Voters back tower in west Lausanne suburb

Voters back tower in west Lausanne suburb
Rendering of tower planned for the Cèdres neighbourhood. Photo: Municipality of Chavannes-près-Renens
A plan to build a 33-storey tower as part of a new neighbourhood in a suburb on the outskirts of Lausanne moved a step closer to reality after voters on the weekend approved the 500-million-franc mixed residential and commercial development project.

Developers Bernard Nicod and Avni Orllati are planning to build a series of buildings,  including a 117-metre-high residential tower in Chavannes-près-Renens, west of Lausanne.

The project was subject to a referendum but 61 percent of voters in the municipality on Sunday accepted the project, which has attracted controversy across the region.

The plan initially called for a tower up to 140 metres high but the developers pledged last month that it will be no taller than 117 metres.

Even at that height, such a building will stand out in the low-rise neighbourhood close to Lausanne’s Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) and the A1 motorway that links Geneva and Lausanne.

The Cèdres neighbourhood is designed to provide workplaces for 1,000 employees and homes for 1,600 people, according to the municipality.

The tower allows for an esplanade and plentiful open spaces around the other buildings, mostly averaging six storeys high, with another building up to seven storeys high.

The development is to be built in phases, with an architecture competition planned to establish a final design for the tower, to be the biggest in the region.

In the city of Lausanne, voters will decide in an April 13th referendum on another controversial tower earmarked for a site next to the Beaulieu convention and exposition centre.

The Taoua project, incorporating an 85-metre tall block, is supported by city council but opponents, including neighbourhood associations, collected enough signatures to put the proposal to a vote.

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