YANGON — Myanmar’s largest private lender, Kanbawza Bank, said Thursday it would finance the entire restoration of the Secretariat, one of Myanmar’s most historically important buildings, as a mixed public and commercial development.
The Secretariat, in the heart of downtown Yangon, has played a crucial role in the administration of the country since the building’s completion in 1905.
Originally known as the Minister’s Building, it was the administrative seat of British Burma. Today, it is most significant as the location where independence hero Bogyoke Aung San, seven members of his cabinet and a bodyguard were assassinated on July 19, 1947.
The sprawling building and its compound have been closed to the public for decades, opening only on Martyrs’ Day which commemorates the assassinations and more recently, for art exhibitions curated by the Pyinsa Rasa collective.
In 2012, the Anawmar Art Group won a government tender to manage the Secretariat, although specific details about their plans for the sprawling site have not yet been made public.
KBZ Bank said in a statement that following the restoration the building would house a Martyrs’ Museum and the National Museum of Yangon.
The project would “reimagine the entire venue and create new public and commercial spaces for modern Myanmar citizens to gather, learn about their heritage and reimagine their futures” it said.
The restoration is expected to be completed by the end of the year, the statement said.