For the Court of Auditors, the Center Pompidou must review its economic model

For the Court of Auditors, the Center Pompidou must review its economic model

An economic model that is difficult to sustain. A renovation project that is insufficiently managed and whose financing is not assured. These are the two main lessons from the audit of the Court of Auditors on the Center Pompidou, revealed on April 23. “At the moment, let us say it, the Center Pompidou does not have the means to finance its development and investment projects on its own”warns Pierre Moscovici, president of the rue Cambon institution, who wants to send a “message of extreme vigilance” both to the Parisian establishment and to the Ministry of Culture, which is responsible for it.

The publication of the report, which covers the period between 2013 and 2022, coincides with a pivotal moment in the history of the Center Pompidou, which must lead two major projects. On the one hand, the complete renovation of the breathless building of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, which implies a total closure for at least five years from 2025. On the other, the construction of the Ile-de-France antenna de Massy (Essonne), a new reserve and exhibition space scheduled to open in 2026.

Two projects, certainly ambitious, but whose costs have exploded. That of Massy now amounts to 254 million euros, an additional cost of 142 million linked to the undervaluation of expenditure items and inflation, report the magistrates of rue Cambon. “The project has evolved significantly, going from purely essential technical equipment to a real branch of the Center”specifies Pierre Moscovici.

” Deadlock “

Same slippage on the side of the historic site in Paris. To the necessary renovation program costing 358 million euros was belatedly added the development of a cultural master plan, providing for an internal restructuring estimated at a minimum of 200 million. A sum that the Center Pompidou must raise by itself by early 2025 at the latest – 39 million euros have already been found, specifies the institution. “It’s a dead end really”notes Pierre Moscovici.

Read the interview (2017): Article reserved for our subscribers Renzo Piano: “I am the Quasimodo of Beaubourg”

The equation is, it is true, complex. Ticket revenue is plateauing. With 2.62 million admissions in 2023, Beaubourg’s attendance has not returned to pre-Covid-19 levels or even 2022 results, unlike most major Parisian museums. The revival of tourism has hardly benefited it. Foreign visitors represent only 35% to 45% of its audience, compared to 70% at the Louvre, 57% at Orsay and 65% at the Rodin museum. Despite the redeployment of part of the activities at the Grand Palais from 2025, an operating loss of 15 million euros during the work period is to be expected, specify the magistrates.

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Mattie B. Jiménez

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