In 2004 and 2005 Vilnius Archdiocese tried to design and build a modern building within the territory of the Basilians Monastery, Arklių st. 18, in the historic Vilnius Old Town…. After a long fight and much effort, the Old Town community association, UNESCO and citizens prevented this detrimental construction project.
In the summer of 2012, the Vilnius Archdiocese began ‘‘reconstruction“ of a small building, which had been used for many years as storage units – located in the Arklių st. 18 territory. At the request of local residents, the elected neighborhood councilor met with Jonas Mackinis, the Archdiocese construction manager. She was shown project drawings, in which the buildings, which were being reconstructed, were identified and labeled as “Administration buildings“. Since these buildings are within the campus territory of the ISM University of Management and Economics this project initially did not raise suspicion.
On June 11th,2012 the Vilnius Archdiocese construction managers met with residents of Arklių st.16 (the building next door).The builders indicated that they needed access to the adjacent courtyard so as to proceed with their “reconstruction” of the Arklių st. 18 building. The neighbors became concerned about the consequences and damage to their courtyard and the brick wall. Therefore, they requested a more detailed explanation from the Archdiocese contractors. Documents, which were presented to the residents, identified and labeled both buildings, which were being “reconstructed” as “Administration buildings“.(see attached)
On the morning of July 3rd , 2012 the residents of Arklių st. 16 met with the Vilnius Archdiocese construction managers. At the request of the residents, the elected neighborhood councilor Asta Baškauskaitė also attended the meeting. Prior to this meeting the area residents and neighbors had heard rumors that the “reconstructed” building, which had formally been used as a storage unit, would become a bar brewery/café – not “Administration buildings”. Numerous bar owners had been approached by the Vilnius Archdiocese with offers and proposals to lease the Arklių st. 18 building as a bar. During the meeting, the neighbors asked the Archdiocese contractor if alcohol would be sold in the building, which was being reconstructed. The Vilnius Archdiocese construction manager, Darius Sirvydas replied that alcohol would definitely be sold in the Arklių st. 18 premises. He also added that this was their prerogative – and furthermore none of our business.
Obviously reality differs from the documentation of the Vilnius Archdiocese for the “reconstruction” of buildings in the Arklių st. 18 / ISM University territory. The Archdiocese planned from the start that the building would become a bar brewery/café – not an “Administration building”.
Citizens were very concerned by the extensive demolition of the old storage unit building. New concrete foundations were being poured…Old historical bricks were being hauled away. How could the new building be authentic with so many structural changes?
Since the Vilnius Archdiocese construction managers did not present a detailed explanation to the residents of Arklių st. 16 regarding the pending construction work, the residents postponed their approval and requested more details from the Archdiocese.
Residents of the neighborhood requested a meeting with the administration of the Vilnius Archdioceses. They were told that the Archdiocese administrator, Darius Krukonis was on vacation and it was unclear if he would even want to participate in such a meeting.