Minister of Education and Culture Katrín Jakobsdóttir said yesterday that it would be best to complete the construction of the Icelandic National Concert and Conference Center by the harbor in Reykjavík, which has come to a halt.
The concert and conference center under construction. Photo by Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir.
Jakobsdóttir told Fréttabladid that a long delay in construction could prove costly. “I believe that the building must be completed […] but it will be undertaken in such a way that the contribution of the state does not increase.”
“This center has been the dream of several musicians for many years. I’m taking over the responsibility of a project that is based on prerequisites that I wouldn’t have agreed to,” Jakobsdóttir explained. “But I believe that we have to choose the most sensible solution considering the circumstances.”
The minister said the matter must be discussed with other parties that are involved in the project before a definite decision is made. The Icelandic state and Reykjavík City own the company Austurhöfn together, which is responsible for the center’s construction.
According to Jakobsdóttir, postponing the project could cost an additional sum of between ISK 6 and 20 billion (USD 52 and 172 million, EUR 40 and 134 million). There are also hundreds of jobs on the line that have to be taken into consideration, she added.
Chairman of Reykjavík City Council Óskar Bergsson welcomed the minister’s attitude towards the center. “It is primarily the state’s responsibility as it is the majority owner of Austurhöfn [55 percent] and the owner of Landsbanki.”
Holding company Portus used to be responsible for constructing the Reykjavík Concert and Conference Center but went bankrupt at the end of November 2008. The company was in 50 percent ownership of Landsbanki, which has now been nationalized.
Click here to read more about the building.