03 June, Corriere della Sera
It used to be a heaven, now it’s on the brink of defaulting, and it’s forced to put for sale the properties to fix its disastrous accounts. The Municipality of Campione d’Italia, the island of the province of Como in the heart of Canton Ticino, has put for sale villas, houses and lands, starting from the historical Villa Mimosa. It’s an extreme attempt to generate cash that might not be enough to avoid the default and the compulsory administration.
The crisis of this Eldorado might be not reversible. The Campione Casinò filed a bankruptcy petition with the Court of Como, the management of the casino requested to the Court other two months to submit a feasible rehabilitation and relaunch plan to avoid the default.
The destiny of the city is closely connected to the casino and situation of the municipality itself is desperate. The staff, about one hundred people, hasn’t been paid for months and still waiting for the thirteenth month’s pay. The Mayor, Roberto Salmoiraghi, postponed the approval of the budget, but the deadline for the proceeding has expired, and the prefect of Como Bruno Corda might decide to put the municipality under administration.
Considering the situation, the Mayor decided to bet on real estate and sell the properties of the city. At the top of the long list of the properties Salmoiraghi wants to sell, there is Villa Mimosa, a villa built at the beginning of the 20th century on the Ceresio lake, not far from the casino. Just a couple of months ago, the administration was planning to turn the property into a sort of dependence for the casino catering to Chinese customers only. The project soon fell through, mainly because it got the attention of the public prosecutor’s office since the facility was to be sold to a casino with an ongoing bankruptcy petition. As this possibility was discarded, the only alternative left is to convert the villa into residential properties or a hotel.
Besides Villa Mimosa, the Mayor is also intending to make some cash by selling the areas along the lake near the port, several apartments and public buildings for residential use, as well as developable areas. The port area, according to the city administration, can be converted into residential, touristic or commercial use.
The city administration started the appraisals to estimate the value of the properties and to define the public tender which will be published in Italy and abroad. “The offer addresses private as well as institutional investors, investment funds included”, states the mayor of Campione d’Italia, hoping to attract the attention of potential investors. The municipality tried to sell Villa Mimosa already twice, in 2015 and 2016, but the auctions, starting from 10 million Swiss francs and then halved, were inquorate.
The possible compulsory administration of the city might block the sales. Salmoiraghi wants to gather a new assembly to approve the budget and avoid such risk, but the Prefect along with the Court of Auditors is closely monitoring the situation. Without a feasible budget recovery plan, the default is likely to happen.
Source: Corriere della Sera
Translator: Cristina Ambrosi