• Switzerland's news in English

Opponents bid for public vote on Lausanne tower

Malcolm Curtis · 15 Dec 2013, 23:00

Published: 15 Dec 2013 23:00 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The Taoua, an 85-metre-high structure incorporating condos, rental apartments, a 200-room hotel and a rooftop restaurant near the Beaulieu convention and exposition centre, would be the tallest building in the Vaud capital.

The project, advanced by developers Losinger Marazzi, is backed by a majority of city council but is opposed by a coalition of diverse interest groups and politicians.

The coalition, including local neighbourhood associations and members of the Lausanne Greens, the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, the Green Liberals and La Gauche (a left-wing party), aims to put the project to a referendum.

A referendum committee said it has collected 10,721 signatures which it plans to submit to authorities on Monday, well above the 8,443 needed to force a public vote.

The 100-million-franc Taoua project has been modified several times since initially being presented in 2011.

In September, the municipal council voted 55 to 32 in favour of the revamped scheme, with backing from members of the Socialist and Liberal (PLR) parties.

“This project will integrate itself perfectly in the site,” said Olivier Français, the executive municipal councillor in charge of public works and a member of the PLR, according to a recent report from the ATS news agency.

Plans were modified to incorporate more housing — a total of 80 apartments are envisaged, occupying almost 11,000 square metres of the Taoua’s total floor space of 25,500 square metres.

Two-thirds of these would be condos while one-third would be offered with controlled rents at the lower end of market prices, according to the city.

A study concluded that the tower would have minimal effect on traffic in the area, in part because the tower is located along the city’s proposed third metro line (M3).

But opponents disagree, saying the project will clog traffic and make parking, already difficult in the area, even more of a headache.

The prime objections appear to be aesthetic, however, with critics unhappy about how the proposed building with its irregularly designed windows, would stick out like a sore thumb in the neighbourhood where the tallest buildings are only six storeys high.

In presenting its objections last month, the referendum committee noted that the site is on a slope and in other Swiss cities, such as Zurich or Lucerne, towers are banned from such locations.

The project is backed by Lausanne’s Green Mayor Daniel Brélaz, despite objections from members of his own party.

Story continues below…

“The Greens are divided on urban issues, it’s in their DNA,” Brélaz recently told Le Temps while downplaying the divisions.

The mayor believes that the latest version of the Tatoua project has addressed all previous concerns “except obviously those who don’t want a tower”, according to ATS.

He earlier touted one of the attributes of the tall building — the panoramic restaurant at the top.

“It will not only be one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the city but also in Suisse Romande (French-speaking Switzerland),” Brélaz was quoted as saying by 24 Heures newspaper.  

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
‘Scary clown’ craze hits streets of Zurich
Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

Police in Zurich have warned so-called ‘scary clowns’ that they could face charges, following a number of incidents in the city.

VIDEO: driver chases runaway car on Swiss motorway
Image: Neuchâtel police

Shocking footage shows the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a Swiss motorway.

Saas-Fee crowdfunds low-cost season ski pass
Saas-Fee is hoping to attract 99,999 season pass holders. Photo: Denis Emery/Photo-genic.ch

Skiers could get their hands on a whole season pass for just 222 francs ($223) in the Swiss resort of Saas Fee this winter – if enough people want one.

Swiss billionaire fined for dodging import tax
Urs Schwarzenbach owns the luxury Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich. Photo: Wilhem Rosenkranz

Urs Schwarzenbach faces a $4 million fine for failing to properly declare some 200 artworks imported into Switzerland.

Muslim woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf.

Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
jobs available