Coronavirus: Moncler leads funding effort to build hospital on former Milan trade fair site
On March 17, Italian outerwear and accessories label Moncler stated it intends to contribute €10 million to help kickstart the Lombardy regional authority’s effort to build in record time a specialist intensive-care facility with over 400 beds. The facility will be located in halls 1 and 2 of the former trade fair site in Milan, extending over 20,000 m2 on Scarampo avenue.
“Milan is a city that has given us all an extraordinary time. We cannot and must not abandon it. It is everyone’s duty to give back to the city what it has given us so far,” said in a press release Remo Ruffini, president and CEO of Moncler since 2003, when he acquired the French down jacket brand founded in Grenoble in 1952.
“I have expressed to Councillor Giulio Gallera the will to work on this great project from the moment it was first suggested, and now that its feasibility is reasonably certain, we are ready to support it. I am sure that the Lombardy regional authority’s team, also helped by the experience of Guido Bertolaso [the former head of Civil Protection in Italy, who is working alongside regional governor Giulio Fontana to oversee the project, remunerated with a symbolic €1 fee], can make this great initiative become a reality as soon as possible,” added Ruffini.
In an interview to Milanese newspaper Il Giornale, Ruffini said he “doesn’t want any [promotional] return” and that Moncler's contribution in favour of the new ICU hospital will be pro bono, and not a sponsorship. “It goes without saying, I’m only mentioning it publicly to let it be known that we’re in it, and I’m sure that many other companies would be willing to associate with Moncler. I’ve actually spoken with some of them,” said Ruffini.
Among the initiative's backers is also former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who decided to make a €10 million donation to the Lombardy regional authority to help build the new IC facility, or fund any other emergency projects, according to the ADN Kronos agency.
“Everyone is lending a big helping hand, we received donations ranging from €5 to €10 million,” said governor Fontana in a press conference, as reported by the Askanews agency. Fontana expressed his gratitude to “the many entrepreneurs and corporations who at this time are pledging significant sums,” not just Ruffini and Berlusconi, but also Fondazione Invernizzi, Esselunga, Fondazione Veronesi, Allianz and Sapio.
The project for the ICU hospital in Scarampo avenue in Milan received the go-ahead following a statement posted by Giulio Gallera, the Lombardy regional authority's Welfare councillor, on his Facebook profile, as reported by Askanews. Gallera answered critics who, instead of building a new facility on the trade fair’s site, asked for the re-opening of a hospital in Legnano, in the province of Milan, that has been shut since October 2010.
Legnano's former hospital “is unfit for purpose,” said Gallera, adding that “to make the facility operational again, it would be necessary to recondition the whole structure, the medical gas piping and all elevating equipment.” Extensive sanitization would also be needed and, according to Gallera, the renovation work would require between six and 12 months, “while the current plan is to build an ICU hospital in record time,” said Gallera.
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