ORANJESTAD ― In 2015 Stichting Monumentenfonds Aruba (SMFA), which is the monuments foundation, bought the Ex-Botica Aruba (pharmacy) building situated at Steenweg 19.
Generally, before buying buildings there are some requirements that the SMFA demands beforehand. One of these requirements is that there must be a long-term renter so the process of acquiring the monument can continue. In the case of the building on Steenweg, there wasn’t any long-term renter at the time of purchase, and due to the circumstances, this building could become in danger in the hands of merchants who would have thrown it down. After the building was bought, it was declared as a protected monument and received its seal from the Monument Bureau, which is the department of the government in charge of protecting local monuments.
SMFA at the moment is preparing to restore the façade of this building. The first stage is investigating and design, this will be in the hands of the architect Leo Ponson form Archiosa under the guidance of the project leader Xavier Arends. After this, a public tender will take place and then the renovation begins. As soon as a rental agreement is finalized, SMFA will restore the inside of the building to the specifications of the tenant. They are always open for interested tenants, whether it’s to rent or to look for a monumental building. All interested tenants can contact Stichting Monumentenfonds via their site www.monumentenfondsaruba.com or pass by their office.
SMFA is proud to contribute to the preserving of the cultural heritage so this can be shared with the community and also visitors coming to Aruba.
About the Monument Fund
The Monument Fund acquires or buys buildings and restores them back into their former glory. After restoration, they adapt and rent these spaces. “That sounds easy, but it is incredibly complex because most monuments have multiple owners, and due to the fact that inheritances are split, all parties must be in agreement upon selling.” They cooperate with the government office of monuments because they set the rules of what you can and cannot do to a protected monument.
“We also have the task to maintain the buildings which is an ongoing process. The wind, the salt in the air and the sun that not only burns human bodies but also buildings are huge challenges. Next to that they educate, create awareness and maintain public relations about our monuments.” Some of the monuments owned by the Monument fund Aruba are the light house, town hall, and the water tanks in both, San Nicolas and Oranjestad.
The office of the Monument Fund is actually located in a monument itself. The building is beautiful and has a tropical style. “This house goes back to the 1920’s when it was built as a vacation house by Aruban entrepreneur Croes. He and his family came here to the outdoors as in those times there was only cunucu (countryside) here. They had big parties and enjoyed leisure time with family and friends.” Richer Arubans at that time looked outwards for architecture inspiration as that was considered chic.
The Monument fund Aruba is open every day from Monday to Friday from 8 to 5. You are more than welcome to ask for information, guiding and help. For more information check their Facebook page Stichting Monumenten Fonds Aruba and the website www.monumentenfondsaruba.com. q