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#1 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 03:04 PM

Does this make the Crystal Court - Art Gallery connection official?

[url=http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/capital_van_isl/story.html?id=5c37e91b-c397-468b-81b9-4e7b9fa6aa2a&k=93384:526ac]Art gallery makes pitch for city aid; AGGV close to deal for exhibition space near conference centre[/url:526ac], by Carolyn Heiman.

From the article:

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria wants the city of Victoria to chip in $950,000 toward a new $14-million downtown gallery.

Director Shirley Madill made her pitch to council this week, adding she'll be asking Saanich, Oak Bay and Esquimalt to help out as well.

...the gallery is closing in on a plan that could result in a 25,000 square-foot exhibition space where the Crystal Court Motel sits, across from the Royal B.C. Museum, Victoria Conference Centre and the Crystal Garden.

Vancouver developer Westbank has offered space alongside a prime residential project planned for the area.
(...)
Council hasn't seen Westbank's plans for the site and declined making any motion on the gallery proposal until those plans were considered.

Coun. Pam Madoff said the plans for a new gallery are exciting "but I'm concerned about moving forward without a site plan."

Council expects the developer to ask for permission to construct a larger building than the site allows in exchange for amenities including such items as the space for the gallery.

Mayor Alan Lowe said, however, council will have to grapple with the question of who is giving the gallery the amenity: The developer giving the land, or the city who will be asked by the developer to make concessions on the size of the residential phase of the project to allow for the gallery.

Outside the meeting Lowe said a downtown gallery is desirable but at the end of the day "it is the city bestowing the amenity to the art gallery."
(...)
Madill said other municipalities will be asked to contribute a share of $650,000 toward the project.

"How are we so fortunate to get the lion's share?" Mayor Alan Lowe chimed in, adding that he expected the gallery would also be asking for a property tax exemption on the property. The gallery will seek $2 million each in provincial and federal funding and $5.4 million in private pledges.

It has already raised $2.8 million from the private sector.


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#2 m0nkyman

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 03:11 PM

Right. Somehow allowing the developer to afford to build at not cost to the city is "the city bestowing the amenity to the art gallery".

I don't need to take off my socks to calculate that the 950,000$ that the City of Victoria is being asked for, of the 14$ Million dollar total cost for the art gallery is not 'the lion's share'.

560$/square foot seems steep though....

#3 Caramia

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 05:27 PM

With Coriolis tainted vision - The City should decide if they want density in that place. If they do then a gallery is a great new amenity and lets make it happen! We get the lions share because we have Downtown. In my eyes, it is to our shame that we don't have an Art Gallery downtown yet.
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#4 Mike K.

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 05:40 PM

Ian Gillespie, head of Westbank, is donating tens of thousands of dollars of his personal art collection to the gallery for its new sculpture garden (or what have you).

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#5 Holden West

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 06:08 PM

$560 a sq. ft. sounds expensive but a gallery requires climate controls, heavy duty construction etc.

The NY MoMA was several times more expensive per square foot.
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#6 G-Man

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 06:51 PM

^Yet they somehow still made it a rather irritating building.

This proposal seems so Victoria to me. I mean we really need like a single 40 or 50 thousand sqft gallery with storage and all that but instead we will split it over to rather meagher sized spaces.

Perhaps we should let Westbank build two towers on this location and then they can buy a seperate larger piece to construct a real gallery.

Enough under building of public buildings!

Conference Centre, Arena, Library etc etc.

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#7 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 03 March 2007 - 11:32 PM

I find the report a bit confusing, too, although just to clarify, I don't think Lowe was talking about $950K being the "lion's share" in terms of the overall $14M cost, but rather that the city is being asked to come up with more than the other municipalities, which are being hit up for $650K. The part I find really confusing is the bit around amenities. As Caramia notes, we can look at this with "Coriolis tainted vision," and if you do that, you have to ask yourself how "amenity" is getting defined here, and (more specifically) what's it being defined in relation to?

I don't know, maybe this sort of dickering just points out how badly we need a "Coriolis tainted vision" that can clarify things, and put issues on a "level playing field." As it stands, anyone can come along and say anything about amenities and trade offs, and no one has any way to relate them to anything objective since they mean different things to different people.

As for Ian Gillespie's art collection: I haven't seen it, don't know what's in it, but keep in mind that there are plenty of private art collectors who collect not-so-great stuff, but who think they can leverage their private collection in deals.

To see, for example, what can happen when private collectors foist their "collections" on museums/ galleries (typically in some influence-stakes game) read journalist Ken Johnson's [url=http://www.boston.com/news/globe/living/articles/2006/12/29/mixed_blessing/:06b93]Mixed blessing; The highs, lows, and limits of Modernism -- and private collections[/url:06b93].

Googling around, I read this in [url=http://www.rennie.com/livingatshawtower/press_5.html:06b93]Vancouver: City’s ‘Kings of Mondo Condo’ put architecture first and the result is stunning[/url:06b93] by Trevor Boddy:

An art collector himself, Gillespie had previous public art success with Dale Chihuly’s bouquet of glass flowers, closely flanked by Gwen Boyle’s fountains bedecked with icons along the Bute Street side of his much lauded Residences on Georgia.

For the Shaw Tower, the artistic ante was upped by concentrating on a single sculptural work that will be visible from the North Shore and both our major harbour bridges. Conceived by a Los Angeles artist, multi-colored, constantly changing LED-displays will pulse up and down the entire elevation of the Shaw Tower, a public art-work that will be inaugurated this summer.

Ok, maybe his collection is good. But I'm not convinced it should be a bargaining chip -- maybe that's just me.

For another interesting Trevor Boddy article, see [url=http://www.canadianarchitect.com/issues/ISArticle.asp?story_id=164578120900&issue=08012006&PC=:06b93]Downtown's Last Resort[/url:06b93], which also mentions Westbank/ Gillespie in passing. The article is about Vancouver's residential-vs.-office focus. Boddy is brutal in his crit:

...the glib promotion of postmodern urbanism and economics by our city builders, validating lifestyle before the creation of wealth, pumping the visual markers of the "Creative City" over the more difficult and important investments in affordable housing and cultural institutions that would actually make a creative city happen. At a recent RAIC panel on urbanism, Calgary architect Marc Boutin described the new downtown Vancouverites as totally immersed in this promotional oversell, lost souls trying to find themselves through the self-congratulatory latte-and-rollerblade lifestyle they have bought into.

(Marc Boutin is the guy who was on CBC recently with Josh White from Skyscraperpage.com and Druh ..., Calgary alderwoman -- interesting show, there's an audio link to it on SSP, Western Region section.)

Then there's this 2005 article from Toronto, about how there's no design panel in T.O., and that that's why they build ugly residential buildings: [url=http://www.toronto.ca/planning/article_starlessons_paradise4.htm:06b93]The price to put up paradise; Developer agrees to $12.5 million deal[/url:06b93]. Since we're on the "land lift" learning curve, get this bit:

In most cases, the city is looking to receive 50-70 per cent of the "land-value lift" - the amount a property's worth increases because of the added density, regardless of the building atop it. The form of payment is up for discussion - public art, child care centres, or money.

The son of two environmentalists, Gillespie liked the idea of planting 57,000 trees in a B.C. forest to compensate for carbon emissions during construction. And he loved the idea of working with the Vancouver Art Gallery on an outdoor sculpture garden. Then came a $4.8-million restoration of an adjacent heritage church and a $1 million donation to affordable housing - all on top of $4 million in regular development levies.

In the end, he signed a $12.5 million package - 91 per cent of the expected land-value lift. "That's the best one we got," says Beasley. "We're very, very proud of that."


So, 91% of "land lift" was (in 05) the most Vancouver had ever gotten out of a developer, according to this article, and it was for Westbank's Shangri-La. This article suggests that in most cases, Vancouver manages to extract between 50-70%.

Incidentally, where are you all coming up with this $500+ figure for the square foot cost? Are you just dividing the $14M by the square footage for the gallery? Is that really accurate? We don't know whether the $14M is for just the space there, or whether it includes other things. Also, the article mentions 25,000 sq.ft. for "exhibition space" -- don't know if that's totally accurate, but if it is, then there must be another huge chunk of square footage for storage, behind the scenes stuff, etc. Plus, the $14M could include renos to the old art gallery, to retrofit it for additional storage (or take things out of storage), get a better Emily Carr gallery installed, etc.

Is there going to be more detail in Committee of the Whole minutes? Heiman's article is based on Shirley Madill's presentation to council on March 1. It would be great to see if there're additonal bits to go on when the minutes come out.
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#8 aastra

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 12:33 PM

I'm going to dismiss Mr. Boddy as a naysayer. His claims that there is no architectural variety in downtown Vancouver (false) and that the new buildings are ugly (his opinion, with which many people would obviously disagree) aren't worth much. Especially the latter, because any measure which indicates that Vancouver's new buildings are ugly would also indicate that Toronto's or Calgary's should be bombed off the face of the earth.

Also, he is absolutely dead wrong when he says there is no densification going on in other areas of Vancouver. Even in the city proper there are flocks of highrises in areas well away from downtown (Broadway corridor, Kerrisdale, Joyce Station, UBC). Meanwhile, lowrise and midrise condo buildings are going up everywhere. Arbutus has a bunch now, as does 4th Avenue, Broadway, and just about any other major street you can think of. There are ambitous plans for development at Oakridge. As for the suburbs, there are flocks of highrises all over the place. North and West Vancouver both have bunches. Richmond has gone from all but none to a few dozen in nothing flat. Burnaby has bunches near Metrotown and now near Brentwood Mall. The Lougheed Mall area almost looks like a real city for all its highrises as you approach it from the west. New West has highrises. Port Moody is building highrises.

How anybody could scoff at these pockets of densification while also lauding Calgary -- for anything -- is beyond me. Densification in Calgary's suburbs is but a drop in the ocean by comparison

The stark reality is that one-third of Vancouver's head-office jobs left the city during the past six years, whereas Calgary has seen an increase of 64 percent.


As for comparing office construction in Calgary to office construction in Vancouver, the comparison is meaningless because we all know why there's office construction in Calgary. It's the same reason there's any construction at all anywhere in Alberta. It has no relevance to Vancouver's situation. There's no sense in faulting Vancouver for not building a dozen new office towers to service phantom enterprises. The idea that Calgarians did something right to generate their current boom is silly.

But over the same period, only nominal residential growth has been seen in the adjacent West End...


This remark alone earns his essay a failing grade. What, 35,000 people over a few blocks isn't good enough? He wants more? Seems like an ironic way to introduce a thesis that's highly critical of the glut of residential development on the downtown peninsula.

...transit ridership projections have more people leaving the core than coming in each morning...


We hear about these projections all the time. I'll believe it when I see it because there's no sane reason for anybody to be commuting any significant distance from a home in downtown Vancouver. Taking the bus to an office on Broadway or UBC is one thing, but a more far-flung destination in Burnaby or Richmond is something quite different.

...street life is not what one would expect at North America's highest residential densities...


So exactly what were the critics expecting? Compare the street life in downtown Vancouver's neighbourhoods to the street life in any other city Vancouver's size and you won't be nearly so disappointed as when you compare it to the most vibrant sections of the largest cities you can find. It's Vancouver, not Manhattan.

You can't transform a city into a "true metropolis." It either is one or it isn't one. So we're saying Vancouver would be a true metropolis and a world class city if only it hadn't embarked on the redevelopment of the past twenty years? I'd think a glance at some "before" pictures would toast that theory pretty quickly.

These mainly young renters give downtown its current air of diversity. But soon after the arthritis kicks in for their greying landlords, these cultural creatives will get booted out.


I don't understand the excerpt above. Can somebody explain it to me?

Perhaps the most damning indictment of Vancouver's planners is their policy-driven intensification of the Downtown Eastside's shameful slum.


I don't understand this one, either. Is he saying residential development downtown has worsened the drug problem in the downtown eastside?

We may come to regret a scene in which 15 percent of the cost of new housing goes to marketing, but only five percent goes to all design fees. With the exception of a token condo tower by Arthur Erickson for Concord Pacific, Vancouver's finest architects are largely conspicuous by their absence...


If Vancouver's new buildings are so ugly, why are so many other cities now trying to capture/emulate the Vancouver look? Also, how can you lament the exclusion of lower incomes and then also demand stunning architecture on every corner?

Also, considering the number of highrises Vancouver has built recently, it's not unreasonable to expect some misses. Is Mondrian a beauty? Is Miro, or The Gallery? In my opinion they're all very ordinary. But to single them out for their "gracelessness" seems to be a case of criticism gone overboard.

As for the reference to Arthur Erickson...it might make architects feel better to know a building was designed by somebody famous, but it doesn't make the building look any better. I'm no fan of Mr. Erickson's work. Some of it is nice, most of it is mundane, some of it is awful.

The nearly three million people of the Lower Mainland may be losing their opportunity to join the ranks of the great world cities -- I have little confidence that Richmond, Burnaby or Vancouver's off-peninsula inner ring will ever achieve metropolitan density.


What, we're supposed to believe that Vancouver/Burnaby/Richmond should be packed with highrises from one end to the other? That wouldn't be a "great world city," that would be living hell. Please move to Brazil if that's your idea of a great world city. It makes no sense to argue that condo development downtown has excluded the working class, and then call for the razing of the very neighbourhoods in which "ordinary" Vancouverites live. Advocating density doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition, folks. The fact that neighbourhoods of SFDs still exist doesn't mean the densification efforts downtown are a failure.

The1991 plan and its updates promoted Art Deco roofs and "Chateau Chapeaux" as caps on condo towers...


In fact, outside of a very few exceptions, Vancouver defined its own style rather than relying on cheap cliches. Makes me wish Victoria would do the same.

#9 renthefinn

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Posted 04 March 2007 - 06:14 PM

I agree with most of what you're saying, but I do commute from Vancouver to Burnaby, and I know others that do to, so it's not an unlikely situation. Also I do agree with Body in the fact that the West End could use some densification, and along with it a greater mix of uses on some select streets. Right now its almost only Robson, Davie, Denman and Burrard where there is any retail. I think the neighbourhood could live with another retail/commercial street, and at the same time increase some of the residential density.

#10 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 05 March 2007 - 03:47 PM

I'm buried to the neck in stuff right now, and haven't had time to read Boddy's article carefully, or digest aastra's comments, but since this is the "arts" thread, here are two other items of note... :)
The first one is by Gridskipper, and asks a bunch of people to name [url=http://gridskipper.com/travel/new-york/ugliest-buildings-in-new-york-according-to-the-experts-238431.php:7c599]The ugliest buildings in New York City[/url:7c599]. I thought this one might be interesting in relation to Boddy's assertion(s) that Miro, Mondrian, etc. are "ugly," which is a subjective term. (See the blurb by John Hill of Daily Dose of Architecture on Gridskipper, for example -- if you follow to his site, you see how he gets savaged by a couple of people who disagree with him that Norman Foster's Hearst Building is the ugliest in NYC.)

The other article is horizonr's (John Lumea's) [url=http://www.johnlumea.com/2006/12/new_yorbanism.html:7c599]New Yorbanism[/url:7c599], which rips all the New Urbanists a new one. Really interesting for those of you / us who think Jane Jacobs had something interesting to say, but who wonder what it has to do with all the nice new urbanist initiatives to build what essentially are just better malls. Lumea links to a great article by Herbert Muschamp, written less than a month after 9/11, about the street as "the central artery of civilization," and that privatising the street kills cities. (Unfortunately, it's an archived article, probably locked if you're not a subscriber. ) He really attacks the "contextual" building, the one that tries to fit in or fake belonging, because streets need heterogeneity, not homogeneity, and that creating that homogenous sameness or in-fitting just turns public space into parcels for private shopping (i.e., like malls), and makes tourist traps out of cities.

Ut-oh, sound familiar?
:lol:
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#11 G-Man

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 07:38 PM

Well that is only in objection to one definition of New Urbanism and it is one that I do not think is the most common.

ANYWAYS So how about that new art gallery proposal!?

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#12 Mike K.

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Posted 06 March 2007 - 08:12 PM

I was up at the gallery today to take in some of the sites. Some neat stuff in there but beware, it's dusty. They're doing renos.

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#13 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 06:19 AM

I haven't seen this announced in the Victoria media or by the AGGV, but according to "What's on in Winnipeg," we're getting a new curator at the AGGV:

Curator leaves the WAG
Curator leaves the WAG
July 27th, 2007
back
THE Winnipeg Art Gallery is losing one of its long-serving curators to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Mary Jo Hughes has been hired as chief curator of the Victoria gallery. She starts Sept. 10.

A 12-year WAG employee, she is curator of historical art. Among her numerous exhibitions have been retrospectives of the work of Charles Comfort and Robert Bruce.

WAG director Pierre Arpin could not be reached Thursday for comment on hiring Hughes's replacement.
http://whatsonwinnip... ... w&id=26565


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#14 Mike K.

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 05:26 PM

The honeymoon is over. The downtown art gallery proposal is now officially kaput.

The following press release was made available this afternoon and obtained by VibrantVictoria.ca:

ART GALLERY DECLINES REVISED DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT PLAN

Victoria, B.C. – In a meeting of the Art Gallery Board of Directors held Tuesday, November 27, 2007, a unanimous decision was made to decline revised architectural plans for a new downtown gallery location.

The original concept by developer, Westbank Projects, was to develop the Crystal Court Motel site on Belleville Street (between Douglas and Blanshard) as a single residential condominium tower, located on the east end of the site, and an independent art gallery, on the west. When City of Victoria representatives indicated that the single tower concept was not
likely to receive municipal approval – primarily because of the proposed height – Westbank went back to the drawing board and prepared an alternative design. The revised plan involved two condominium towers, with the proposed gallery situated under the second tower at the Douglas Street end.

“The Board’s final decision came after much deliberation, but at the end of the process, the Board concluded that a standalone facility for the proposed new gallery was an indispensible requisite”, said Peter Maddaugh, President, AGGV Board of Directors. Peter Maddaugh complimented Westbank for its community mindedness and thanked them for their innovation and foresight to include the Art Gallery as a potential co-partner in its development scheme. “It is unfortunate”, said Maddaugh, “that although we had secured substantial financial support for this project, which gave us a very optimistic view of our chances of success, it appears that our vision cannot be accommodated on the Crystal Court site.”

“The new dual tower concept, with the integrated gallery space resulted in a physical limitation that no longer fit our needs”, said Shirley Madill, Director/CEO of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. “An art gallery has many unique requirements and the newly proposed changes meant a reduction in exhibition space, less visibility and challenges for the delivery and movement of large exhibitions in and out of the location”, stated Madill.

The Art Gallery has long desired a location near the downtown area to provide access to visitors and the citizens of Greater Victoria. “We will continue on at the Moss Street facility, where we have been located for over 50 years, while we plan for a location and a building that will do justice to both our extensive art collection and the City of Victoria. Of course, the Art Gallery will continue to engage, challenge and inspire our audience through quality exhibitions and programming,” said Madill.

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is located at 1040 Moss St. in Victoria, B.C. Established 60 years ago, the Art Gallery is a public museum dedicated to the celebration of art and has an extensive permanent collection of more than 17,000 works that reflect three main areas. An extensive Asian art holding includes the most comprehensive collection of Japanese art in
Canada. Historical collections feature both Canadian and international works and the contemporary art collection features national and international artists, with a particular commitment to Canadian artists and those from British Columbia. Visit aggv.bc.ca for details.

Contact:
Janet Lewis, Manager Marketing & Communications
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
1040 Moss Street, Victoria, B.C. V8V 4P1
Phone 384-4171, ext. 231
jlewis@aggv.bc.ca

#15 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 05:57 PM

I just got the email saying VV had first crack at the news. How many spies do you have in the field?

#16 m0nkyman

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 06:04 PM

Thanks city hall! You've screwed the pooch again. :?

#17 gumgum

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 06:26 PM

Great. Another vacant lot.

#18 mondurvic

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 08:11 PM

Then again, maybe the Museum was being a little unreasonable . . .

#19 Mike K.

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 08:58 PM

The gallery was supposed to have leased the space from Westbank so I wouldn't expect them to be talked down to during negotiations. I'm sure, though, that both the developer and the gallery needed each other to get what they wanted. Unfortunately the City did what the city seems to do with frequency, and that's to kill a good thing before it has a chance to come to fruition.

#20 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 11:02 PM

Re. "little bit unreasonable": The Art Gallery was in all likelihood not being unreasonable; rather, the City flat out scuttled this project. Quote from the press release: "When City of Victoria representatives indicated that the single tower concept was not likely to receive municipal approval – primarily because of the proposed height – Westbank went back to the drawing board and prepared an alternative design." Note: "...primarily because of the proposed height..." I suspect that neither Westbank nor the Art Gallery foresaw that common sense and vision could be undermined so quickly and so fatally in this city, which is held hostage to unreasonable, backward-thinking "visions."

Re. "vacant lot": It won't be a vacant lot, insofar as there's a (closed) motel on the site and no doubt Westbank will build something else, albeit obviously without the Art Gallery.

Re. "lease": It is my understanding that the Art Gallery would not have leased the space, but would actually have owned it.
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