Zug, 16.03.2020

The highest room in the city of Zug is finally being finished

The community room in the Park Tower in the city of Zug, at a height of 81 metres, is now being completed and should be available to the public from summer. A six-digit additional loan has been required for this, however.

From August onwards, the population will literally have a beautiful prospect: the community room in the tallest high-rise building in Zug should be ready for use by the end of the summer. According to Construction Head Eliane Birchmeier, work on the 24th floor of the Park Tower on the Siemens area will start in the next few days. A long planning odyssey and a dispute over the right of use will finally come to an end.

The 88-square-metre room on the top floor has been empty since the completion of the Park Tower in 2014. On visiting the site, the view is particularly striking. Two more-than-man-sized window fronts provide a phenomenal view of the city and the lake. "This space should belong to, and be used by the local population," says Birchmeier.

Accordingly, City Councillor Eliane Birchmeier wants to ensure that the space can be made available on similar terms to the Siehbachsaal or the Burgbachsaal. In order to rent one of these rooms for a day, clubs based in the City of Zug will pay between CHF 100 and CHF 250. The space in the Park Tower could be used for meetings, company or private events. Civil marriages are also possible, and the first inquiries have already been received. The space can be rented through the city reservation system, and the City will provide information as soon as this is activated. It is recommended for use by 30 people, with furniture available for 50 people. More people are not permitted due to the fire protection regulations.

But why is so little happening? In addition to the lengthy political process, Birchmeier emphasized that they also wanted to take the time to plan properly. Some scepticism was noticeable when the city parliament approved the property loan of CHF 457,000 for the expansion in March 2019. "The parliament and the commissions stated that the potential of the space had to be better taken into account."

"We have therefore developed a solid concept: The room should create an identity and be used for a long period."

Last year, the building department invited four interior design offices to submit an expansion concept, and the proposal of the Andrin Schweizer Company from Zurich prevailed. The solution for the limited storage space was particularly convincing, explains Birchmeier. The small kitchen and the cloakroom, including a toilet, are separated from the main room by sliding doors. "The curved wooden wall picks up the movement of Lake Zug and draws visitors into the room," says Birchmeier. A bench with cushions is planned along the entire window front, with round, white acoustic sails with circular lights on the ceiling. The space should be able to be freely arranged depending on the occasion: small tables, chairs and multimedia equipment are available, as well as a simple catering infrastructure with a small kitchen.

The bare concrete walls and the floor will be clad with wood, which will create a pleasant atmosphere, explains Paul Knüsel, Head of Building Construction.

 "The Zug connection is important to us, which is why we are thinking about using Zug Cherrywood."

Photo 1: The view from the top floor of the Park Tower is phenomenal. From August, the social room should be ready for the general public.
Photo 2: Construction Head Eliane Birchmeier and Paul Knüsel, Head of Building Construction, explain the concept and the renovation of the social room.
Photo 3:The room on the 24th floor has been empty since the completion of the Park Tower in 2014.
Photo 4: The social room in the Park Tower in Zug, at a height of 81 meters, is now being completed and should be available to the public from summer. However, a six-digit additional loan is required for this.

The initially budgeted CHF 16,000 for carpentry work is not enough, however: more money is needed for the new, sophisticated solution for creating ambience. Accordingly, the city council submitted a request for an additional loan of CHF 168,000 for the wall cladding to the parliament. The GPK (Business Control Commission) and the construction and planning commission are positive about the project, and this is to be considered in the business audit committee on March 30 and in the city parliament on May 12. A further discussion in Parliament can therefore be expected.

The City Council is now developing a usage concept. There was one a year ago, not only with regard to the valuation of the room, but also regarding the sanitary facilities. The GPK complained at the time that there were too few toilets available. Nothing changed here. Because of the limited space, there is only one toilet for 50 people in the community room, but this is disabled-friendly and gender-neutral. "We're going with the times," explains the construction head with a smile, and emphasizes how satisfied she is with the current expansion project for the community room.

Eliane Birchmeier proposed giving up the use of the room in 2016, but: "The room will now have a real identity, so I can fully support this project." With the start of the expansion work, the city council is now also developing a usage concept for the highest room in Zug.

History of the project
The foyer development plan for a high-rise building with a hotel and public use was adopted In the summer of 2009. But shortly before the concrete planning began, the owner changed. The new owner rejected the hotel plans and favoured apartments and offices in the Park Tower. This complicated the development of the room on the top floor, which is why the city council wanted to accept the offer to dispose of the right of use in 2012.

Convinced by the commission, the city council then decided to keep the room. Two proposals in the city parliament (2013 and 2016) couldn’t change this decision. The tall building now belongs to around 50 different floor owners, which makes the sale of the right of use virtually impossible.

The building owner and the city could not agree on the operating concept at the beginning of 2014, however, after which an arbitral tribunal granted the city of Zug the right to use the building in 2015 and defined an operating concept that is still valid today. This now serves as the basis for the usage concept that the city council is currently developing.