San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Architectural heritage contest announces this year’s winner


The Steinvorth building, a more than century-old, two-story brick edifice in downtown San José, on Thursday was awarded ¢100 million (nearly $200,000) for a makeover. 
The building, 50 meters north of the Wendy’s restaurant on Avenida Central, beat out eight other buildings to win the prize in the Culture Ministry’s annual Save Our Architectural Heritage contest.
The money will be used to restore the structure’s original architecture and convert the building into a mixed-use facility that will include apartments as well as businesses.
At present, the building hosts several stores on the first floor and a café and bar on the second floor. The bar, open until 2 a.m., opened in 2009 and spins an array of music styles throughout the week.
The Steinvorth building was completed in 1907 by Otto Steinvorth, a German immigrant. During World War II, the building was a popular meeting place for ethnic Germans living in Costa Rica. Claiming it was a center for supporters of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis, the Costa Rican government took over the building during the war.
In the 1950s, a Steinvorth descendant reclaimed the building.
The Save Our Architectural Heritage contest has contributed funds to the restoration of historic buildings throughout the country since 1997.

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