the fact that it is a build-to-suit project.’

Doughty Hanson & Co Real Estate has been active in Italy since 1999. Earlier this year, the firm closed its second real estate fund, Doughty Hanson & Co European Real Estate Fund II, with commitments of €560m (£376m). The fund has the potential to invest over €2bn (£1.34bn).