Tuesday, November 28

Malaga, Seville and Madrid, with options for the Hermitage that Barcala wants

That was on the 13th when Minister Marzà sent a letter to the first mayor in which he made official the Generalitat’s wish to buy the municipal part of the Main Theater. Hours later the mayor rejected the offer and added that what he was asking the Consell for was its support for Alicante to have a Hermitage headquarters.

First and last news on the topic of the Russian museum. Since then it has not been clarified if there is a firm proposal, if there is a real project like that of the other cities, which have led those responsible for obtaining the headquarters for the Hermitage museum, documentation and even the space that would be appropriate for house the center.

Many unknowns and none of them resolved. “The proposal is still in the gestation phase – they assure from the Alicante City Council – and at the expense of the support of the Generalitat, which is considered essential for it to move forward”, although the autonomous institution has not received any request for a meeting or any official information about the project, beyond the mayor’s letter.

Regarding the location, it seems that the old House of Mercy would be considered, in Las Cigarreras, once its restoration is carried out. But it is not something definitive and studied either. “As for possible locations, there are not only Las Cigarreras. Also the Harineras de Benalúa or the convent of the Nuns of the Blood, to name three possible locations. But until the project is completed, talking about the location is premature, “they say from the Mayor’s Office.

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Who they do ask for answers from the City Council is Marzà. “At the moment, the City Council still has no news from Marzá, whether or not he is willing to help and in what way if so. So far he has not contacted, nor shown interest in the mayor’s offer.

“We have no record”

On the other hand, from the Department of Culture they emphasize that regarding the issue of the Hermitage “we had no record and we have found out very in passing by a mention of the mayor without being invited to know the supposed project in a serious way.”

And they continue that “the Generalitat, how could it be otherwise, studies the proposals that, in an official, rational and concrete way, other administrations propose. In this case we do not have detailed information about the project, nor have we been invited to know it in depth to make an assessment and the perception is that balls have been thrown out regarding the central theme »of Marzà’s offer, which refers to the Principal Theater .

In search of headquarters

The investment fund Varia Europe Properties is in charge of managing the location of the Hermitage and since October 2014 it has been negotiating with Barcelona. The debate has not ceased in all this time until the mayor, Ada Colau, definitively rejected the proposal, questioning the model due to the failures of similar bets that led to the opening of headquarters in cities such as Ferrara and London, where it only remained between 2000 and 2007.

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After closing the doors in Barcelona, ​​despite already having the place in the Port and the architectural project of Toyo Ito, the promoters of this headquarters in Spain, who put their investment at 52 million euros, with an expectation of encrypted visits in 850,000 annual visits, they began negotiations in 2020 with Madrid and Seville. The pandemic paralyzed him and now they have already met with the mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, to make the proposal, and they have also had a meeting by videoconference with the Port Authority of that city to see the location, which would be in a 8,000 square meter area.

As for Seville, it began talks with the Russian embassy in February 2020 and now the city council of the city has expressed its desire to resume contacts to locate it, as previously noted, in the Royal Artillery Factory.

With regard to Madrid, the first contacts took place in 2020, when Barcelona rejected the proposal for the first time, and the negotiations remain open, as confirmed on Monday by Andrea Levy, head of the Culture area of ​​that city council of the capital.

The architect Toyo Ito, 2013 Pritzker Prize winner, was commissioned to carry out the project for the building that would house the Hermitage in Barcelona, ​​which was to be located in the port area. With a constructed area of ​​approximately 13,300 square meters, the building wanted to be a reference project, not only as a cultural facility, but also as a model of respect for the environment.

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