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Helsinki Music Centre Construction Bid Approved

The board of the Helsinki Music Centre has approved a bid by the construction company SRV to build the centre. SRV bid 90.5 million euros for the job. SRV's previous tender was over 120 million euros, but was considered too expensive. The total cost estimate of the centre now stands at 140 million euros, down from the previous estimate of 180 million euros. In addition to the main building contract, other costs come from planning, preliminary construction work and subsidiary contracts. Now the board said it hopes the centre's backers will make a swift decision on whether to move forward with plan. Currently the City of Helsinki and the Finnish state are backing the project. As of Tuesday, the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) had not confirmed what role it would play. Last autumn, YLE announced it would pull out of the project after initially expressing interest in being a main sponsor of it. The financially-strapped Finnish broadcaster said construction costs were just too high. However YLE said it would still like to rent space in the building for its Radio Symphony Orchestra. Recently there has been speculation that YLE could return to the project, but YLE Director-General Mikael Jungner says it is too early to say. In addition to the RSO, the Helsinki Philharmonic and the Sibelius Academy will be the other main users. According to the plan, official construction will begin in the autumn, and the centre is expected to be ready for use at the end of 2011. The Helsinki Music Centre is to be built in the centre of the capital, between the House of Parliament and the Railway Station. YLE

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