14ymedio, Havana, 3 July 2020 — This week the roof of the building of the Partagás tobacco factory in Havana collapsed, a few yards from the Capitol building, according to the website Cigar aficionado. The property has been undergoing a restoration process since 2011 and houses the La Casa del Habano store on its ground floor.
“The collapse of the roof did not affect La Casa del Habano inside the main entrance to the old factory,” said the website, but the business premises have been closed since the collapse and sources from the state monopoly Habano SA state that the salesroom “will move to a new location.”
“No one was injured in the incident, but as a precaution, the entire building has been closed until its structural integrity can be verified,” the note added. The building, located at number 520 Calle Industria, is considered a historical site for tobacco lovers and also a building of high architectural value for its Baroque-reminiscent façade.
The factory was founded in 1845 by the Spaniard Jaime Buenaventura Ambrós Partagás y Ravell and it was in the building on Industria Street that the figure of the “tobacco shop reader” emerged for the first time. The readers — ’lectores’ in Cuba — read aloud from newspapers and novels to entertain the cigar makers while they do their work. The factory was installed in the iconic building at the beginning of the 20th century.
Before 1959, the Partagás brand was the second largest tobacco producer in Cuba with 4.8% of total production, second only to Menéndez, García and Compañía, managers of the H. Upmann and Montecristo brands. After Fidel Castro came to power, the factory was nationalized and became state property.
For years, along with the production of cigars, the place became an active museum, where tourists could enjoy guided walks through the different stages of cigar manufacturing, including rolling, pressing, placing the rings and packaging.
Since the start of the restoration of the building, the manufacture of cigars has moved to another location.
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