Romanian entrepreneur’s donation doubles funds for endangered historical site in thermal spa resort
Romanian entrepreneur Ovidiu Șandor has donated EUR 18,000 to the campaign aimed at raising the funding needed to secure the Neptune Baths, a historical building in the mineral spring resort of Băile Herculane, in western Romania’s Caraș-Severin county.
The Locus Association in Timişoara, a group of young architects who have worked to draw attention on the degrading state of the patrimony buildings in Băile Herculane, started the fund-raising campaign and announced that a local businessman would double the sum gathered from donations made by May 1. The campaign came after a part of the roof of the Neptune Baths collapsed this February, endangering even more the structure of the construction.
Șandor told Adevarul that his 11-year-old son encouraged him to help the project. “I saw the initiative of these young architects and we visited Herculane with the children, we visited the imperial baths and other buildings with a similar history and an equally sad fate. I decided that something needed to be supported, from several perspectives. First of all, the building itself and the place itself, which are a palpable proof of our history, with all of its nuances, the Roman period, the Hapsburg period, the Austro-Hungarian period, the Communist period, with all these layers and nuances. Secondly, I think it is great that the young generation starts to get more and more involved in such cultural and social projects, and I think this type of initiative needs to be encouraged and supported,” Șandor explained.
The entrepreneur said he chose to double the donations raised in the campaign with the hope that more people will get involved in this initiative. He said he has no current plans to invest in Herculane but he believes the building, once refurbished, could held the resort back to its former glory.
“I think that this building, if it is turned in a cultural or social venue, can help Băile Herculane, which is a fantastic place, find its way and become a famous resort in Europe again. This project can be an extraordinary example of how a community can rediscover itself around a piece of patrimony,” Șandor told Adevarul.
Şandor is the founder and CEO of Mulberry Development, the developer of the ISHO mixed-use real estate project in Timişoara, of the City Business Centre Timişoara, and The Office Cluj Napoca, acquired by Dedeman. Şandor, who holds a PhD from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, is also an art collector and the founder of the Art Encounters contemporary art biennial. EY Romania recently named him the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year.
The City Hall of Herculane, which owns the building of Neptune Baths, is currently in a legal battle with the owners of the land on which the building stands. Until the lawsuit is settled, only works to preserve and secure the site can be undertaken, Adevarul reported.
(Photo: ISHO Facebook Page)