Next construction site at Signa: Is Benko’s real estate empire also crumbling?

Next construction site at Signa: Is Benko’s real estate empire also crumbling?
The Tyrolean investor Rene Benko
Mr. Benko's seven construction sites

According to media reports, after the sports retailer Signa Sports United filed for bankruptcy, the self-made billionaire’s real estate empire is now apparently beginning to crumble. Some real estate projects in Germany – such as the Elbtower in Hamburg – have been stopped at least temporarily, as newspaper reports show. Signa has not yet responded to inquiries.

Planning stop in Stuttgart

The most recent construction site – in the truest sense of the word – is this Sports arena on Stuttgart’s Königstrasse. According to the Stuttgarter Zeitung (Monday edition), the planning office Steidle Architekten from Munich received the announcement to interrupt the half-completed work planning for the new wooden hybrid building. Signa Retail’s million-dollar project envisaged 2,300 square meters for retail and 5,000 square meters of office space. Signa had already announced at the beginning of the year that the German department store chain Edeka Südwest would operate a full-range store there on 1,500 square meters.

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Signa still has one in Stuttgart Galeria Kaufhof property with a parking garage. According to the newspaper, another property with a parking garage was sold to the city a few months ago for 58.5 million euros. The sale of the new project to the Munich-based Dibag AG was rumored some time ago, but has not yet been confirmed. The newspaper quoted Dibag AG’s statement as saying that people are fundamentally interested in properties in good locations in Stuttgart.

Construction work on the Elbtower stopped

It was announced on Friday last week that construction work at Elbtower in Hamburg’s HafenCity have been discontinued for the time being. The construction company Lupp stopped construction work on the high-rise building with a planned height of 245 meters at around 100 meters, reported the “Hamburger Abendblatt” and “Bild”. The building owner, Signa Prime Selection, did not pay on time, according to the daily newspapers. The monthly construction costs for the 1 billion euro building are given as 25 million euros.

However, the shell construction company hopes to continue construction work soon. Discussions are underway with both Signa and the Commerzbank subsidiary Commerz Real. But the logistics entrepreneur Klaus-Michael Kühne, who alongside Commerz Real has a 20 percent stake in the project, is also seen as a potential buyer and savior of the project. According to “bild.de”, Hamburg’s construction senator Karen Pein (SPD) threatened Benko with demolishing the Elbtower if he didn’t continue building it quickly.

  • Also read: Construction stop at Hamburg’s Elbtower by Rene Benko’s Signa Group

In the property purchase agreement, contractual penalties were initially agreed and subsequently repurchase rights for Hamburg for the property as well as “extensive entry rights into the existing planning and construction contracts”. Since a sale or completion by the city is unrealistic, the only option in the worst case scenario is demolition, the newspaper noted in its online edition.

However, according to media reports, Signa doesn’t just have problems with the prestigious property in HafenCity: Signa is also selling it Flüggerhaus at Rödlingsmarkt and stop the construction of the Goose market passage. Christian Roggenbuck, managing director of the construction company Max Hoffmann, told the “Abendblatt” about the Flüggerhaus: “We stopped work at the end of last week because payments from Signa were still outstanding. As long as we haven’t received the money, we won’t continue working there.” However, at the Gänsemarktpassage, the interruption in construction activity is due to a lack of office tenants.

Mr. Benko's seven construction sites

No problems in Vienna

Things are apparently looking better at the moment Viennese luxury department store Lamarr from Signa on Mariahilfer Straße. Habau announced that the shell was 99 percent complete. There are no problems either. Other companies involved in the expansion of the building also said they had no points of friction with Signa.

According to media reports, there should be no difficulties Switzerland where Signa, together with the Thai Central Group, four years ago Globus department store chain around 1 billion francs (1.05 billion euros). According to “Die Presse”, the consortium also took over two luxury properties. Both are burdened with loan debts. The approximately 172 million francs are due after the planned opening in 2026.

Apparently things are also going according to plan with the planned Shopping Center Waltherpark in Bolzano running: 90 shops are to be located on an area of ​​31,000 square meters. Back in August, Signa Italy President Heinz Peter Hager announced that there were signed rental agreements for 60 percent of the business space.

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