Crumbling legislative buildings are historic and prevent new tower

The minister of culture has rejected a plan for a new legislative building because construction wold have impact on adjacent historic structures

The concept got its first rejection in February from the Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural, which noted the historic nature of the buildings already on the legislative site.

The minister, Manuel Oregon, basically upheld the original rejection saying that the law was clear on the protection that has to  be afforded such buildings.

Involved are the Casa Rosada, the former Colegio de Sión and the  Castillo Azul, once the home of the U.S. Embassy. All are on the complex at Cuesta de Mora in San José.

The ruling on the building also noted that the modern tower would not be consistent with the other structures in the area, which is considered  tourism zone.

Lawmakers immediately said they would seek to overturn the rejection, perhaps with a new law exempting the area from the restrictions.

The legislative complex has been condemned by the Ministerio de Salud. Health officials have noted insect infestations, rodents, bad wiring and other problems. At one point the legislature was going to be evicted until an agreement was reached.

A new structure has been in the works for years. At first, lawmakers were considering a new building on the Circunvalación in Zapote. Then in 2011 the plan was unveiled to erect a modern building on the exiting legislative campus. The price is about $77 million. A trust was set up with the Banco de Costa Rica. It actually is the trust that sought permission to build the structure.  The site is the former Lamm building. The plan was to turn Castillo Azul into a legislative museum. The Museo Nacional is just across Avenida Central.

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