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March 11, 2023
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CABA: they are looking for a square next to the church of Santa Catalina

CABA: they are looking for a square next to the church of Santa Catalina

Photo: Julian Alvarez.

The organization Basta de Demoler presented this Friday in the Buenos Aires Legislature the project to expropriate a property located in a Historic Protection Area (APH)which adjoins the monastery and the church of Santa Catalina, to create a square there and prevent a real estate project from advancing in the place that would put the archaeological heritage at risk.

The initiative received the support of the legislators of the Frente de Todos, as well as the head of the National Commission of Monuments, Places and Historical Assets, Mónica Capano, who accompanied the dissemination of the proposal during a meeting in the Buenos Aires Parliament.

The plot on which the formation of a green space with absorbent soil is proposed is part of a block that integrates the APH called Catedral al Norte, and is located on the corner of Córdoba and Reconquista avenues, where there is currently a parking lot. open sky for vehicles.

On the other hand, more than 2,500 people expressed themselves in favor of the creation of Santa Catalina de Siena Square through a petition on the digital platform Change.orgcreated by the organization Basta de Demoler.

“The Convent and the Church of Santa Catalina, from 1745, a unique colonial jewel of our city, is a National Historic Monument and a ruling of the Superior Court of Justice, the last judicial instance of the city, in 2016 agreed with Basta de Demolish, so that the plot next to Sta. Catalina is not allowed to be built higher than the height of the Church,” the petition says.

It warns that “the City Government, ignoring the Justice, in September presented in the Legislature an Agreement with the company that owns the plot, which authorizes it to build a tower on Av. Córdoba and build a beach with easement of way of cement that covers a commercial center and subsoils for parking”.

For decades, there have been several attempts to raise towers of buildings with more than 20 floors, however, from the organization Basta de Demoler (BDD) dedicated to the preservation of urban heritage, they stopped real estate projects through legal injunctions.

Also last year, the Frente de Todos bloc prevented in the Legislature the approval of an urban agreement signed between the Buenos Aires Government and the company that owns the property, Nehuente SRL, to advance with a high-rise building.

The proposal entered in the Buenos Aires Legislature seeks to declare the property “of public utility and subject to expropriation” to allocate it “exclusively to the construction of a new public square” that would bear the name of “Santa Catalina” due to its proximity to the church and the monastery, founded in 1745 and declared a National Historical Monument.

Ana Bas, president of BBD, explained that both buildings represent “one of the few treasures from the colonial era that remain in the City,” for which she pointed out the importance of being surrounded by “a green space with permeable soil” that does not damage the old structures, what could happen with the construction of new buildings.

The Basta de Demoler (BDD) organization halted real estate projects through legal injunctions

In this sense, Santiago Pusso, a member of BDD, specified that the earthworks involved in a work “put the Historic Monument at risk and danger of collapse” and warned about the need for both the church and the monastery to have “sunlight to dissipate the humidity of the colonial construction”.

The concern about the fate of the plot was also revealed this week by the group “Friends and Neighbors of Santa Catalina” which, in a statement, indicated that they are “on alert for a possible new real estate attack that challenges the architectural legacy , historical, archaeological and spiritual on the property adjacent to the church and monastery” before the version that the site is for sale.

“We are not willing to accept other encroachments on the place where two national historical monuments rest,” they stressed, noting that they are reluctant to “dismiss its archaeological richness by launching serious and compelling studies that would show that the land hides relics of a founding past that deserves clear and decided expressions of respect”.

In this regard, Capano reported that the National Commission for Monuments, Places and Historical Assets sent a letter to the head of the Buenos Aires Government, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, to find out “if there is any file in process” regarding the property.

“It is our obligation to protect heritage because it is these monuments that allow us to evoke and challenge us in our own memory,” the group highlighted.

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