The topic of the University’s potential use of a plot of land coming available at the close of the 2015 Universal Expo to build a campus in which to place the instructional and scientific activities of the Departments for scientific areas located in Città Studi was first broached in February 2015. The first resolution of the Board of Regents passed on 3 February 2015. This resolution authorised Rector Gianluca Vago to look into the role the University might play in using the Expo areas, a strategy that was then ratified by the Academic Senate in November of that same year.
A first, and very preliminary, assessment drafted by the offices was then superseded and redefined by the investment and expense plan generated in June of 2016 by The Boston Consulting Group, which generated the plan based on applying European Benchmark standards to the project.
The document which marked the most advanced stage of design for the campus came immediately thereafter: the Board of Regents’ Resolution of 19 July 2016, in which, having secured approval from the Academic Senate, the Rector was authorised to express (to Arexpo, the owner of the 2015 Expo grounds) the University’s interest in removing certain educational and scientific activities of those departments currently gravitating around Città Studi and the outskirts of the city, to the Expo grounds.
In the joint meeting held 19 July, the University bodies were presented with a document entitled “Science for Citizen” - The University of Milan Campus on the 2015 Expo Grounds. The document set forth a summary of the guiding ideas for the project, along with a feasibility study from The Boston Consulting Group plan.
In a letter of August 2016, the Rector expressed the University’s governing body’s interest to Arexpo, albeit specifying that such expression of interest would in no way bind the University. To wit, reference was made to the need to delve into a series of essential terms and conditions for the University to enter into a binding agreement. These were: the availability of the land, economic sustainability, a pledge to create a campus fitted out with those facilities and amenities typical of the most cutting-edge international university campuses, and the willing and active involvement of all institutional stakeholders with an interest in the project.
In the months that followed that letter, with a financial-sustainability prospectus generated, and with the apportionment of funds contemplated under the Stability Law and the Pact for Lombardy, work began in earnest on studying and analysing the plan, in close cooperation with those departments implicated in the removal.
Square one for discussions were the needs brought forward by the various departments, especially in terms of research spaces and infrastructure. From there, a document was generated which set forth the criteria for the site’s Master Plan (for which Arexpo had issued an international call for tenders) so that the campus project could actually come to fruition.
The sixty-four-page document, signed by licensed architect Luisa Collina as part of a collaboration project with the Milan Polytechnic, was approved by the Board of Regents and the Academic Senate for the University of Milan last 5 April.
The “Project Criteria for the University of Milan Campus at the 2015 Expo Grounds” related not only to those spaces intended for use by the university, but the infrastructure and services to support it, as well as key characteristics in terms of positioning to ensure that students, researchers, and technical/administrative staff would be able to have a suitable home base, equipped with all the amenities typical of the most cutting-edge international campus.
The letter signed by Rector Vago enclosed with the delivery of the project criteria to Arexpo provided an update on the University’s position now that planning on the project had progressed. The letter confirmed the University’s expression of interest, but predicated any undertaking on two key conditions: that the Master Plan include the criteria as developed, and that an assurance be provided regarding the sustainability of the economic framework provided (with a specific notation that the University have the option to make improvements at Città Studi, thereby supplementing those allocations already set aside on a national and regional level).
Both these conditions were deemed fully satisfied on 6 March 2018, when both governing bodies of the campus (ratified by vote of the Board of Regents the following day) gave the green-light to the project. This served to release the reserves set aside upon the initial expression of interest, and paved the way for the University's new Science Campus on the Expo grounds to become a reality.
The Master Plan with the winning tender following the Arexpo competition (LendLease) did in fact incorporate the “Project Criteria for the University of Milan Campus at the 2015 Expo Grounds”. In terms of project funding, two alternative procedures were identified, a traditional call for tenders, and project financing, both of which would ensure that the University’s economic exposure be kept to a minimum (with such exposure in large part covered by the savings to be realised in managing the campus). Moreover, they would ensure that the revenues realised from the conveyance of property owned by the University at Città Studi (estimated at over Euro 175 million) would not be required to finance the project.
26 July 2018 the Board of Regents expressed a favourable opinion regarding the proposed public-private partnership to build the campus as submitted by LendLease. At the Board of Regents meeting of 25 September, the decision was ratified and the procedure to develop the call for tenders began.
A section dedicated to questions and answers on the project to build a new campus in the Expo Area
20 December 2019
deadline for submitting tenders
9 January 2020
opening of tenders
The initial Services Conference is launched
The University submits a request for collaborative supervision to ANAC [National Anti-Corruption Authority]
The Board of Regents takes formal notice of the preliminary investigations conducted by the Administration to ensure that the call for tenders would be published in full compliance with the law, taking notice therefore of the following as well:
- the pre-information notice published on 28 December 2018
- the launch of the preliminary-investigation services conference
- the Administration's decision to move forward with a technical-economic feasibility study as required by law
The technical-economic feasibility study of the LendLease project is completed.
The RUP [Project Tender Director] for the University proceeds with approving the Technical-Economic Feasibility Study
ANAC, with memorandum no. 12291/19 notifies the University that the application for collaborative supervision has been granted
The Public Works Procurement Office formally closes the Preliminary-Investigation Services Conferences, receiving the opinions expressed by all entities involved. Recommendations and instructions are generated by the Municipality of Milan and City of Milan ATS in particular
NCTM, the University’s new external legal counsel (which had replaced GOP in November of 2018), green-lights the University to move forward with the call for tenders, predicated in part on the recommendations and instructions provided by the entities participating in the preliminary-investigation service conference.
Prior to the formal Board of Regents meeting, the Administration expresses a need to make a modification to the Economic-Financial Plan proposed by the Sponsor, with respect to the portion involving the payment of public funds.
The Administration suggests that the public funds would be disbursed over the course of the project, at each interim payment certificate submission, but not at the 90% rate proposed by Sponsor, but rather at a new cost-sharing rate (47%) in accordance with project-financing regulations, and the draft agreement approved by the State Auditor (posted to the MEF site in October of 2018).
The Director of Finance submits a request for a legal opinion from NCTM (Attorney Monaco) on the proposal to take a second look at the public/private cost-sharing arrangement – at the submission of each IPC – changing the ratio from 90% public / 10% private to 53% private / 47% public (thereby matching the stake held by each in the project)
In a memorandum dated 21 March, NCTM as legal counsel confirms that the University has the option, and indeed the right, to insist on the new cost-sharing ratio, which would provide greater safeguards in terms of protecting the public interest, and compliance with specific project-financing rules
The Board of Regents takes formal notice of those issues just prior to the meeting of 19 March, and the need to ask LendLease to revise the Economic and Financial Plan with respect to the public/private cost-sharing ratios.
The Board is likewise advised of the issues discovered with Arexpo (including tax-related problems) relating to the negotiations for purchasing the land on which the Campus would be built
In memorandum no. 30922/19 of 28.03.2019, the Administration, pursuant to the provisions of the Operating Protocol for Collaborative Supervision, submits the following documentation to ANAC:
- Authorisation to contract
- Call for tenders
- Tender regulations.
All the aforementioned documentation is submitted for preliminary assessment to the University’s Board of Regents at its meeting of 26 March, who thereupon expressed a favourable opinion on the same.
The Board would need therefore only to pass a final resolution once the documents were approved by ANAC.
Some Regents submits a request to the Rector to have ANAC notified of the reservations voiced at the meeting of 26 March regarding the new method for public-fund-disbursement (the new 53%-47% split).
ANAC, in its reply (which includes some suggestions with respect to certain components of the call for tenders, and in the draft agreement) concurs that the Administration's choice to have a different public-fund-disbursement method (the new 53% private / 47% public split) was both lawful and indeed in the public interest.
Meeting with LendLease and Arexpo at the Office of the Rector to advise the sponsor of the new public/private cost-sharing split proposed by the University in agreement with ANAC. The Sponsor agrees to review the new terms and to provide a response to the same
One Regent tenders a request to the Rector asking, following a careful review of ANAC’s reply of 8 April, that an explicit response to the request made on 1 April be provided. Thus, the Regent presses the Administration to insist that ANAC provide a specific response to the issue (the greater economic rationality for the University to maintain the original 90% / 10% split).
The University thanks ANAC for the suggestions provided, and writes of its own interest in accepting the instructions as received. ANAC, in that same letter, is advised of the request by a Regent to have a specific response to the question raised regarding whether to confirm the original cost-sharing split.
The terms for an initial preliminary purchase agreement for the land are negotiated with Arexpo, with the advice and counsel of NCTM, with the terms to be reviewed by the appointed notary.
NCTM as external legal counsel submits all tender documents, revised pursuant to ANAC instructions, to the Administration
In response to the query submitted by the Regent on the Board, ANAC replies that it has already (in its initial memorandum of reply) provided all responses on both the law and on the merits, and reiterated its initial position that the public-private split should be 47% / 53% to be disbursed at each IPC
LendLease, in a meeting at the Office of the Rector, submits a new budget drafted pursuant to the Administration's requests (53%-47%).
The new document sets forth additional funding requirements incumbent on the University arising from the new cost-sharing method, totalling (over the course of the contract term) € 4 million.
Therefore, an additional € 140,000 per annum on the management contract was added.
The Administration replies that any additional charges (which were neither previously contemplated nor currently justifiable) would require a new and more in-depth analysis of the entire EFP (budget) in terms of sustainability, and consequently new approvals by the governing bodies.
The administration, with a view toward ensuring the procedure move forward as quickly and as effectively as possible, given the public interest in the transaction, requested that all additional financing charges relating to the new EFP fall on the sponsor.
LendLease advises via email that the Administration’s requests have met with approval, following an initial investigation. That said, a new request for underwriting from the lending banks would be required.
In conclusion, 7 June is set as the deadline for the new EFP, incorporating the Administration's new terms, to be formally submitted to the University.
The Board is advised of the content of LendLease’s email, and takes favourable notice of the fact that no further charges would accrue to the University given the need for greater protection to be afforded to the University as a public entity (as instructed by ANAC) from both a legal and an economic perspective.
The Sponsor memorialises the terms and conditions provided in the aforementioned meeting of 16 April 2019, submitting an Economic-Financial Plan adjusted to meet the aforementioned requirements, along with the underwriting as required by Art. 183, paragraph 9, of Legislative Decree no. 50/2016.
Submission of all tender documents to the Authorities, revised based on instructions provided by ANAC.
ANAC replies to the memorandum of the University of Milan (central division) requesting further information regarding the supply of fixtures, and the method of assessing the draft contract to be provided by the other side.
The Administration provides all responses due, noting that the contract-award criteria would be described in detail in the Technical Specifications detailing the services required (which it encloses for ANAC).
With respect to the quantitative criteria for the “contract term”, it is noted that such provision had not be set in order to accelerate the construction timeline, but rather to reduce the time the buildings would be managed by a licensee, thereby reducing the related rents for the University.
With respect to the purchase of goods (technical fixtures and equipment), the University adjusts the documents to accord with ANAC’s opinion as set forth in memorandum no. 48216 of 14 June 2019.
The Authorities takes note of the clarifications as provided, and thereupon authorised that the call for tenders be published, whilst awaiting subsequent documentation which the University would be required to provide at subsequent junctures during the call for tenders pursuant to Art. 4 and 5 of the Protocol on Collaborative Supervision.
The preliminary purchase agreement for the Expo grounds is signed.
The Administration notifies the Sponsor, LendLease, of the result of its discussions with ANAC, with specific reference to the express termination clause, which would be maintained, albeit with a provision that takes into account the difficulties noted by the Sponsor, and to Art. 28 of the Sponsor’s Draft Agreement, which was deemed by ANAC not to comply with applicable law.
To supplement the previous memorandum of 12 July, ANAC advises that the authorisation to contract must state that the expenses contemplated with respect to those amounts identified as management-contract and service-contract expenses would be covered.
LendLease, in order to provide a prompt response to the notice provided by the University of Milan (Central Division), submits a request for the final version of the amended provisions of the draft agreement in order to review the impact of the same.
The Administration provides LendLease the requested information.
Meeting with LendLease at the Office of the Rector to disclose the changes made to the draft agreement, and to evaluate the reasons for, and the impact of, the same.
LendLease submits a confirmation of acceptance of the amendments to the University of Milan (Central Division), which acceptance is in part predicated on the fact that the Administration's position regarding subcontracting was clarified.
The Board of Regents authorises the publication of the call for tenders.
The call for tenders is submitted to the European Gazette for publication.
Re-determination of the role and composition of the Advisory Board relating to the building of the new Campuin area MIND, pursuant to Rector’s Decree no. 2967/2019.
The Board of Regents takes a favourable view of, but does not yet finally approve, the proposal submitted by LendLease.
The Administration reserves the right to secure other investigatory, technical and legal records and opinions in order to reach a definitive approval of the feasibility study as soon as possible.
DIPE submits its opinion to the University
LendLease receives the new draft agreement proposed by the University.
GOP, as legal counsel, in a memorandum of that same date, expresses a favourable opinion on that draft agreement, finding “that the feasibility study proposed by LendLease may be approved by UniMi and thereafter be utilised as the basis for a call for tenders, pursuant to the provisions of Art. 183, paragraphs 15 and 27 of the Public Procurement Code.”
The Board of Regents provides its final approval on the LendLease proposal.
The first lawsuit by a member of the Board of Regents representing the students (which would be followed by a second suit) is filed in the Lombardy TAR [Regional Administrative Court].
At the jurisdictional hearing, a petition is filed to void the resolutions passed by the Board of Regents on 26 July and 25 September with which the LendLease project was approved.
The petitions are predicated on the claim that the Regents failed to properly investigate the matters whilst the motion to pass the resolution was being considered, in that the Administration had only allowed a portion of the documents to be reviewed, and even these were not supplied with the notice required under the Board’s Bylaws.
The suit filed by the Regent representing the students is dismissed by the Lombardy TAR.
The Board passes a resolution to ratify its prior resolution of 25 September 2018.
The Resolution of 8 November 2018, therefore, includes:
- the incorporation of the Campus project into the three-year Works Programme for the University (2018/2020)
- approval of the feasibility of the proposal submitted by LendLease (previously assessed and granted a preliminary green-light by the Board in its meeting of 26 July 2018, with the updated version, which followed upon requests for changes submitted by the University to LendLease at the 25 September 2018 meeting)
- authorisation of the launch of a call for tenders pursuant to Art. 183, paragraph 15, of Legislative Decree no. 50/2016 (project finance), predicated on the feasibility study (from a technical and economic standpoint) submitted by LendLease, in its most recent version as updated during the meeting of 25 September 2018.
In order to launch a preliminary-investigation Services Conference, deemed necessary to ensure proper tender procedures were followed, all necessary documentation is sent to the Procurement Office for Public Works
By the 31 December deadline contemplated by Art. 70 of the Public Procurement Code, the Administration would send the GUCE the notice of a pre-information.
On that same date, the notice is posted to the section on the University of Milan website dedicated to calls for tenders.
Consideration is first given to the option for the University to use the grounds of the former 2015 Universal Expo centre in order to create a campus to which classroom and laboratories for the science departments, then located in Città Studi, might be removed
A resolution by the Board of Regents authorises the Rector to look into the possibility of the University engaging in developing the Expo grounds, an approach which would be ratified by the Academic Senate that same year.
The Academic Senate authorises the Rector to express the University’s interest to Arexpo (the owner of the 2015 Expo grounds) to transfer certain educational and scientific activities of those departments then positioned in Città Studi and the outskirts of the city to the former 2015 Expo grounds. The expression of interest is, however, predicated on a series of essential terms and conditions for the University to enter into a binding agreement. These are: the availability of the land, economic sustainability, a pledge to create a campus fitted out with those facilities and amenities typical of the most cutting-edge international university campus, and the full and active involvement of all institutional stakeholders interested in the project.
The Pact for Lombardy supplements the 8 million Euro contemplated under the stability law with Euro 130 million. With the financial sustainability for the project now determined, work begins on analysing and studying the plan in close cooperation with the departments that would be affected by the removal.
The Board of Regents and the Academic Senate approve the document entitled “Project Criteria for the University of Milan Campus at the 2015 Expo Grounds”, created as part of a collaboration with the Polytechnic of Milan, and which was triggered by the needs expressed by those in various disciplines. The document sets forth the criteria, in terms of infrastructure, services, and placements, which would need to be met in the site's Master Plan (for which Arexpo had launched an international call for tenders).
Green lights from both of the University’s governing bodies open the door to the realisation phase for the new Science Campus. The Master Plan with the winning tender under the Arexpo competition (LendLease) does in fact incorporate the criteria for the project proposed by the University. On the other hand, in terms of the financial coverage for the project, two alternative procedures are identified, a traditional call for tenders, and project financing, LendLease prepares a proposal for a public-private partnership to be submitted to the Board of Regents on 26 July 2018.