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Businessman Buys Venice's 'Haunted' Island, Faces Community Group Challenge

| 15 May 2014 13:48

Poveglia's lease sold for €513,000, and its buyer has yet to say what he wants to do with it.

Poveglia's 99-year lease has been sold at auction to businessman Luigi Brugnaro, for €513,000 (c. $704,000). The fate of 'haunted' Poveglia, home in its day to lunatics, plague victims, and - if reality TV is to be believed - any number of ghoulies, ghosties, and long legged beasties, has yet to be decided. Brugnaro has pledged not to undertake speculative development on the island, at least some of which will be retained for community use. He intends to invest €20 million to restore Poveglia's derelict buildings, but hasn't said anything about what else he intends to build out on his new holding in the Venetian lagoon.

"He wanted to do it for Venetians to stop the Arabs or the Chinese from buying it for themselves," claims a spokesman for Brugnaro, adding that the businessman would meet with the mayor and consult with the community before deciding what to do. Meanwhile the local community group Poveglia Per Tutti intends to launch a challenge, claiming that Brugnaro's bid is "surreal." Its own bid was reportedly only €160,000, though its Facebook page seems to suggest it now has €420,000 available.

Poveglia Per Tutti's Lorenzo Pesola says his group will insist that Brugnaro's offer is turned down. The state agency handling the auction has 30 days to decide whether or not Brugnaro's bid will stand. If the challenge is successful, then Brugnaro's offer will be void and Poveglia Per Tutti, the second highest bidder, will win out.

Luigi Brugnaro, former president of the Venice unit of Confindustria, the Italian employer's association, is an advocate of cruise ship tourism in Venice.

Source: Guardian

Images: Muchmoremuchier.com

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