From Iceland — Hverfisgata Renewal Runs Way Over Deadline, Businesses Suffering

Hverfisgata Renewal Runs Way Over Deadline, Businesses Suffering

Published October 23, 2019

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

While the much-touted revitalisation of Hverfisgata has run far past its announced deadline, businesses have either fled or are feeling the pinch, RÚV reports. Reykjavík City intends to meet with property owners about the matter soon.

Reconstruction of Hverfisgata, between Smiðjustígur and Ingólfsstræti, began on May 20. From the start, the project was slated to be finished before the end of August. That plan is now obviously run way past that deadline, as the stretch of Hverfisgata is still closed to car traffic, and foot traffic is confusing to navigate.

Ásmundur Helgason, the owner of the café Grái Kötturinn, told reporters that the situation is already putting the pressure on his business.

“Construction has been having an increasing effect the more time passes,” he told reporters. “There are 40% fewer sales now than there were this same time last year. If things go on like this, I’ll be ruined.”

Grái Kötturinn is not the only business that has been affected, either. The wildly popular Dill Restaurant, which used to be on Hverfisgata, was forced to close last August in large part due to the condition of the street. They have since re-opened on Laugavegur.

While the chair of Reykjavík City’s planning committee told reporters that they intend to invite Hverfisgata business owners to a cooperation meeting with the city, Ásmundur is unimpressed.

“A meeting that I still haven’t been invited to,” he said. “I don’t know what kind of cooperation it’s supposed to be. Why don’t they just hurry up and finish the job?”

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