Venice fest venue will be ready by 2010

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The Venice Film Festival's long and highly publicized wait for an updated venue will be over in 2010, Italy's Ministry of Culture announced Wednesday.

Festival organizers have repeatedly said the event risked becoming less relevant unless its aging main venue -- the famed Palazzo del Cinema -- was renovated.

"Without better facilities, the Venice Film Festival will begin to fade away," artistic director Marco Muller said during September's 63rd edition of the festival.

At the time, Muller and Venice Biennale President Davide Croff unveiled plans for a €100 million ($133 million) facelift, saying that the government had agreed to match money raised by the local government and from private sources.

The plan was to allow the facility to be used during intermediate phases of development and also could be used by other events during other parts of the year. Muller and Croff said at the time that the facility would take three years to complete.

The actual plan, as laid out Wednesday, will be a bit less ambitious, with a four-year timetable and a price tag of €70 million ($93 million) to be paid for by national, regional and city governments as well as private sources. It is unclear whether the structure will be used while under construction.

Venice organizers said they were pleased with the development.

"This is a historic victory," Croff said in a statement. "It is something that was of great need and which we have been working on for a long time."

The new facility will be built by the architectural firm 5 + 1 & Rudi Ricciotti. Ground will be broken on the project early next year.
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