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New Center Will Be Able To Host Up To 18,000 People

Milan, home to the largest convention center in Europe

eTN Staff Writer  Nov 22, 2008

MILAN - 18,000 seats, a 1,500-seat auditorium, a 4,500-seat plenary hall, 73 modular halls accommodating from 20 to 2,000 seats, and 54,000 m2 of supporting exhibition space – these figures define the plans of the new Milano Convention Centre, unveiled this morning at fieramilanocity, which will give Italy the largest convention center in Europe in 2011.

The design, by architect Mario Bellini, includes a plan to redevelop Halls 5 and 6 of “his” Portello while incorporating the present-day and adjacent MIC, which is already the largest convention center in the country.

Explaining the project this morning were Luigi Roth, chairman of Fondazione Fiera Milano; Leonardo Carioni, chairman of Sviluppo Sistema Fiera; member of
Parliament Maurizio Lupi, managing director of Fiera Milano Congressi; and naturally, architect Mario Bellini. Other illustrious names at the presentation
included Carlo Masseroli, councillor for regional development of the municipality of Milan; Letizia Moratti, Mayor of Milan; Filippo Penati, President of the Province of Milan; and Roberto Formigoni, President of the region of Lombardy.

“The new convention center is the first new infrastructure planned to host some of the expo events, well in advance of 2015. In addition, it bolsters and completes the important services of the Fiera Milano Group. It is a major step toward full redevelopment of Portello in the framework of the functions consistent with our mission," stated Luigi Roth.

“Our city, a capital of trade, industry, and exhibition business and a lynchpin and pillar of Italian SMEs, has now become a European reference point for congress tourism and incentives. This is an ambitious and important project that will allow us to host more than 200 events each year," Roth concluded.

According to a recent study conducted by Bain & Co., with over 100,000 events
(conventions and congresses) hosted in 2006, Italy is ranked 8th in Europe, with 6 percent of the market. Taking advantage of these business opportunities, the new MIC will elevate Fiera Milano Congressi to first place in Europe in terms of size – hosting more than 3,000 international congresses every year - acquiring a leadership position, especially in the large events segment.

“In recent years, Fiera Milano Congressi has grown significantly," noted Maurizio Lupi, managing director of the Fiera Milano Group company, which will run the new convention center. “We are the leading operator in Italy and regularly participate, with good results, in Europe-wide tenders for large international congresses, especially those in the medical and scientific sectors. Expansion of the Milano Convention Centre will put us into the top position in Europe and will allow us to work even more efficiently in this business segment, which represents the top market segment. The segment is dynamic and generates economic repercussions that are particularly important to the region. Furthermore, we will also be able to host several events concurrently."

The Portello redevelopment project is part of the larger plan to transform the
northwest of Milan, incorporating adjacent areas and creating a new green space
between the City Life Park and Monte Stella, achieved by raising the plaza and
developing paths off "la stecca". With the important architectural landmark designed by Bellini, the new gateway to the MIC will in turn make Portello the gateway to a new and extraordinary area of Milan, open toward the expo and the fieramilano Rho exhibition center. Significantly, the name Portello comes from the old road that linked Milan to Rho, the "Portello municipal road."

Urban incorporation, green space, and great architecture are the essence of a
project inspired by a sense of social responsibility that symbolizes the approach of Fondazione Fiera Milano. Similarly, the innovative and complex system of photovoltaic panels will make the new MIC a model for self-sustainable energy structures, as well as a supplier of electricity to the surrounding area – up to 800,000 watts of electricity would be generated by covering the entire "Comet" with photovoltaic panels.

Like all the works completed by the Fondazione Fiera Milano over the years, this project will also be fully self-financed and will be completed quickly and within fixed deadlines, thanks to coordination by Sviluppo Sistema Fiera, the
engineering company formed for construction of fieramilano Rho, which gave the city of Milan the largest exhibition center in Europe in less than thirty months.

“In drafting the design guidelines of the new convention center,” noted Leonardo Carioni, chairman since July of Sviluppo Sistema Fiera, the Fondazione Fiera Milano subsidiary that handles engineering and contracting, "we demanded architectural excellence and an open plan that would fit into the urban context, in order to respect the convention function that will increasingly define the urban exhibition center district. Meeting defined construction timelines and budgets," added Carioni, “will be the next step in our mission to redevelop the new MIC."

Milan, home to the largest convention center in Europe
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