Bucharest, Romania (2)

The wasteland referred to as APACA is located in Sector 6, Bucharest, not far from the former Presidential Palace. Close by you will find Polytehnica University; the Cotroceni Business Centre; an office complex called the “Global Business Centre”; a larger residential/office complex called Semparc; a small park with tennis courts; and AFI Palace, the biggest shopping mall in Romania. Directly in front of the wasteland, there is a small florist stand.

AFI Palace, the Cotroceni Business Centre, Semparc and the APACA wasteland all occupy former sites of industrial production that were closed down during the process of privatisation following the collapse of the Romanian socialist state in 1989.

The wasteland APACA is actually the site of a former munitions factory, Pumac, which was demolished in 2009. The name APACA refers to a textiles factory which was located across the road. Below you will find information about both places.

The wasteland is currently occupied by dogs, humans, rubble, rubbish and various plants (June, 2015).

Land nick names, Neologisms and slang terms

APACA

Location


Address

Bulevardul Iuliu Madu & Bulevardul General Vasile Milea, Bucharest , Romania

Land Topography

Size of the Land in sqm (approx.)

50,000

Surfaces

  • Rubble
  • vegetation
  • concrete

Features

Land status and definition

Basic

  • Brownfield

Legal Status

  • In Private Ownership

Current Land Owner

Ion Radulea / River Invest
<p>Before the 2008-9 financial crisis hit Romania, plans were also in place to move the Pumac factory to rural Chitila by its then-owner, Newarch Investments. The factory site in Bucharest was to be replaced with a business centre. However, the crisis sent Newarch into insolvency. Pumac was bought out by two companies: River Invest (49,77%), a company owned by Romanian businessman Ion Radulea and his wife Doina Radulea, and Gerg Trading (46,5%), a Cyprus-registered company owned by Portugeuse businessman Alain Bonte. In 2009, the Raduleas and Bonte demolished the factory, reducing it to 300 tonnes of scrap metal and 15,000 cubic metres of concrete. Media reports at the time suggested the businessmen planned to build either a carpark or offices, potentially working together with architecture giant Albert Speer Jnr. It seems, however, that the sharp downfall in property prices post-crisis has meant that the land is currently still undeveloped. </p> <p>Sections of the original APACA complex over the road, now known as the Cotroceni Business Centre, continue to produce textiles and garments. In this sense, APACA is unique in the privatisation of industry in Bucharest. In the 1990s, a number of (male) APACA workers formed smaller companies using the factory equipment and infrastructure. Some former APACA women workers continued to be employed by these companies. 290 workers are currently employed by Ciucu & Sons, among their number a handful of former APACA workers. Sections of the complex have also been extended and leased to companies from other, unrelated industries, such as "Tara Fashion", "Tip Art Vision Print", or the "Nordic Gym". In this tangle of rented, sublet and sold buildings, ownership of the entire APACA site is near-impossible to define and hence, it seems that demolishing, selling or developing this space, at least, is highly unlikely. </p>

Known intended future use by the land owner(s)

Currently unknown. Rumours of a parking lot, office development, or residential development. The site has been listed as one of the hottest spots for real estate in Bucharest. A transcript from a council meeting last year includes a local woman, who asks whether the land will be turned into a park. Her question was brushed away.

Historical (basic)

APACA stands for "Atelierul Publice Autonome de Confectii de Armatei", which was the name of a military clothing factory established on the southwest corner of Bulevardul Iuliu Madu & Bulevardul General Vasile Milea in 1902. During World War II, the factory was used to produce military garments for Germany. In 1948, APACA was demolished and rebuilt over a 97-day period. Renamed "Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej" after the dictator of the new Socialist state, the new factory became a powerhouse for the textiles industry of the new state, with 1,024 sewing machines and 1,600 workers producing top-quality garments primarily for export. By 1989, the factory employed 18,500 workers and was in operation day and night. Today, this site is now occupied by the Cotroceni Business Centre.

The wasteland colloquially referred to as "APACA" is in fact located opposite this former textiles factory, on land that was once the site of a munitions factory. The "Armata Pirotehnic" was founded in 1881 in the wake of Romanian independence. Like APACA, Pumac produced weaponry for the German army during the Second World War. After the establishment of the Socialist Republic of Romania in 1947, the munitions factory was renamed Pumac as a part of Ceausescu's "May 9" factory chain. Pumac continued to produce spare parts and heavy machinery for the Romanian army.

In the wake of the overthrow of Ceausescu's regime and his subsequent assassination in 1989, state-owned factories such as Pumac and APACA were privatised, first by being transformed into partially state-owned joint-stock companies in 1991, and then (from around 1994) through MEBO-style ("Manager-Employee-Buyout") arrangements, in which workers acquired shares of the company -- apparently an initial experiment in capitalist self-empowerment. Over the two decades following the opening of the Romanian market, however, many such factories were hit by a combination of corruption, mismanagement, and inability to compete with the international market. Production slowed, a process facilitated by real estate speculation. Many foreign and local investors bought majority shares in Bucharest production plants in the late 1990s and 2000s. Following this period and in keeping with EU regulations on urban zoning laws, "heavy" and "light" industrial plants in Romania were supposed to be shifted to rural zones, conveniently freeing up land for other uses. This meant that property prices in and around Bucharest rose by 30-40% between 2006-7, while most factories simply went into decline and were quietly shut down and demolished, resulting in the unemployment of a generation of industrial workers. In the textile industry, even when factories were successfully relocated, foreign workers from China, the Philippines and Bangladesh were employed for lower wages.

Weblinks

Land Access

Accessibility

  • Accessible

Borders

Land Users

Land is occupied by

  • Humans
  • dogs
  • plants

Activities

"Narrative Thread" (more information pending)

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