Strengthening the structure of the partly-demolished historic tobacco warehouse at Plovdiv’s 8 Odrin Street in the city’s “Tobacco Town” area will cost 100 000 leva (about 50 000 euro) according to rough estimates, mayor Ivan Totev said on April 13.
There was public outrage in the city in early March when an attempt was made to demolish the warehouse, which dates back to the 1920s. Authorities ordered the demolition stopped and Culture Minister Vezdhi Rashidov has ordered the owners to rebuild the building.
In recent days, rain and wind in Plovdiv have further damaged the building, large parts of which are exposed to the elements, media in Plovdiv reported.
The owners of the former tobacco warehouse building will be fined about 15 000 leva because they have not fulfilled any of the requirements of the Ministry of Culture to secure the building, local media said on April 13. The deadline to do so expired in early April.
Stoilka Ignatova of the Inspectorate for Protection of Cultural Heritage told local media that the tobacco warehouse building could “bury” Odrin Street.
“They (the owners) were given five days to strengthen the building and secure the area. These guidelines have not been met by the owners,” Ignatova said, adding that within three months, the owners will be penalised.
Totev said that a photogrammetric record was being made of the building while deputy mayor Dimitar Katsarski and historian Vladimir Bulchev would examine all available documentation at the National Institute for Immovable Cultural Heritage related to the 8 Odrin Street property.
Totev said that the municipality had the consent of the institute for access to the warehouse. He said that a further attempt would be made to talk to the owner of the building to carry out the instruction to strengthen the building.
Earlier media reports alleged that the owners had refused to either strengthen or reconstruct the building, said to have been intended for demolition to make way for a luxury hotel.
“We are not going to let matters stand like this” Totev said. “I will not let this happen because it makes a mockery of Plovdiv.”
He said that the company that owned the building had not paid municipal taxes for last year and with previous debts, the sum owed in 2016 added up to 50 000 leva.
Totev said that there were way to force the owners to perform the repairs on their own account.
Plovdiv news website podtepeto.com said on April 13 that the Administrative Court in Plovdiv had declined to hear an application by the owners of the building against the administrative act issued by the National Institute for Immovable Cultural Heritage. The case had been referred to the Administrative Court in Sofia, because the institute and the company were within the jurisdiction of that court, the report said.
The owners have changed their legal counsel, and are appealing against the order to stop the demolition of the building because it prohibits all construction activities, thus including reinforcement of the building.
“It is precisely that that our clients want to do, to secure to and strengthen the structure,” the report quoted lawyer Stefan Gugushev as saying.