• Germany edition
 
Hamburg sues over pricey, late concert hall
Photo: DPA

Hamburg sues over pricey, late concert hall

Published: 03 Feb 2012 16:08 GMT+01:00
Updated: 03 Feb 2012 16:08 GMT+01:00

Hamburg city is suing the firm building its landmark new concert hall for going tens of millions of euros over-budget and being at least four years late.

The Elb Philharmonic concert hall already dominates the skyline of the Hamburg harbour, where it was planned to be the vanguard of an extensive redevelopment.

Designed by Swiss duo Herzog & de Meuron it sits atop of an old brick warehouse and is made primarily of glass.

But the project has run into massive problems, plunging the city government and construction conglomerate Adamanta, which includes German building giant Hochtief, into years of strife over spiralling costs and disappearing due-dates.

On Friday Hamburg’s district court gave city authorities the go-ahead to sue Adamanta.

The city was initially prepared to contribute €77 million to the project – but this figure has since gone up by nearly five times to more than €323 million – more than half the expected €600 million total cost. And the original completion date of 2010 has been pushed back to 2014.

“The city has a good chance of getting money back from Hochtief,” said Heribert Leutner, head of the city’s project’s management association.

“But the case is complicated and could last for a very long time.”

Click here for photos of the building

Complications arose almost as soon as construction started in 2007, prompting several requests for more public funding within that year.

Large sections of the building were redesigned the following year, which pushed costs up even further. And a stream of problems with the architects and the construction conglomerate followed, also making the project more expensive.

The building’s designers had underestimated certain costs – such as an acoustic panelling for the main concert hall which cost five times as much as expected, adding more than €10 million to the bill.

They also added a third concert hall to the project after initial plans and costs had been submitted to the city.

When completed, the project will also include a hotel and 45 private apartments.

DPA/DPAD/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

23:58 February 3, 2012 by pepsionice
A little story here, which most Germans never caught. About twelve years ago....this huge problem popped up with a concert arena in Koln. In the early 1990s....some city folks got this idea about begging massive gov't funds to buy up a rundown area of Koln near the city-centre. Then they wanted funds to build this convention center/concert center/arena/etc.

The gov't sent an expert on projects like this and eventually he came to realize after four months....that it would NEVER pay for itself or it's monthly bills. They could run disco parties at it weekly, bring in top bands every Friday and Saturday, and have various shows done there....but it'd never pay for the original cost or the continued operations cost. He filled out the report and strongly discouraged this from ever being done. The report went into a box, and was never shown to anyone.

Months passed, and finally the new Koln center was done. They had major events planned almost nightly for the first month. But around four months into this operation....there just wasn't enough big name events to make the operational cost work. They had security folks and clean-up folks on salary.....and they barely could cover just them and the utilities. The city was getting dragged into more and more bills for the upkeep and general operation. So finally, someone in the city council started to complain about this deal. An investigation occurred, and they finally found this report of the anticipated value of the center.

I'm making a pretty educated guess that an expert was hired and actually predicted the Hamburg operation would go the same way, and that report got stuffed into a box. This is Germany, and this is how all municipal projects get built....sadly.
09:57 February 4, 2012 by twisted
pepsionice has probably got it right. To me, this project is the result of very bad planning and design followed by Hochtief probably under bidding with the whole idea of making profit on modifications to the original contract (common practice in contracting). And I suspect some folks in the Hamburg government are probably getting some under the table payments on this whole thing as well. Hamburg's white elephant.
10:43 February 4, 2012 by lucksi
As long as you hand out contracts to those who handed in the lowest offer and not put it in writing that everything that costs more is problem of the builders and not the state as well as penalties for late finishes; stuff like this will happen over and over again.
13:22 February 4, 2012 by boopsie
The Elb Philharmonic is a scandal and a monstrosity. All that money for a giant cream puff showpiece in the middle of Hamburg harbor and no further support for Hamburg artists themselves. No artist's life will be improved because some money sucking gargantuan gargoyle predominates the skyline. They will still be performing for the same low salaries but the rich burger businessmen in town will be able to factiously brag to their out of town friends that Hamburg has become a cultural landmark.

This whole thing would be a joke if one didn't know how much the music schools, jazz clubs and other art institutions in Hamburg need that money.
15:23 February 4, 2012 by Bruno53
Well, we can't blame British RAF Field Marshal Harris nor USAAF Gen Spaats for filling the German cities with ridiculous modern buildings like this ugly "concert hall' in Hamburg.
17:26 February 4, 2012 by JDee
wait till you see what happens in Stuttgart, the new train station project is going to bankrupt the city, it will be this situation x20, the corruption was clearly exposed beforehand but the sheeple just go into denial, they can't deal with the idea that authority figures are so bad, btw the I noticed that the Minister President ot Hessen recently finished his term and went straight into a job with Hochtief/Bilfinger Berger. That's how it works, if you want to see what goes on in B-W look at the S21 stuff. Think about this every day when you are hard at work to pay your taxes!
09:25 February 5, 2012 by wood artist
While I'm not against "modern" architecture, and find some of it very interesting, it sometimes seems the designers of buildings like this simply want to create controversy by stretching visual images beyond what can be constructed using current methods.

My father was an architect by trade, and often spoke of a simple rule: Form follows Function. In other words, if it doesn't "work" how great it looks doesn't matter. This appears to be another case of ignoring that rule. If you visit Köln, you'll discover a wonderful brick plaza outside the concert hall. You'll also discover that there are employees stationed at the edge of the area all the time, paid to ensure that people never walk on the huge plaza. Why? Well, it seems that the plaza is actually the ceiling of the concert hall, and the noise of people walking on is audible inside, thus interrupting the concert sound.

Whoops! Not only was the whole idea wasted, but they pay these folks every day to stand around and keep people out of an area clearly designed for people. It' s like building a new park, and then keeping everyone out.

This whole mess should go right back to the architect...and that firm should pay for the entire overrun. Of course, signing a "cost plus" contract is fairly dumb in the first place. Get a firm price, and then expect the promise to be met!

wa
Today's headlines
New app helps clients find prostitutes
Photo: DPA

New app helps clients find prostitutes

While the German government is considering tightening prostitution laws, Berlin entrepreneurs have developed a smartphone app to connect sex-workers with clients. READ () »

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend
Photo: DPA

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend

The days running up to Easter may be cool and wet, but the holiday weekend should be a bit warmer for most of Germany, according to forecasters. READ () »

Berlin man must call himself a mother
The fight over the transgender man's right to be his child's official father has been raging since last year. Photo: DPA

Berlin man must call himself a mother

A transgender person who became the first man in Germany to give birth in March 2013 must be registered as the child's mother, a court has ruled after his year-long court battle to be named a father. READ () »

Study: rape convictions fall sharply
Photo: DPA

Study: rape convictions fall sharply

The chance of being convicted of rape in Germany has more than halved in the past two decades to fewer than one in ten, a major study revealed on Thursday. READ () »

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax
The tax privilege for investment income is unfair, says the SPD. Photo: DPA

SPD: Restore 45-percent investment tax

The centre-left half of Germany's coalition government has called for the old top rate of a 45-percent tax on investments to be brought back - to match standard income tax and fight the squeeze on middle incomes. READ () »

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car
Sniffing out the money. Photo: DPA

Customs find smuggled cash in every third car

The number of Germans smuggling large amounts of cash across the Swiss border into Germany rose dramatically last year. Customs officers said on Thursday they made a find in almost every third car they checked. READ () »

Crystal meth use hits record level
Crystal meth seized in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Crystal meth use hits record level

Consumption of crystal meth in Germany appears to have reached a record level, according to government figures published on Thursday. READ () »

Child's near death sparks row over refugee homes
Leonardo had to have a finger and toe amputated after staff refused to call an ambulance. Photo: DPA

Child's near death sparks row over refugee homes

A political row has broken out in Bavaria after an asylum seekers' home failed to help a toddler who almost died of meningitis. The case has raised concerns about the treatment of refugees in the state. READ () »

Bayern and Dortmund to face off for German Cup
Kaiserslautern fans let off flares in the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night. Photo: DPA

Bayern and Dortmund to face off for German Cup

Holders Bayern Munich will face Borussia Dortmund in next month's German Cup final after cruising to a 5-1 win over second-division Kaiserslautern in Wednesday's semi-final. READ () »

Zalando hits back after undercover report
Working conditions at online retailer Zalando are under the spotlight. Photo: DPA

Zalando hits back after undercover report

Online fashion retailer Zalando has prompted an investigation by state prosecutors in Erfurt against an undercover journalist who revealed alleged "trade secrets" in a TV report on Monday night. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo:ESL
Sponsored Article
How to integrate successfully in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,143
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd