Since 1970 the administrative building of the former sugar refinery has been protected as the cultural heritage
The monumental building at the address Ulica Petra Krešimira IV No 28 was built in 1752 for the needs of the sugar refinery as its administrative building, and it forms part of the industrial complex that witnesses the industrial development of the city of Rijeka in the 18th century. In 1851 the administration of the tobacco factory moved into the building, and after 1945 it changed its purpose again and became the headquarters of the motor factory “Rikard Benčić“.
Its lavishly equipped interior with stucco decorations and paintings presenting medallions of mythological contents and historical antique scenes in chambers and halls are superb work of an unknown author ordered by Peter de Vierendeels in 1786, while the large wall allegorical painting Four Seasons in a chamber situated on the first floor is the artwork by the famous painter Giovanni Fumi from Rijeka.
In the period from 2003 – 2007 a survey was prepared of conservation and restoration research into the administrative building of the sugar refinery in Rijeka, based on which guidelines were proposed for preparing project renewal documentation. The City of Rijeka and the Croatian Conservation Institute published the monograph “The Palace of the Sugar Refinery in Rijeka – Conservation and Restoration Research” and an interactive CD ROM was prepared.
Since 2017, the administrative building of the former sugar refinery has been a part of the project “Tourism valorisation of the prominent monuments of Rijeka’s industrial heritage“, in favour of which the Ministry of Regional Development and EU funds allocated a grant in the amount of HRK 68,891,606.18 from the European Regional Development Fund, while the total project value amounts to HRK 81,339,442.05. Within the mentioned project a motor yacht Galeb will be renewed, and both locations will become an integral part of the Rijeka Civic Museum.
Project documentation for the performance of reconstruction works on the palace of the sugar refinery was prepared by the Croatian Conservation Institute, while the conceptual design for a new permanent exhibition of the Rijeka Civic Museum was prepared by the designer Nikolina Jelavić Mitrović.
Works for the refurbishment of the administrative building of the former sugar refinery started in March 2018, and their predicted deadline is in March 2020. The contractor is the company VG5 from Slovenia.
After having reconstructed and equipping the premises of the Palace, the museum administration will move in and the complete museum material will be located there. Apart from its cultural purpose, the palace of the sugar refinery will have its commercial purpose in a smaller part.