Minister of Education and Culture Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Mayor of Reykjavík Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir presented on Thursday plans on completing the Icelandic National Concert and Conference Center in Reykjavík that is currently under construction.
The Icelandic National Concert and Conference Center under construction. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
“It wasn’t an easy decision because considerable interests are at stake,” said Jakobsdóttir. “But we have to look at the long-term cost which could double if constructions are canceled now.” Fréttabladid reports.
“We also have to take into consideration long-term goals such as the development of the tourist industry and diversity of professions,” the minister added. “With such matters in mind, we simply have to make sure that the city center remains attractive.”
On Thursday, Jakobsdóttir and Kristjánsdóttir signed a declaration of intent on continued construction of the center. Austurhöfn-TR, a company in 54 percent ownership of the Icelandic state and 46 percent ownership of Reykjavík City, will take over the project.
According to estimates, completing the project will cost ISK 13.3 billion (USD 118 million, EUR 92 million) in addition to interest rates. The building’s completion is scheduled for January 2011 and its opening in the following spring.
The plans do neither assume that the state will increase nor reduce its contributions to the project compared to agreements from 2004. Agreements with contractors have room for rationalization measures, postponement and cuts if need be.
Jakobsdóttir said up to 600 jobs are on the line because of the operations and that authorities will focus on hiring domestic employment wherever possible.
“The operations must come with domestic employment, the minister emphasized. “That, in addition to the cost of canceling operations, was the biggest influential factor on this decision.”
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