By Humphrey Carter
MICHAEL Douglas's Costa Nord cultural centre in Valldemossa is on the verge of being bought by the Balearic government.
It would appear that the centre, which Douglas opened in March 2000, has run into financial difficulties or has at least become a financial burden Douglas no longer wishes to bear on his own. The Hollywood star has owned the S'Estaca private estate in Valldemossa for over 20 years, building and restoring the property with his ex-wife Diandra who still has access to the estate for six months of the year.Since setting up a holiday home on the island, Douglas fell in love with Majorca, in particular Valldemossa and the Sierra Tramuntana mountain range, to which the cultural centre is dedicated. The centre, in which the Oscar-winner is said to have invested $5 million, concentrates on the region's history, culture and environment as well as the Austrian archduke Luis Salvador who discovered the area at the turn of the last century. The Archduke also designed and built S'Estaca.
The cultural centre includes a multi-media theatre, in which a film about the history of the north of the island, narrated and produced by Douglas, is projected, an audio-visual experience about the Archduke, a restaurant and gift-shop and exhibition area. The theatre, which opens in the summer, has also been used to stage a host of events, such as the Mediterranean Nights series of concerts each summer which have been attended by the Spanish royal family and included Van Morisson, Art Garfunkel as well as leading Spanish and South American artists. The centre has also become a focal point for children and each year thousands of school children are taken on environmental visits to Costa Nord where they learn about their heritage and traditions of the mountain range and why they must be protected. Coast Nord also holds an annual “environment fair” which Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta Jones always attend.
Balearic tourism minister Joan Flaquer confirmed yesterday that Douglas and the government are in talks, adding that the cultural centre has become a very important part of the island's tourism, cultural and environmental sectors and must be supported.


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