(ANSA) - 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
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
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)