Greens see red over Munich event hall



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Muenchen zweite Arena Image: Flughafen Muenchen GmbH

Investors are keen to build an event hall which can fit in up to 20,000 visitors at Munich International Airport in Germany. This proposal has met with mixed reactions in Freising, a town near the Munich airport.

While some of the local politicians, including the Mayor of Freising, Tobias Eschenbacher (FSM), view this as an opportunity for the City, the Greens in the City Council are opposing the project tooth and nail.

A final decision as regards the location has not been made as yet, according to the project developers. They consider a space to the West of the airport in Freising to be perfect. Investors have in mind to build an advanced event, conference and congress center with a “landmark character”. The multiuse convention center will be developed by SW Munich Real Estate GmbH, which is based in Freising – a joint venture between the Freising company Logo Partners GmbH and KGAL GmbH & Co KG from Grünwald. The Managing Directors are Lorenz Schmid and Gert Waltenbauer. The duo presented the main features of the project on Wednesday in the non-public part of the planning committee meeting.

The convention center will not only hold congresses, conferences and company events, but also concerts, shows, and cabaret or TV productions.

“Munich and Bavaria have a lot of catching up to do compared to the other German and European metropolitan regions,” says Schmid. The capacities of the existing event venues are limited and “in most cases designed for comparatively rigid visitor quotas”.

Schmid said that precise details cannot be given as per the program design and architecture. He pointed out the Royal Arena in Copenhagen as a reference project and informed that SW Munich Real Estate GmbH wants to keep the center on a long-term basis and not sell it once completed.

According to Schmid, the existing infrastructure with parking garages, public transport connections and district heating network speaks for the area at the airport. There are no suitable areas within the Munich City. The property belongs to Munich AirportGmbH (FMG), and talks in this regard have been held. Much detail about the development was not revealed.

Susanne Günther, spokeswoman for the Green City Council Group, feels that a large event hall does not sit well in an airport as it will be a “cultural fast food in one non-place”.

To drive home her point, she said that culture belongs to the cities. She fears that “a second city” will be created at the airport if hotels and restaurants are added – “We don’t want that”. Susanne further said that these would become additional burdens and the airport operators are concerned with generating more flights again, they are not interested in real culture. The Greens fear such a development will not augur well from the environmental point of view too.

OB Eschenbacher begs to differ and said that it is a “very interesting project” – and also believes that the Freising hotel industry would benefit, for example, during congresses.

He also said that the City was mulling for a long time to build a congress center in concert with the Technical University of Munich. He termed the project, which would be privately funded, as a positive development during these times of COVID-19 which has cast a pall of gloom the world over. Moreover, Eschenbacher said that the City would not incur any costs when it comes to the project.

The politicians viewed the concept as “too good” but maintained that the traffic issues will have to be thrashed out while going ahead with the project.

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