MILAN, April 4 (Reuters) - French luxury group Kering said on Thursday it had bought an 18th century building in via Montenapoleone, the heart of Milan's most exclusive shopping area, for 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion), from Blackstone Property Partners Europe.

The deal is the latest in a series of property acquisitions in top fashion locations by big luxury groups.

The building, which already hosts Saint Laurent's store, is developed over five floors. It includes more than 5,000 square meters of retail space, making it one of the largest properties in via Montenapoleone, Gucci-owner Kering said in a statement.

The property also houses the historic Cova patisserie, purchased by French luxury group LVMH in 2013.

"This investment is part of Kering's selective real estate strategy, aimed at securing key highly desirable locations for its houses," the group said.

Kering, which last month warned its first-quarter sales were likely to drop by around 10%, added it aimed to manage its real estate portfolio with a goal of retaining stakes in prime assets alongside co-investors in dedicated vehicles - as it did for a building for its Italian label Bottega Veneta in Tokyo.

"This transaction represents an excellent outcome for our investors and demonstrates exceptional investor demand for high quality real estate in the strongest markets", said James Seppala, Blackstone's head of Real Estate Europe.

Blackstone bought the building in 2021, as part of a portfolio of 14 properties, paying 1.1 billion euros for all the assets.

($1 = 0.9215 euros) (Reporting by Elisa Anzolin; Additional reporting by Mimosa Spencer in Paris; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Mark Potter)