How much would the new Rai headquarters in Milan cost? Almost 135 million euros of rent. Until 2052. This was revealed by the feasibility study of “Operation Portello”, the Saxa Rubra Padana approved with a blitz by the outgoing Board of Public TV, and immediately targeted by bipartisan attacks, by the dem governor of Lazio Nicola Zingaretti to the mayor grillina of Rome Virginia Raggi, to the national coordinator of Forza Italia, Antonio Tajani.
Seven days ago, when the board of directors of Viale Mazzini dismissed the resolution to build a new headquarters in the Portello center of the Milan Fair, the members of the Board were given a study outlining the costs of the operation . Those who have viewed the papers tell of a 27-year contract in total (three 9-year renewals), for about 5 million euros a year in rent. The same is confirmed by sources from the Milan Fair: “The numbers of the negotiation are those.”
Rai is now one of the Roman deputies: no to the mugging of Viale Mazzini in Milan
It is a river of public money channeled into a project that could give the first benefits, perhaps, only from 2029: first for the Rai coffers it would be a plan in red. The «break-even point», the moment in which the operation would begin to no longer be at a loss, would take place in 8 years, after the start of the maxi-center in the North, expected between 2024 and 2025.
THE RESTORATION OF 2017
To finance the project, Rai would have to sell the historic headquarters in Corso Sempione in Milan and cancel the rental of the headquarters in via Mecenate, whose contract is due to expire in 3 years. Via Mecenate was the subject of a millionaire modernization intervention just four years ago. As Michele Anzaldi, parliamentarian of Italia Viva and secretary of the Rai Supervisory Commission, reconstructed, in the summer of 2017 “the works for the new maxi-studio in Milan of Che tempo che fa” were financed, for a total cost of almost 2 million euros.
“Why spend such a sum to modernize a warehouse that is not owned, but rented, and with the contract expiring?”. In fact, we have been talking about the decommissioning of Via Mecenate for years. At least since 2017, when Rai published an expression of interest to look for alternatives. In this context, the Portello idea was born. The Milan Fair had come forward for a much more limited arrangement: half a pavilion, only for the studios hosted today in via Mecenate. Then the project swelled up to double with the decision to direct the production of Corso Sempione to Portello – all those in Milan in essence – putting the historic owned headquarters up for sale. With the mirage of the Saxa of the North. An expensive move, with several zeros, while investments for Rome are on the run: starting from Viale Mazzini, which has been struggling with asbestos-related problems for years (at least since the beginning of 2000) and which, again in 2017, had been subject of a restoration plan, never gone through.
The costs of the future and the waste of the past are not the only hitch on the way to the Saxa Padana. There is also a bureaucratic obstacle: given that the 2017 notice was for a much more modest project than the current one, a new expression of interest will be needed. Several board members are convinced of this. In short, the operation could eventually end even away from the Fair. Another mess. Unless the new Board of Directors decides on a turnaround, which is invoked by many parties. Nicola Zingaretti from the Messaggero columns in recent days has defended the importance of the capital for the public company. “We want to know the industrial reasons and business strategy that led to the choice” to push Milan and neglect “the importance of the capital which already has a much more advanced asset”.
Rai in Milan? “It is the patrimony of Rome”: the case arrives in Parliament
With a question to the Supervisory Authority, Senator Maurizio Gasparri of FI asked the RAI top management to know «what are the intentions regarding investments in Milan; whether it is a question of reorganizing the center in the Lombard city or if one imagines transferring the activities currently taking place in Rome there ”. A strategy that would have “negative repercussions on all audio-visual activities that have always represented an important cultural and occupational resource in the capital”.
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