Austrian contractor Strabag has had its plans to build a new quarter for the Bavarian city of WÃ¼rzburg thwarted by an alliance of ecological activist and conservationists.Â
The company’s development arm, Strabag Real Estate, had won a competition to redevelop the historic MOZ area of the city, named after the Mozart School, built in the 1950s.Â
Strabag wanted to build about 140 apartments, 4,500 sq m of retail and two hotels on a 9,000sq-m site.
The city council was in favour of the redevelopment, but given the degree of political opposition, it was decided to put the plan to a referendum.Â
In the vote on 5 July the opposition led by the Ecological Democratic Party (Ã–DP) succeeded in convincing 60% of WÃ¼rzburg’s voters to back its "Save the MOZ" campaign.
The 1950s school. Almost 90% of the city was destroyed by British bombers in 17 minutes on 16 March 1945.
As well as the Mozart School, the plan would have meant the demolition of the Kardinal-Faulhaber square opposite one of the city’s main theatres, and its replacement with commercial buildings and the two hotels.
The result is a blow for Strabag, and for the city’s Christian Democrat leadership.Â
According to newspaper Main Post Mayor Christian Schuchardt blamed the defeat on the Ã–DP’s visualisations for the plans.Â
He said: "These images have stirred up fear that too much could get built." He said the other reason was WÃ¼rzburger’s "love of nostalgia".
Marcus Mueller, the representative of Strabag, told Main Post that the decision was: "Too bad."