Voters scupper plan for redevelopment in Würzburg, Germany

Austrian contractor Strabag has had its plans to build a new quarter for the Bavarian city of Würzburg thwarted by an alliance of ecological activist and conservationists. 

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. 

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. 

In the vote on 5 July the opposition led by the Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP) succeeded in convincing 60% of Würzburg’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. 

According to newspaper Main Post Mayor Christian Schuchardt blamed the defeat on the ÖDP’s visualisations for the plans. 

He said: "These images have stirred up fear that too much could get built." He said the other reason was Würzburger’s "love of nostalgia".

Marcus Mueller, the representative of Strabag, told Main Post that the decision was: "Too bad."

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