Botanical Gardens to be restored

BOTH LISBON Câmara and the Green Party have unanimously agreed that Lisbon’s Botanical Gardens should be restored to their former 19th century glory.

However, an environmental impact study will have to be carried out before the work goes ahead. The restoration work would be carried out with the cooperation of the city’s Natural History Museum.

Other studies will also consider the potential of the gardens, their weak points and what would need to be done to make it as much a garden of the future as the past, particularly in terms of science, education, research and leisure.

The Neo-Moorish Ribeiro da Cunha mansion which backs onto the gardens from Príncipe Real, owned by US company Eastbanc, is to be transformed into a hotel.

However, the Lisbon civic movement Forum Cidadania Lisboa is concerned that the building is preserved and restored as one of the few neo-romantic buildings left in the city.

“The Eastbanc project of turning Príncipe Real into a charm hotel zone is a good idea but there must be other solutions to make the mansion economically viable and maintain its architectural integrity,” states Forum Cidadania Lisboa.

Eastbanc argues that the only way the mansion can be maintained is by turning it into a 42-bed luxury charm hotel. The project will only go ahead once the detailed plan for the redevelopment of Parque Mayer, which backs onto the site, is approved.

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