Benetton, Rem Koolhaas to restore historic Venice building

Fondaco dei Tedeschi to be converted into shopping centre

Benetton, Rem Koolhaas to restore historic Venice building

Venice, March 12 - Italian clothing retailer Benetton is to restore the historic Fondaco dei Tedeschi near the Rialto bridge on Venice's Grand Canal as part of plans to incorporate a shopping centre in the Renaissance building. The project received the go-ahead from the city council 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 should see the transfer of six million euros from the international retailer to the city coffers. The Fondaco dei Tedeschi 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. Benetton purchased the building for around 55 million euros in 2008 in order to create a shopping centre there. Benetton has commissioned Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas to restore the building and remodel the interior. (photo: design plan by Rem Koolhaas)

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