The Barcelona project that was rejected by the city council. / SUR

Hermitage Museum looks to Malaga to open Spanish branch

The city's mayor has welcomed the idea of the Russian gallery moving into the port, saying it will cost the city "nothing"

ANTONIO JAVIER LÓPEZ

Malaga's list of cultural attractions could increase even further following contact with the world-famous Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg about a possible branch in the city.

Representatives met with the mayor, Francisco de la Torre, recently to discuss the idea after Barcelona city council rejected the museum's plans to set up a Spanish branch in the port there, despite an initial agreement.

Speaking about the project this week, De la Torre stated that the museum would "not cost the city a single euro".

He said that, just as with the Barcelona project, the investment and maintenance would be funded by the promoters.

"It would cost nothing so there would be no incompatibility with other cultural issues," said the mayor, referring to the existing branches of international museums in Malaga: the Centre Pompidou and the Saint Petersburg State Museum of Russian Art.

The mayor said that he did not know yet to what extent the Barcelona project could be transferred to Malaga. The building had been designed by award-winning architect, Toyo Ito, with an estimated cost of 52 million euros.

According to the Barcelona plans, this would be funded by the group behind the scheme, which is owned 80% by investment fund Varia and 20% by Cultural Development Barcelona. At its helm is architect Ujo Pallarés, who has a 50-year agreement with the Hermitage for the use of its brand.

The location initially favoured for the project in Malaga is the San Andrés esplanade of the port (west of the city centre).

The Hermitage Museum is located in Saint Petersburg and boasts three million works of art.