Re-development of Alpenblick estate just a money-making exercise

A plan to demolish the high-rise flats, the first ever such development in the canton dating back to the Sixties, and rebuild the Alpenblick development is nothing but a money-making exercise, says an 80-year-old Austrian-born resident, who has lived there for 50 years. “With the low rents and green setting, it is the perfect place to live,” he insists.

Having read the news just before Christmas that there were plans to have the Alpenblick development demolished and rebuilt, the 50-year-old-long resident decided he had to act and duly called the offices of the Zuger Zeitung. He felt that the poor state of the buildings had been exaggerated.

Regular readers may remember that the cantonal government had decided to list the development, because of its historic significance. However, the proprietor of one of the blocks, the Risi Immobilien AG property company, let it be known, through Adrian Risi, that something should be done about the block it owned, house number 8, that. “Without this, the development would end up an uninhabitable ruin,” he said, and called for the building to be demolished rather than upgraded, which he felt was not really an option.

It is the afore-mentioned property company, along with the Alpenblick Interest Group, which represents the majority of other owners, and indeed the local council, who want to challenge the listing in court and call for the estate to be re-built. Out of interest, the listing has the support of the Zug Building Forum, who feel upgrading is possible.

Returning to the Austrian resident, who prefers not to give his name, he said that he came here in the Sixties after a friend had got a job at local joinery which was looking to engage another employee. “He told me you had everything you could need here, what with mountains, lakes and ski slopes,” said the now 80-year-old, who hails from the easternmost province of Austria, Burgenland, adding how he came to live here soon after.

While he did work initially at the joinery, he subsequently got a job at the at Renngli Laboratory Systems in Rotkreuz, staying there for 40 years. He also explained that it was here in Switzerland where he had met his wife, the arrival of their first child meaning they had to move out of her accommodation as it was too small. “Even in those days it was difficult to find a flat if on a normal wage,” he said, another friend telling him about the then new development at Alpenblick. “I remember working out all the finances over one weekend, hoping it would all work out, taking into consideration Christmas money and a promised increase in wages. In the end we decided to apply,” he said.

He mentioned how the development was subject to a bit of mockery in those days, with people referring to it as the Cham Manhattan and looking down on its residents. “Nevertheless, we were very happy here,” he said, adding how he moved into house number 9 in1968 and two year later to number 12, where he also acted a caretaker, meaning the rent on the four-room flat was reduced.

It is from this ground-floor flat, where they brought up two children, that he and his wife enjoy lovely views of the lake. What is more he carried on doing his caretaker work, way beyond retirement age. What with the kindergarten and school and all the open spaces, it was the perfect place to live, being with other residents but not close enough to get in each other’s way. “Look at the modern flats they are building in Zug today,” he said. “They are built so close together you can see your neighbour scrubbing his back, or it’s like being in barracks.”
A few years ago, rumours started about a possible renovation of house number 8. “We knew there were plans afoot to build something new and bigger, but not at this stage,” he said.

He felt any new plans were nothing to do with improving the quality of life there, but rather how to earn more through rent. “There is no need for all the flats to be portrayed badly,” he said. “There are people here who have been living here happily for decades,” pointing out that the proprietors of his block, the Gysi brothers of Baar, had installed new kitchens, windows and heating over the years. Of course, this had also meant a slight increase in rent, but there had not been one for the past ten years. “I just hope it all stays as it is and that neither the neighbouring building nor others are demolished in the near future,” he concluded.

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