#City & Town Planning
Tbilisi Municipality/ Bank Republic - Societe General Group

It’s been several weeks that in the center of Tbilisi, in Freedom Square, in the corner of Tabidze and Leonidze Streets (2, Leonidze Street) a historically, architecturally and generally important building is being dismantled.

The permission to pull down the building was issued by the Urban Planning Agency at the Municipality of Tbilisi and the Reconstruction Council, composed of the representatives of the Ministry of Culture, chaired by Mr. Mamuka Akhvlediani, the Vice-Mayor of Tbilisi.

The financier of construction is Bank Republic/Societe Generale and its owner Lasha Papashvili (building owner: Business Center in the Liberty Square – 2, Leonidze Street, Ltd; purpose: multifunctional office building; permission issued by: Urban Service Agency of the Tbilisi Municipality; Permission No 6606-1-16.05.08; term – 2008-2010; project organization: Lebo, Ltd. (Levan Bokeria), construction company – Arkstudia).

The house was built in 1830. Initially this was a two-storey building; at the end of XIX century it was altered and the third floor was added to it; final alteration to this building was made in the beginning of the XX century – in 1903.

It had the status of a building with signs of monument, which involves protection mechanisms identical to those of buildings with the status of monument. By the Decree of the 1st of October 2007 of the Minister of Culture Giorgi Gabashvili, the building located at 2, Leonidze Street was not included into the new list of buildings with the status of monument. By the same decree many other buildings of cultural value were deprived of the above status (e.g., so called “imeli”, “zaria-vostoka” and other buildings).

The info board, pasted to the building at 2, Leonidze Street provides with information on construction works, containing several inaccuracies:
• Computer image of the new building, which clearly shows rude manipulation to hide the actual scale of the new building – after adding two stories, the height of the building remains unchanged.
• The mentioned permission (No6606-1; 16/05/2008) was issued for demolishing the existing building and not for constructng a new one.

According to the initial project, the historical building, meant for destruction, was supposed be replaced by a 7-storey business center. After the protest expressed by the society, the investor offered to construct only a four-storied one as a compromise.

On 21.02.2008 Mr. Papashvili applied the Recommendation Council with a request of dismantling of the building, but his request was rejected. The repeated request of the investor was considered by the Council on 13.03.2008 and this timethe permission was granted. The permission was issued on 16.05.2008.

However, neither the investor and not the members of the Recommendation Council themselves do not or can not understand, that in this case the issue of principal importance is to retain the historical building.

We believe, that a qualified transparent expert study would show, that the building could be rehabilitated, which means that it would not be necessary to dismantle it. Particularly when we have such positive examples in the capital: rehabilitation of the buildings of the General Office of the TBC-Bank (Marjanishvili Street), the Head Office of the Bank of Georgia (Freedom Square) and the former Caravansary in Leselidze Street.

We, who signed this petition, call:

The Ministry of Culture, Monument Protection and Sports – Mr. Nikoloz Vacheishvili
The Mayor of Tbilisi – Mr. Gigi Ugulava
The Vice-Mayor of Tbilisi – Mr. Mamuka Axvlediani
The Head of Tbilisi City Hall – Mr. Zaal Samadashvili
The Head of the Georgian Cultural Heritage Foundation - Mr. David Ninidze
Chairperson of the Supervisory Board of the Bank Republic – Lasha Papashvili

Our opinion is that the permission issued for dismantling of the building located at 2, Leonide Street must be immediately suspended and for the purpose of evaluation of the present state of the building a professional, unbiased and comprehensive expert study must be carried out.

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The STOP demolishing of the historical building in Tbilisi petition to Tbilisi Municipality/ Bank Republic - Societe General Group was written by Alexander Elisashvili and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.

Petition Tags

Tbilisi heritage