Opponents of Guggenheim gather forces
Leader of City Council SDP group says figures put forward in Guggenheim report wildly misleading
Jorma Bergholm, chairman of the Social Democratic Party group on the Helsinki City Council says that the figures put forward in the Guggenheim museum project are wildly optimistic. He sees a miscalculation of about EUR 150 million in the numbers.
According to Bergholm, the recent study on a possible Guggenheim museum in Finland overestimates its revenue-earning capacity, underestimates the costs, and ignores some of the expenses completely.
Bergholm estimates that there is a gap of EUR 149.8 million between the numbers in the Guggenheim report and reality.
Jorma Bergholm calculates that revenue from ticket sales, museum gift shop sales, corporate cooperation, and the state contribution will be about half of the figures put forward in the study.
For instance, Stockholm’s Moderna museet, the most popular art museum in the Nordic Countries, got ticket revenues that were half of what the report foresees in its estimate of more than 500,000 ticket buyers, Bergholm notes.
He also says that the estimates have not taken into account the value of the land that the new museum would be on.
If a building were to be built on the land that has been earmarked for the Guggenheim Museum, Bergholm calculates that it could bring in rental income of nearly EUR 60 million, which would not be forthcoming from the Guggenheim project.
Mayor Jussi Pajunen feels that the figures put forward in the report are realistic. He says that the estimates on income from admission tickets are based on the expectation that a Guggenheim museum in Helsinki would become the most actively-visited art museum in the Nordic Countries.
Of the three big political groups in the Helsinki City Council, the Social Democrats are the most critical of the Guggenheim project.
Supporters of the project are believed to significantly outnumber the opponents, while many councillors of the Green League are unsure, although leaders of the Green group stand behind the project.
The City Council is the body that has the final say on the Guggenheim project. The Social Democrats are the smallest of the three largest groups in the City Council: their opposition would not necessarily topple the project, but it might make passage more difficult.
Most of the 12 SDP members on the City Council said that they had doubts about the economic figures in the report. Five were staunchly opposed, four questioned the economic figures in the Guggenheim report, two support the project, and one would not give an opinion.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Working group favours construction of Guggenheim museum in Helsinki (11.1.2012)
Prime Minister sees Guggenheim museum as an investment for 100 years (13.1.2012)
Report says Guggenheim museum could bring millions on tax revenues (12.1.2012)
The Guggenheim Foundation