MILAN BATTLE: The Italian Council of State has sided with the city of Milan in an ongoing legal dispute surrounding leases in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, an ornate 19th-century landmark and popular shopping arcade steps away from Piazza del Duomo.

The bickering began in 2012 when the city reassigned gallery rental spaces to luxury brands without soliciting general proposals. After much back and forth, in August, the regional administrative court (TAR), ruled that the terms under which Versace, Armani and Prada signed leases in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II did not respect market regulations — a verdict the city of Milan appealed.

In a decision made public Nov. 7, the Council of State strongly disagreed with the TAR, decreeing that “it’s an essential duty of the public administration” to collect as much as it can on the rental of desirable city real estate.

Town councilor for state land administration Daniela Benelli hailed the ruling as “a victory for Milan,” while the city’s mayor Giuliano Pisapia noted that in addition to allowing the municipality to earn double on the spaces, the new lease agreements had paved the way for “a significant restoration that allowed the Galleria to reclaim its past splendors,” a reference to substantial financial contributions made by tenants Versace, Prada and Feltrinelli.

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