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Austria may sell presidential villa

April 5, 2004 at 4:28 PM

VIENNA, April 5 (UPI) -- Austrian authorities are considering selling the country's presidential villa since it is falling apart and presidents do not want to live there.

The two candidates for the Austrian presidency, Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Heinz Fischer, have both said they prefer to keep living where they do now rather than move to the crumbling -- if historic -- Vienna villa traditionally reserved for the president, Austrian newspaper Die Presse reports.

That choice is just fine with the Austrian economic ministry, which has estimated that fully restoring the residence would cost about 3.5 million euros ($4.24 million).

The villa has further points against it in that its location and layout make it difficult to secure.

Authorities have considered purchasing a new villa, but those plans were abandoned after choosing and paying for a new building proved difficult.

Some favor building residence space into the Hofburg castle that already houses the presidential offices. That location has the advantage of existing security and an unbeatable commute.

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