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Who Allowed the Construction of Persia Tower in Downtown Yerevan?

Architects consider the construction of a 50-storey building in Charles Aznavour Square in downtown Yerevan to be unacceptable and warn that it might ruin the image of downtown Yerevan, said Chair of the Yerevan City Hall Standing Commission on Urban Development and Land Tenure Hrach Poghosyan and Union of Architects of Armenia Chair Mkrtich Minasyan at a press conference held in Yerevan earlier today.

Recall, last week, local daily Haykakan Jamanak (“Armenian Times”) published a piece in which it stated that the idea behind the proposed mixed-use development called “Persia Tower” belongs to an unnamed Iranian company.

Hrach Poghosyan noted that he spoke with the city’s chief architect, Narek Sargsyan, a couple of days ago and found out that the area in question belonged to the Artists’ Union of Armenia, but was purchased by an Iranian company in the 90s.

“The back area was also private land which they [i.e. the Iranian company] also purchased, after which this project, without being discussed by the Urban Development Council, was observed by the leadership at city hall and an architectural task was given. That was during the term of [former mayor] Gagik Beglaryan, and the chief architect was Samvel Danielyan. When they were giving the job, in Samvel Danielyan’s opinion, it was for the building not to be that high and they aimed for 25 storeys,” said Poghosyan, adding, however, that even 25 storeys can’t be built.

In the city official’s opinion, this matter needed to first be discussed by the Union of Architects, who would then give a swift resolution to city hall and after to discuss the matter in broader circles in society and try to resist implementing the project.

Minasyan, in turn, noted that a similar proposal, again made by an Iranian party, to construct a building in that spot was discussed by the Urban Development Council 4–5 years ago; however, it was denied.

“A project task was drawn up in 2009, but this job is no long in force, since two years have passed. We must do it so that this decision does not become subject to resurrection, even in the case of 10–20 storeys,” he said.

The Union of Architects chair also noted that a mode of management for urban development be announced in order to refrain from such inroads being made in Yerevan’s downtown core. In Minasyan’s words, it’s enough for there to be such a building and downtown Yerevan will be completely destroyed.