Nova’s lease is ending tomorrow !
Nova currently operates with three quarters of public subsidies and one quarter generated by its own income. But above all, it is sustained by the energy of a dedicated team and holds on thanks to a historically low rent. The collective is healthy and always welcoming new volunteers. The flexibility of its functioning, its independence and capacity for self-governance are proof of its resilience in facing the ups and downs of our changing society. There is however a risk that the rent could be multiplied by six when the lease will come up for renewal, especially if it will be aligned with market rates! This is a scenario that Nova would be unable to face up to without denaturing its activities and endangering its artistic and cultural identity. Uncertainty about the future of the building has always been a concern. This is why, over the last few years, a rather crazy project has emerged.
It needs to be finalised by the end of the current lease, which expires in May 2024…
Nova will create its own landlord !
The ideal Nova’s landlord
The history of the ownership of the building at 3 Arenberg street, 1000 Brussels, is a saga chronicled here. So let’s focus here on our ideal landlord!
The ideal landlord will guarantee that cinema Nova lasts for several generations, provided that it remains independent, under collective management and dedicated to culture and the arts. It will not interfere in Nova’s programming, editorial choices or ethics, nor in its functioning. It will not drain the organisation’s finances and would charge a reasonable rent. It will take care of the maintenance works to be undertaken on the building to keep the cinema’s activities going.
At Cinema Nova we prefer developing our own solutions to control all the subtleties, we have then created this ideal property owner ourselves! Its name: Supernova Coop !
The cooperative was created in 2017 when the prospect of acquiring the long lease for the site where Nova is located became a possibility. “A long lease?” you say. This is a limited property right – 68 years in our case – on payment of a fixed sum at the beginning of the lease term.
And why opt for a cooperative? To ensure that the ownership of the premises remains collective and non-profit. But also to involve a community of cooperators who wish to contribute to the preservation of a venue they feel is of great importance.
The purpose of the cooperative is therefore to acquire the long lease and transfer the use of the building to the non-profit organisation Nova at the most modest rent possible. The cooperative guarantees that if Nova were to disappear – which is not planned, be assured! – only a cultural activity sharing its same values would be able to take over Nova’s lease. In other words, Supernova Coop will be helping to preserve an independent, self-managed cultural venue in the very centre of Brussels, hopefully until the year 2092!
So, then, what about Nova?
What exactly is going to change? Well… in fact, not much! Nova will continue to offer you a warm welcome, along with stimulating and challenging programmes at affordable prices. But at the same time, a lot will change, as our venue will be allowed to pursue its activities until 2092 without fearing an unsustainable rent increase or a change of ownership that could compromise its functioning, editorial independence or even its very existence. This is all the more necessary given that pluralist and contradictory debates as well as constructive criticism are increasingly under threat in our society.