Cinelandia remains protected

Cinelandia will keep its status of protected historic building for the time being. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal instituted by the owner of the monumental building in Punda.

The Art Deco cinema at Wilhelminaplein first obtained the status of protected historic building in 1997. CMOG, the owner of Cinelandia, objected to it. As the Island Council let the term lapse, the objection was granted and consequently the designation annulled. In 2008, the then Executive Council designated Cinelandia as a protected historic building again, at the request of the “Fundashon Pro Monumento” (ProMo). CMOG filed another objection to this designation, and it was granted.

ProMo lodged an appeal against this decision and the Court of First Instance subsequently ruled in favor of ProMo on January 11th of this year. So Cinelandia was a protected historic building again. In the decision of December 2, the Court of Appeal upheld this decision of the Court of First Instance. ProMo was represented in these proceedings by Thijs Leijsen and Cristel King, both lawyers with law firm VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne.

The Court believed that there were new facts so that the building could be designated as a historic building for the second time. The Court of Justice shared this opinion. Even without new facts or circumstances, the Executive Council could have designated Cinelandia as a historic building again pursuant to the Island Ordinance Monuments and Historic Buildings, according to the Court of Appeal. That is why CMOG did not have an interest in the appeal it instituted.

The consequence of this decision is that Minister Cooper of Traffic, Transportation and Spatial Planning has to decide on the future of Cinelandia again with due observance of the grounds of the judgment of January 11. Concretely this means that interested parties, such as ProMo, have to be heard. Furthermore, the government has to be more careful when balancing the interests with on the one hand the dilapidated condition and on the other the architectural value. The government also has to substantiate better what it bases its decision on. Dennis Klaus, ProMo chairman, is very satisfied with the decision.

“It is up to the government now to restore this Art Deco building to its monumental splendor again. Because the maximum penalty the government can impose is very low compared to the land value, the owners of buildings on A locations will not be eager to make an effort to preserve a historic building. That would be a pity here, because many Curaçao residents cherish precious memories of this building.”

8 December 2011

Fundashon Pro Monumento (ProMo) was represented in these proceedings by Thijs Leijsen and Cristel King of VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne. The owner C.M.O.G. was represented by Marcha Woudstra of HBN Law.

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