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Helsinki Proposes New Plan to Fund Guggenheim Museum

The city of Helsinki and the Guggenheim Helsinki Supporting Foundation announced today that a new proposal to fund the construction of a Guggenheim museum on the city’s waterfront will be presented at a board meeting on Monday.

Spearheaded by deputy mayor Ritva Viljanen, the new plan more clearly outlines the city’s role in the project and increases Helsinki’s ownership share in the museum. “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 and would keep the city of Helsinki’s responsibility for financing the same as it was with government involvement,” Viljanen said.

The museum is estimated to cost between $134 and $156 million. According to the proposal, taxpayers will no longer be expected to pay $45 million. Helsinki will fund up to $90 million of the construction costs, and the Guggenheim Helsinki Supporting Foundation will provide $17 million.

If the proposal is approved, the city of Helsinki will be the principal owner of the museum building and will be required to cover the costs of building maintenance, which are estimated to be $7.2 million annually. The Supporting Foundation will be responsible for funding the museum’s operating costs, and private donors will cover the licensing and administrative fees paid to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which have been decreased by $10 million and will total $20 million over the course of twenty years.

The Supporting Foundation has garnered $73.5 million in private funding, almost triple the amount it expected to fundraise. “This is an exceptional project: No other cultural project in Helsinki has attracted this much private funding,” Viljanen said. “Private money would cover no less than 66.4 million euros of the investment. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the private sources of funding committed to the museum project, who make it possible for Helsinki to further this cause.”

If the city council approves the museum project, construction would begin in 2019, which means Guggenheim Helsinki could open its doors as early as 2021.