Yep, a park in central Bucharest was today put up for sale: the rather splendid Parcul Nicolae Iorga to be precise, on Calea Victoriei. The property of the Italian Embassy (who knew?) the park will be sold by auction, with bids starting at €5.5 million (a sum which works out at around €1890 per square metre) to be submitted before May 15th. The embassy is also selling a number of other properties it owns in Romania, including a mainly empty plot of land at Str. Luigi Cazzavillan 26-28, close to Cismigiu.
Coincidentally, we (briefly) wrote about Parcul Nicolae Iorga in Bucharest In Your Pocket last month:
Those visitors to (and residents of) Bucharest who speed along Calea Victoriei in cars – pausing only to watch the traffic lights turning green – often fail to realise that the street is blessed with a couple of small parks. The Nicolae Iorga Park is just one of these. A gorgeous little place, the park is home to two large busts: one of Nicolae Iorga (the anti-Semitic-turned relatively moderate prime minister, politician and polymath for who the park is named – he was killed by the Legionaries in 1940), and one (above) of Nichita Stanescu, lush extraordinaire and Romania’s finest 20th century poet. The large, handsome church overlooking the park is that of Nicolae Tabacu, first built in 1840. Next to it is the now sadly neglected Casa Cesianu, built in 1880 and which was for a long time home to the German Legation in Bucharest. It most recently housed a casino, but has been empty for some time.
It is now crucial that Bucharest City Council does not allow the park to fall prey to real estate developers. It has more than enough money in its various budgets to bid for the park itself, while an immediate statement making it clear that planning permission will not be given under any circumstances for any kind of construction on the site should put would-be property sharks off.
Does the mayor – who said that she would do all she can to protect Bucharest’s green spaces during her campaign last year – have the guts to make such a statement?