The fate of the "Patria-Emil Loteanu" Cinema from Chisinau became uncertain. The real estate was put up for sale a month ago, for over 4 million euros, and in two weeks, the economic agent, who plans to build a multi-storey block instead of the Guguţă café, announced that he is ready to buy the cinema to achieve the goal. The building in question does not appear in the Register of State-protected Architectural Monuments, and the demolition would only depend on a bureaucratic procedure.
"Patria-Emil Loteanu" cinema has a rich history behind. Previously, this was the Nobility Club. The first documentary about the club appeared on April 27, 1820. The foreign citizen Fux concluded a contract with Duma Chisinau on this date, saying: "(...) the edifice I built in the City Park belongs to me since 1 January, 1820, until 1832, after which I agreed to pass it to the city’s property in good condition."
At the end of the 19th century a fire destroyed the building. At the beginning of 1889, three architects, L. Seidevandt, VI. Ţiganco and project author Henrich Lonschi took responsibility for rebuilding the building until December 15, 1890.
From 1918 to 1940, the building was home to the National Theater, which was partially destroyed with the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1941.
In 1952, the building was rebuilt under the leadership of architects V. Voţehovski and M. Berber.
In this building, one of the sessions for the establishment of the council and the reception on the occasion of the signing of the Union of Bessarabia's Act with Romania was attended by Romanian Prime Minister Alexandru Marghiloman and President of the Country Council, Ion Inculet. The Nobility Club was visited by King Ferdinand I and Queen Maria, Mihail Sadoveanu, George Enescu, George Toparceanu and other personalities.
Currently, the building has 3 levels and an area of 3 thousand square meters, and a privatized land of 0.231 ha. The building was repaired in 2013 and has 3 halls equipped with the most up-to-date equipment necessary for the cinema.
The cinema "Patria-Emil Loteanu" is visited annually by about 400 thousand people.
How the cinema was privatized
In 1992, the cinema opened its doors to moviegoers after a major repair, which lasted quite long. In just 5 years, the cinema was closed and privatized.
The Patria cinema was in a delicate situation at the time, it was disconnected from the electric and thermal energy, and for some years there were no films on air, although the technical equipment was in order.
In 1998, the cinema was bought by Colaj LLC, one of the companies controlled by the controversial politician and businessman Victor Selin.
The acquisition cost Şelin 1 million 200,000 lei, although the balance sheet price of the edifice had been estimated at over 4 million lei.
Victor Selin. Source today.md
On June 27, 2000, the company controlled by Şelin purchased the land for the building.
SRL Colaj was founded in 1992, having as its founder and administrator Alexei Lisnic.
Alexei Lisnic. Source: VIPmagazin
Starting March 2016, Societe Fonciere et Immobiliere du Sud SA is the founder of Colaj. In January 2016, the same company became the founder of Shel and C, which until then had Victor Selin as founder.
Also in 2016, the company is registered as a founder of Casa Sărbătorii LLC and Casa Vinului from the Moldexpo Center.
Societe Fonciere et Immobiliere du Sud SA is a Luxembourg company, founded in 1998.
In a document of Societe Foncière et Immobiliere du Sud SA, dated November 12, 2015, Victor Selin appears as "the unique partner of the company".
However, Victor Selin claims he has nothing to do with this company since 2010.
"Patria-Loteanu" cinema, a mortgage for Victoriabank
Over the years, the building on Stefan cel Mare and Sfânt Boulevard, no.103, was used by Victor Şelin as a pledged asset for contracting loans from Victoriabank Commercial Bank, which is known to be controlled by DPM leader Vlad Plahotniuc.
The first loan of 1 million 350 thousand lei is contracted on November 18, 1998, 5 months after the building was privatized.
Thus, from 1998 to 2013, the Patria-Loteanu cinema was pledged 57 times at Victoriabank, the total amount of credits being 38 million 347 thousand lei, 12 million 890 thousand dollars and 1 million 898 thousand euros.
According to cadastral data, so far these credits are not extinguished.
Victoriabank auctions off the cinema
On December 15, 2017, bailiff Maxim Romaliischi applies a ban on the building on Bd. Ştefan cel Mare şi Sfânt nr. 103.
In May 2018, the official portal of Victoriabank announces that the "Patria-Loteanu" cinema will be sold at auction, with the starting price of 80 million lei. The announcement states that cinema equipment, valued at 7.5 million lei, is included in the price.
Selin's problems seem not to end here. Victoriabank also auctioned off "Patria" cinemas in the towns of Balti and Ungheni and "Patria Riscani" in Chisinau, which also belong to Collaj LLC. Two other buildings of the SDP president, Casa Vinului and Sanatate restaurants, pledged by Şelin's firms at Victoriabank, are also put up for sale.
Slight prognoses for the most famous cinema in the country
The former Guguţă café is behind the "Patria-Loteanu" cinema, which is to be demolished in the near future, and a bussines center with at least 13 levels will be built in its place.
The project belongs to Regata Imobiliare LLC, a successor company in procedural rights of Finpar Invest, controlled by Vlad Plahotniuc, as well as Victoriabank.
The Chisinau Court of Appeal allowed the company to build the edifice instead of the cafeteria in the Public Garden Stefan cel Mare si Sfant, with the right to privatize the land belonging to the Guguţă café.
Shortly after the cinema "Patria-Loteanu" was announced for sale, the owner of Regata Imobiliare, Ceslav Ciuhrii, said that he could buy the cinema building for the project.
Ceslav Ciobanu Business Center Project