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Residents of Northern Avenue Buildings Protest In Front of Court (Video)

Residents of the remaining old buildings of Northern Avenue and owner of Local Developers Company, businessman Samvel Mayrapetyan have filed lawsuits against each other at the Administrative Court. 

The company wishes that the residents of the buildings at 23, 25 Teryan Str. and 37 Lalayants Str. be evicted from their appartments because the government has announced the area of the buildings eminent domain. In their turn, residents Flora Udoyan and Heghine Udoyan have filed a counter suit demanding the recovery of their right to private property. Many others were also present during the hearing at the Court building.

Judge Mikayel Melkonyan postponed the hearing in order to ‘decide’ whether the counter suit would be accepted for proceeding.

Local Developers company representative, lawyer Alexander Sirunyan said that he does not wish to make assumptions, noting, however, that in such cases where there is a Government decision, the residents could only petition for the amount of the sum in compensation.

According to the lawyer, the company is offering, within the frame of the law, the market value plus 10%. However, the residents claim that they have been offered 2 1/2 times lower than the market value. The Local Developers alternative to offering money would be an appartment in another building. The residents are dissatisfied with the latter option as well, saying that the conditions in the proposed building are not good. In addition, a few have stated that the issue is not only the money but that they don’t wish to leave their homes and want to live in the homes inherited from their parents.

While speaking to Epress.am, one of the residents noted that the territory of their buildings could not be considered eminent domain just because Mayrapetyan wanted to construct a hotel or entertainment center there.

The residents stood in front of the court building protesting with placards reading “SOS,” “No to Destruction,” “Eminent Domain Doesn’t Mean Looting.”

The residents stated that there is a large number of homeless people in Armenia and the government should be building homes for them; instead, they are busy destroying the buildings on Northern Avenue. 

The residents also raised the issue that by destroying their homes, they are also destroying a part of Yerevan’s history, because their buildings were the first three multi-story buildings of the center of Yerevan. They also consider the renaming of Lalayants Str. to Hin Yerevantsu Str. (Old Yerevan’s) and the removal of the sign writing “This Building is Preserved by the State” from one of the buildings as an act of contempt toward history.

The residents are also protesting that the Local Developers company’s owner Samvel Mayrapetyan speaks with disdain toward them in the mass media. According to Flora Udoyan, Mayrapetyan stated that “and they want to actually like the building.”

A homeowner, Our City initiative member Vardan Geravetyan said during the protest that Mayrapetyan began to get wealthy during Robert Kocharyan’s presidency, wondering how Mayrapetyan became the only one with construction rights from Sakharov Square to Koghbatsi Str. and why the ruling authorities, who supposedly speak about fighting against corruption, do not audit his company.

Alexander Sirunyan expressed his dissatisfaction that the residents were personifying Mayrapetyan and hurting his reputation. “If it weren’t Local Developers it would be another construction company, if there was a Government decision,” said Sirunyan.

Note, the buildings are among the last old structures of Northern Avenue. Under Robert Kocharyan’s presidency the whole territory was announced eminent domain and a large portion of former residents were evicted from their homes by force. They refused to leave their homes due to their dissatisfaction with the level of compensation they were offered, which was a few times lower than market value.