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Warsaw. There will be no contract with the former tenant of Powder Magazine. City hall blames councillors

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The capital city hall withdrew from the initial agreement with the creator of the powder magazine in Żeromski Park in Żoliborz and will not lease Marianna Zjawińska’s premises, which she ran for a decade. The district takes care of the historic building as well as the entire park. The building is to be used by the Żoliborz Cultural Centre. – I feel simply deceived – Zjawińska commented on the decision of the officials.

The cafe in the historic space of the Żoliborz fort was run by Marianna Zjawińska for 10 years. Her contract ended in January 2022, and another company won the new competition. However, the competition procedure and the winning bid raised serious doubts. Despite this, the Greenery Board and the greenery coordinator at the town hall, Magdalena Młochowska, defended their decisions. In one of the interviews, Młochowska admitted that the company had committed “distortion in references”, but – in her opinion – this did not give grounds to invalidate the signed contract. Grassroots protests of Żoliborz residents did not help either.

In December last year, the contract with Dapius was terminated, citing the lack of implementation of the events presented in the offer and the reconstruction of the water and sewage system without the consent of officials as the reason.

At the beginning of March, the Mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, decided that the Property Management would take over the property from the Green Management Board.

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At the end of April, Vice President Tomasz Bratek triumphantly announced that the town hall came to an agreement with Marianna Zjawińska An agreement was prepared according to which the Prochownia was to be leased to the former tenant for three years in a non-tender procedure. It was planned to reopen the premises in the summer season.

Canceled conference, canceled two meetings

May and June passed, and there was still no information about the signing of the contract or the opening of the Powder Magazine for guests. Then strange things started to happen.

On June 28, the capital’s town hall invited journalists to a press conference “dedicated to the future of Żeromski Park and Żoliborz’s Powder House”. “During the meeting, the current situation of the site will be discussed, and new decisions will be presented,” the invitation read. The conference was to be attended by vice-president Bratek, Warsaw councilor Kacper Pietrusiński and Żoliborz district councilor Wiktor Jasionowski. But less than two hours before the invitations were sent out, the conference was cancelled.

Marianna Zjawińska herself did not receive an invitation to this meeting. “We learn about the planned conference … from the media, clearly surprised that we did not receive an invitation. At the same time, we receive a sudden invitation to a meeting at the Property Office, which is canceled soon after. is cancelled. As we learn, the conference is also canceled at the same time. The whole action takes place in just two hours, “we read on the Prochownia Facebook page.

There will be no agreement, the city hall blames the councillors

On July 4, the capital city hall announced that it was withdrawing from the previous arrangements and there would be no lease agreement with Marianna Zjawińska. “The restoration of the Powder Magazine in a formula well known to the residents, commissioned by the president and nearing completion, was blocked by the speeches of city and district councilors” – informs the capital city hall.

As the town hall explains, the application to entrust the entire Żeromski Park to the Żoliborz district was included in the position adopted on May 17, 2023 by the district council.

On May 25, the Council of Warsaw almost unanimously adopted a position on this matter and supported the position of the councilors from Żoliborz. In the opinion of councilor Kacper Pietrusiński, the handing over of the buildings of the powder mill to the Żoliborz Culture Center, quoted in the communiqué of the town hall, is “the only possibility”. – A public institution is an entity which, unlike business, is not driven by the desire to make a profit. It puts the social mission first. For this reason, the request of the Żoliborz Cultural Center has priority over the requests of private entities. The solution we support will guarantee the residents access to a continuous high-quality cultural offer and will be an opportunity for the Community Center for further development, assessed Pietrusiński.

– We managed to communicate with the creator of this place, we also talked with the residents, we were one step away from signing the lease agreement. It turned out, however, that not everyone wants the return of the “old” Powder Magazine. Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski had a different opinion from the district council and city councillors. Such a firm and unambiguous position of the councilors, however, blocks the possibility of implementing the scenario adopted at his request – explained the vice-president of Warsaw, Tomasz Bratek.

He noted that the buildings of the Powder Magazine will soon be taken over by the district. On the other hand, the greenery in the park will be looked after by the Greenery Management on the basis of an agreement concluded with the Żoliborz town hall.

Statement by Marianna Zjawińska. “I feel betrayed”

On Tuesday at 5 p.m., Marianna Zjawińska appeared in front of the building of the Powder House, where she made an emotional statement in a broken voice.

– I am surprised and appalled by the fact that after four months of partnership cooperation aimed at developing the content of the contract that meets the needs of residents, the city withdraws from the declaration made publicly to me and the residents of Warsaw, who expected the return of the Żoliborz Powder Magazine. Especially since the change of the management of the park at the request of the district council or the opinion of the conservator of monuments are only a pretext and do not constitute grounds for breaking our previous arrangements. – During the 10 years of my operation, the facility’s manager was changed twice during the term of the lease agreement – said Zjawińska at the outset.

She emphasized that at the last stage of work related to the restoration of the Powder House’s operation, a meeting was held with a representative of the Mazowieckie Voivodship Monuments Conservator, director of the Property Management, the Capital Monuments Conservator.

– Representatives of MWKZ got acquainted with the terms of the agreement regarding the planned cultural and gastronomic activities in the buildings of both Powder Mills and in the area accompanying them, to which they did not raise any comments (…). I do not know the final content of the opinion, but I know from many years of working with the conservator that it is always possible to work out solutions that are satisfactory to both parties. The question is whether the town hall has undertaken such talks with the provincial conservator of monuments. As far as I know – no – pointed out the creator of Powder Magazine Żoliborz.

She pointed out that she took the city hall’s declarations seriously, therefore, based on the arrangements, she took actions that required significant work and money. – Both parties wanted Prochownia to return as soon as possible. What were thousands of residents waiting for, constantly asking about the opening date. This situation puts the city’s declaration on building reliable cooperation with small entrepreneurs involved in building subjectivity and community of the local community in a negative light – assessed Zjawińska.

– The status of the Powder House as a cult place is evidenced by the powerful voice of the residents expressed through social consultations, numerous protests, open letters and social media. It has not lost its strength, even though the Powder Magazine has been closed for a year and a half due to bad decisions made by the town hall. Starting with a highly controversial competition and signing a contract with Dapius, which ended in a fiasco due to non-fulfillment of the contract and non-payment of rent, Zjawińska said.

– I am humanly sorry because I put my whole heart into building and running the Powder Magazine in Żoliborz and I feel cheated – she added.

– The case of the Żoliborz powder mill is an example of unfulfilled promises made by the town hall – summed up Zjawińska.

Main photo source: Artur Węgrzynowicz/tvnwarszawa.pl

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