National heritage

184 year old protected building bulldozed in central Budapest – drone video

Until recently, there was a large inner garden – with roses and trees – in the courtyard of the listed building in Ferencváros, built in 1836, part of which was – as shown in our drone video – bulldozed a few days ago.  The demolition permit for the building was issued despite the fact that it is listed as a protected monument. According to the current mayor of the district and our sources, an eight-storey – new building is planned to be built over the now demolished back of the classicist style house.

The rear part of the currently one-storey building at  26, Lónyay utca has now been demolished. The building was designed by Károly Hild, the brother of the designer of the well known Eger and Esztergom cathedrals, József Hild. To this day, inside the listed house, there is a mural painting attributed to Károly Lotz, an acknowledged German-Hungarian painter.

Most Ferencvárosban kezdődött buldózeres műemlékfelújítás, 180 éves épületet bontanak from on Vimeo.

As usual, the government office responsible for heritage matters did not respond to our information request, so we tried to find an explanation from the available data to understand how the partial demolishing of a protected building can be allowed. got hold of  the survey conducted in 2017-2019 on the building’s historic values. This document states that this residential building is one of the few surviving houses in Pest from before the time  when the Pest City Council ordered the “filling up” of certain areas as a protective measure against flooding.

From the central  online database of the construction authority  we found out that in June 2018, an attic extension permit was requested  for  the street-front part of the building, and in April 2019, an application was filed under the title “Renovation and expansion of a condominium” for the building at 26 Lónyay utca.

One of our sources stated that the demolition shown in our drone video  took place with the approval of the heritage protection authority: “they were given permission to demolish the two inner courtyards by keeping only the façade wing, and to replace those with large new buildings.”

For years, the heritage protection authority only allowed  the attic extension for this building. Later, unexpectedly, new plans– including the addition of a high-rise building  – were presented by the new owner of the property which had by then been sold by the municipality.  Krisztina Baranyi, the current mayor of Ferencváros,  tried to stop the destruction of the building for years as a council member in the district.

“An approval was issued in one of the hidden corridors of the Prime Minister’s Office, stating that although this house is a monument, it can be reconstructed in this way, with the addition of many storeys.” – stated  Baranyi.

Baranyi started dealing with the building “when around 2014-16 the management of the 9th district, also called Ferencváros, sold their remaining valuable properties”. The current mayor also stressed that this house was one of the assignments of the former district management’s favourite chimney contractor, a company owned by the then mayor’s friend: shortly before the sale of 26 Lónyay utca, the chimneys of the building were renovated.

Mayor Baranyi also complained that as a protected monument, the building was sold much cheaper, so the buyer must have been aware of the fact that there are restrictions about how the house can be re-done. When the plans with the high rise building appeared Krisztina Baranyi assumed that it could only be a mistake and she was still confident the building was going to be preserved. She stressed that not only the façade of Lónyay 26 is protected, but the entire house is a monument.

Apparently, this was not enough to save the building.

The representative (IDPM Consultant Kft) of the investor  and owner (Lónyay 32 Kft. ) replied to our questions, that they started the construction works based on a valid demolition and construction permit which they received  in February this year, and that they do not wish to comment on other issues.

Written by Gabriella Horn, you can read the Hungarian version of this article here.

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