The owner of a contentious and empty plot of land in the Nørrebro district has no intention of selling it back to the City Council.
Yesterday the City Council said it hoped to build affordable housing for young people on the site of the former Ungdomshuset, arguing that it was the only type of building that could defensibly be done there. But the owner Carsten Tidgen Houtved, from the company Procasa, said he already has plans for the property.
“We bought the plot because we thought it would be good for the project we want to carry out,” Houtved told Politiken newspaper. “We have specific plans for what we want to use the place for and we’re working on it right now.”
The plot of land is a highly sensitive subject for the city’s left-wing and anarchist community, who for 25 years ran a community centre in a building that used to stand there (read more in the Fact Box at end of the article).
The group was evicted in March 1, 2007. But despite being given a new building on Dortheavej road, many in the community oppose any development on the plot of land.
City Councillor Jonas Bjørn Jensen (Socialdemokraterne) says he doubts Houtved actually has any plans for the land and instead is merely speculating on the property market.
“Legally he has the right to build what he wants but there is a moral duty attached to owning such an attractive property,” Jensen told Politiken, adding that the council wants to buy the land and build youth housing in order to help heal old wounds.
“It would close a part of history in a sensible way by ensuring that it does not become a supermarket, which would run counter to the history of the property,” Jensen said.
But Houtved has no plans on selling it to the council.
“The problem with the [former residents] has been solved. They got a new building. I will do everything I can do distance myself from it. I am not a member of Ungdomshuset because I own the property at Jagtvej 69,” he said.
Fact Box | Ungdomshuset, Jagtvej 69
The far-left and anarchist community ran the community centre Ungdsomhuset (‘youth house’) in a squatted building on Jagtvej 69 from 1982 until 2007.
In 1999 the City Council sold the building to Human A/S, which sold it on to the radical Christian sect Faderhuset, which turned down all attempts by the building’s residents to buy it back.
Faderhuset demanded the eviction of the building’s residents and on March 1, 2007, police assault teams, with the assistance of the military, raided the building by helicopter and removed residents who had barricaded themselves inside.
The building was immediately condemned and on March 5 it was demolished.
The eviction sparked some of the worst riots Denmark has ever seen, with disturbances lasting several days and resulting in over 10 million kroner of damage.
There were also disturbances in late 2006 caused by community centre users protesting their impending eviction, and in the summer of 2007 by activists demanding a new community centre.
In 2008, Faderhuset sold the building to the current owners, Procasa.
The City Council gave the community a new building on Dortheavej road in the Nordvest district in 2008, which is widely called the ‘new Ungdomshuset’.
The empty plot on Jagtvej 69 still serves as a symbol of loss for many on Copenhagen’s left-wing, which is why the city now want to use the plot to build homes for young people.