People, Travel

$300m Needed to Repurpose 400 Sites

$300m Needed to Repurpose 400 Sites
$300m Needed to Repurpose 400 Sites

$300m Needed to Repurpose 400 Sites$300m Needed to Repurpose 400 Sitesh an investment of $300 million, the deputy for investment at Iran’s Revitalization and Utilization Fund for Historical Places (known by its Persian acronym Sabta) said.

Speaking at a conference on tourism investment in Semnan’s Sangesar Hotel on May 4, Ali Kazemi added that spending money on restoration and repurposing historical buildings leads to a quick return on investment.

“Historical buildings have a rich background and help with brand building, something investors are particular about,” IRNA quoted Kazemi as saying.

Kazemi said five out of the 400 buildings are in Semnan Province and owned by Sabta.

About 130 to 140 functions have been envisioned for these sites which will be decided based on the building’s conditions and location, economic feasibility, investor demand and infrastructure.

Numerous facilities have been provided to attract private sector and foreign investors, namely 100% tax exemption for five to 13 years, based on the scale and location of the project, and loans from the National Development Fund of Iran.

In addition to tax breaks and financial assistance, discounts in utility costs are also among the government’s incentives to implement restoration projects.

Iranian officials seem to have realized that the only way to preserve historical buildings is by encouraging the private sector to derive economic benefits from these buildings by retrofitting them.

According to a report by Financial Tribune’s sister publication Tejarat-e Farda, the fund handed over only 10 historical buildings to the private sector between 2006 and 2013. Under the government of President Hassan Rouhani, about 80 historical monuments were added to the list and currently over 70% of 269 monuments listed by the fund have been transferred to the private sector and are undergoing restoration and repair.

Officials hope to compensate for Iran’s woefully underdeveloped hotel sector by increasing the sector’s capacity to host tourists by restoring old mansions and turning them into lodging facilities.

Nevertheless, the repurposing of historical buildings and monuments for commercial use has its own critics who believe the protection and preservation of architectural heritage is among the responsibilities of the government and that the involvement of the private sector will inflict damage on historical monuments.


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