Project Advisory Board in Bonn Beethovenhalle will not be finished until 2024

The renovation of the Beethovenhalle will take even longer than feared. The city does not expect completion until the middle of 2024.

 The Beethovenhalle in Bonn will not be completed in 2022, but only in 2024.

The Beethovenhalle in Bonn will not be completed in 2022, but only in 2024.

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

The local politicians suspected problems when they settled in the council hall on Wednesday at 6 pm. It was a special meeting of the project advisory board for the renovation of the Beethovenhalle. The SPD had requested it after Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan and City Director Wolfgang Fuchs had suddenly cancelled the regular meeting in November because the new schedule for the construction measures had not yet been agreed.

Best case scenario, refurbishment costs 134 million Euro

Fuchs, who is responsible for the political project, admitted a further, clear delay. The refurbishment will probably not be completed until the middle of 2024 and the hall will be operable/usable after the 2024 summer break. The background is the construction schedule, which the site management has revised on site. This was contracted by NSA in July 2019, after the previous subcontractor had been dismissed.

"The reason for the cancellation of the meeting two weeks ago remains unchanged: We cannot yet present a schedule that has been agreed with all parties," says Sridharan. The specialist planner for the technical building services equipment (TGA), who apparently withdrew from the project for a short time in the dispute over the fee, is still not been instructed. A financial comparison with the company will be on the Council's non-public agenda on Thursday. Starting in January, the lack of coordination with the specialist planner should take place „under high pressure", explained a member of staff from the Municipal Building Management Bonn (SGB) at the meeting. Only then will the city administration specify a more precise completion date for the listed hall - at the next advisory board meeting in March 2020.

The fact that several engineering companies cancelled their contracts due to the time delay on the construction site has also overturned the previous schedule. The last time, as reported, the city had nevertheless assumed that the work would be completed in 2022. Even that would have been just four years after the original deadline at the end of 2018. The renewed delay will have a severe impact on the Beethovenfest, the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn as well as the Opera and WCCB as they all have to function as substitute venues.

The city is sticking to its worst-case scenario, according to which the refurbishment will in the worst case cost 166 million Euro - instead of the originally estimated 61 million. In the best case, from today's perspective it would be 137 million Euro, i.e. more than twice as much as planned. The causes are complex, said the new SGB boss Lutz Leide in the meeting: "I see a variety of reasons that have intertwined unhappily. The controlling of the project was also inadequate. City director Fuchs was "affected" by the delay on the construction site. "I still hope that not everything that can go wrong goes wrong," he said. In response to Bernhard Wimmer's (Bürger Bund) sarcastic question as to whether Fuchs could promise that the hall would be playable at least on Beethoven's 200th anniversary of his death in 2027, the city director replied: "I can no longer guarantee anything.“

(Original text: Andreas Baumann; Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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