A new quarrel between the developer of the Cathedral Plaza building in Bucharest and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, which owns the adjoining Sfantul Iosif cathedral, has surfaced in the Romanian media. While the Archdiocese says the Dâmboviţa Court has decided to stop the construction of Cathedral Plaza, as it was built without legal authorization, the developer states that there is no decision to demolish the building in any litigation in which the company is a part.
“We will examine the circumstances in which such an court decision could be issued without respecting the most elementary rights of a building’s owner,” said Robert Rosu, the lawyer of Millennium Building Development.
The developer explains that the Court has not ordered the demolition of Cathedral Plaza, but is demanding that City Hall issues an administrative act by which to order certain measures related to building. Any such administrative action will be contested by the building developer, consistent with its legal rights, according to its lawyer.
Therefore, contrary to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, the fight in court is far from being completed. Millennium Building Development has already obtained a victory at Neamt Court, which dismissed an application filed by the archdiocese on the demolition.
According to a survey by the The Money Channel Institute, 56 percent of people in Bucharest do not want the demolition of the Cathedral Plaza and 69 percent see it as an opportunity to create new jobs.
The already erected building, whose development cost some EUR 60 million, has been the subject of quarrel between the developer and the Archdiocese for several years. Millennium Building Development has previously sued Romania at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), after a Romanian court decided to annul the building’s construction permits.
Work on the building started in 2006, with permits issues by the Sector 1 City Hall in Bucharest, and ended in October 2010, despite back and forth law suits between the developer and the Romano – Catholic Archdiocese. Real estate investor Eyal Ofer, co-chairman of Miller Global, the owner of Millenium Building Development, previously said he was planning to go to court against the country at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. He claims that his company has lost EUR 25 million after not being able to continue works on the building.
The 18-storey building is currently empty. Plans for the building were laid out in 1998 for a smaller building, but were later changed. The head of the Romano – Catholic Archdiocese, archbishop Ioan Robu initially approved the building, but later changed his mind, according to the building developer. Former Culture Minister Theodor Paleologu said the ministry was to partially blame for the Cathedral Plaza project, as it caved in to the requests of archbishop Ioan Robu.
Ioana Toader, firstname.lastname@example.org