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October 4, 2022

Municipality to reshape Bucharest historical city centre

Bucharest Municipality is planning to reshape the historical centre of the capital and set up outdoor coffee shops like in Paris or Vienna. Although the idea is good, the general landscape certainly does not make one think of a western city. Bucharest Mayor Sorin Oprescu therefore intends to dissolve the Balkan air of the old city centre, ‘Romania libera’ reports. Although the area has been a never-ending worksite, on May 1, it will be given a ‘European’ look: terraces will be opened all year round, like in Vienna or Paris, tables and chairs will be white, beige or brown, there will be natural flowers and plants, music won’t scream chaotically from speakers and the traditional ‘mici’ and barbecues will disappear entirely. A valuable piece of information for all potential guests: no terrace will stay open past 23.00h.

These are the regulations proposed by the Municipality and the new conditions have been discussed by Mayor Sorin Oprescu with terrace owners in the designated area.

Another novelty is that menus will have to be bilingual (Romanian and a second, widely spoken language), and the cheap plastic furniture has to go. It will be replaced by wood and metal and any umbrella will have an independent structure from building facades and pavement, being made of white or beige water-proof fabric. LCDs, plasma screens or video-projectors won’t be tolerated any more, except for live European, world or Olympic event broadcasting.

Oprescu: Flexible regulations

Although closing time is a serious matter to terrace owners, Mayor Oprescu says the ‘proposed regulations are flexible.’ Some of the suggested measures have already put people running businesses in the area on alert. Alina Stroe has been keeping a terrace in Smardan Street for a few months already and thinks that, at a first sight, the investment she made seems to meet the new conditions. She doesn’t yet have bilingual menus, but she’s giving her best to do them, although the rather funny names she gave her courses will be difficult to translate. Mrs. Stroe, however, has another problem on her mind: “Closing at 23.00h is suicidal. We have no customers during the day, they all come in the evening. The last customer leaves at 5.00 AM. I know terraces close early in other countries, but here there are no residents who could be disturbed,” she told the daily. Stroe thinks that, if closing time is not subject to negotiation, many will turn to pubs and give up on terraces. Manager Cristian Popa says he agrees to the esthetic conditions, but he cannot accept the closing time. “If you ask me about closing time, I do not agree, because it would considerably reduce sales. Officials usually tell us they are willing to get our opinion, but eventually they do it their way,” Popa says.

Who is to revitalise the Capital’s historical centre

The Apolodor construction company, owned by entrepreneur Radu Ouatu, won the auction for the security of construction works in the historical centre, after the contract with the Spanish firm Sedesa was terminated in September 2009. According to “Ziarul financiar”, works will begin this week, so that all the 16 streets (utilities, street furniture and public lighting) should be completed by the end of 2010. The value of the new contract may reach about EUR 25 M, considering that Sedesa made works estimated at EUR 10 M.

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