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Guggenheim Helsinki Proposal Revised for City Decision-makers
A new financing scheme is put forward for Guggenheim Helsinki museum construction and operation
By: City of Helsinki
The preparation of a new proposal was undertaken after the Finnish Government announced in connection of the fall 2016 budget talks that the Government would not finance the museum investment. At the same time, private funding for the project had reached record levels by Helsinki standards.
"Our goal was to find a feasible plan that would not place the full financial burden of the museum construction on the City of Helsinki," says Ritva Viljanen, Helsinki Deputy Mayor for Cultural Affairs. She adds, "We have now found an approach to implement the museum project that allows us to present the matter to City decision-makers."
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation presented a proposal for a Guggenheim Helsinki museum to the City of Helsinki in 2011. The proposal was voted down by the Helsinki City Board in 2012, after which the Guggenheim Foundation made a new proposal and co-organized and financed a design competition for the museum building held in 2014–2015. The winning design was by Moreau Kusunoki Architects.
The estimated construction cost of the Guggenheim Helsinki museum is EUR 130 million. According to the new financing scheme, the City of Helsinki would fund the construction with up to EUR 80 million and the Guggenheim Helsinki Supporting Foundation with EUR 15 million, while the rest would come from private sources.
The City of Helsinki would be the principal owner of the museum building and cover the costs incurred by the building – approximately EUR 6.5 million per year – but would not finance the museum's operation in any other way.
The museum operation would be financed by the Supporting Foundation with its income, private funding, and the annual Finnish Government subsidy for museums. The Supporting Foundation would also cover the total cost of a EUR 35 million loan taken for the construction by a real estate company that would be founded by the City and the Supporting Foundation for the museum.
Private funding would also be used to cover the license and administrative fees paid to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which the foundation has lowered from the original US$ 30 to US$ 20 million over 20 years.
In the new proposal, the City's share of ownership in the museum building would be markedly higher than in the plan negotiated with the Finnish Government, although the City's investment sum would be the same.
Private funding secured by the Guggenheim Helsinki Supporting Foundation is now markedly higher than in earlier proposals, totaling EUR 66.4 million.
Ms. Viljanen comments, "This is an exceptional project: no other cultural project in Helsinki has attracted this much private funding."
According to an economic impact analysis, the museum would boost tourism and employment and increase the City's tax income.
The new proposal will be considered by the Helsinki City Board on November 7, 2016, for presentation to the City Council. The City Board is the administrative body in the Helsinki City government that presents matters to the City Council, which is the City's highest decision-making body.
If the City Council approves the museum project, construction could begin in 2019 and the museum could open in 2021 at the earliest.
City of Helsinki: http://www.hel.fi/
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