Mercoledì, 17 Ottobre 2018
VENICE

Benetton launches megastore on Venice's Grand Canal

English
© ANSA

Venice, March 12 - After more than a year and a
half of wait, strategy meetings and even some saber rattling by
opposing forces, the project to turn Venice's historic 'Fontego
dei Tedeschi' into a megastore has been given the definitive
green light.
'We will see an important part of the city reborn,' Venice
Mayor Giorgio Orsoni said on Tuesday.
Italian clothing retailer Benetton bought the Renaissance
building at the foot of the Rialto bridge for 53-million euros
in 2008 and plans to sink millions more into its restoration.
The Fondaco dei Tedeschi (Fontego in Venetian dialect) was
built in the early 13th century and then rebuilt three centuries
later following a fire to provide a headquarters and limited
living quarters for the city's Germanic merchants.
The project received the go-ahead from the city council on
Tuesday amid heated debate and protests from representatives of
former comedian Beppe Grillo's 5-Star Movemnet (M5S) and
environmentalists concerned about the preservation of Venice's
cultural heritage.
The agreement between the city council and Benetton Group
contemplates a property-use change that foresees the transfer of
six million euros from the international clothing retailer to
the city coffers.
Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas has been commissioned by
Benetton to restore the building and remodel the interior. His
plans will incorporate a shopping centre and public space inside
of the structure's 10,000 square meters.
'Fontego' will reserve spaces for the community, including a
large inner courtyard and fourth-floor lounge.
The project will also create employment in a country
buckling under a long-running economic crisis.
Permission to begin construction that should kick-off in
the coming months was given after changes to the initial plans,
including the elimination of a large panoramic terrace on the
Grand Canal that was replaced with a simple 'belvedere' along
the perimeter of the roof and the reduction of an escalator in
the building's courtyard that was also moved.
The project will bring 'great advantages to Venice,' Orsini
said.

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