An Italian businessman on Tuesday won a state auction to lease a picturesque island in the Venice lagoon but a community group whose bid failed said it hoped to persuade the government to turn down his offer.
Luigi Brugnaro, who owns an employment agency, came first against the Poveglia Association with an offer of 513,000 euros ($704,000) against the local community group’s offer of 160,000 euros for the 99-year lease.
Brugnaro’s spokesman Alvise Sperandio said the businessman had not yet decided what exactly to do with the island but would ensure its “public use” and invest 20 million euros to restore derelict buildings.
“He wanted to do it for Venetians to stop the Arabs or the Chinese from buying it for themselves,” he said, adding that the businessman would hold consultations with Venice’s mayor and the community on what to do.
But Lorenzo Pesola, a spokesman for…
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