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Daily press, 2014-09-18, 11:00 AM

Test tower: Urban development contract signed

ThyssenKrupp and the town of Rottweil have signed an urban development contract setting out the conditions for a planned test tower for elevator innovations. The contract supplements the land-use plan required for the construction of the tower, which the municipal council will decide on at its next meeting on October 1.

The Mayor of Rottweil, Ralf Bross, and Alexander Keller, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Elevator’s European operations, signed the contract this morning in the council chamber of the Old Town Hall. Previously, Rottweil’s municipal council had approved the contract by a large majority at its meeting on Wednesday, September 17.

The contract contains requirements for the construction and operation of the planned test tower, which for legal reasons cannot be included in the land-use plan. These include details regarding the tower’s architecture and its accessibility to the public.

“The contract provides us with legal safeguards regarding the use of Jahn/Sobek’s attractive architectural design and the public accessibility desired by the people of Rottweil. It means the project has cleared an additional important hurdle”, said Mayor Bross, adding: “ThyssenKrupp has developed the project in close dialogue with the town of Rottweil. A vast majority of people in the town support the test tower because it will open up new opportunities for tourism and give a boost to the economy of the whole Schwarzwald-Baar-Heuberg region”. ThyssenKrupp’s willingness to invest in Germany on a large scale was an important signal at a time when many companies were focusing their investments abroad; this deserves our respect and support, the Mayor said.

“The tower will enable us to test future innovations here. It will strengthen the local economy and secure jobs”, said Alexander Keller, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Elevator’s European operations. “Rottweil is making a bold statement: The town is innovative, progressive and open to the world. It has supported us from the outset and now we look forward to the next steps on our path together”. The investment of more than 40 million euros by ThyssenKrupp also underlined the special importance of the region: Together with the elevator plant in Neuhausen auf den Fildern, which is currently being converted into a technology park, and the research and development facility in Pliezhausen, Rottweil and the new test tower represent a state-of-the-art innovation centre for elevator technology, said Keller.

According to the contract, the test tower will be a slim, reinforced concrete structure meeting all functional, design, technical and financial requirements. It will feature a membrane facade made of glass fabric increasing in transparency from bottom to top (see attachment). The fabric will wrap helically around the tower. The tower will be capable of illumination from the inside, using a special lighting design that takes into account protection requirements for wildlife, especially birds. The illumination will be switched off or reduced at night, in poor visibility, and in the main bird migration periods.

ThyssenKrupp has also undertaken to provide an observation deck at the top of the tower and make it accessible to the public via a separate elevator shaft, with the requisite costs being paid by the company. During an initial test phase, the tower will be open on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays. Afterwards, ThyssenKrupp together with the town of Rottweil will decide whether to extend the opening hours. Admission prices will be based on those of comparable tower observation decks.

The contract also includes financial conditions governing compensation to be paid by the building owner, as well as parking requirements for the observation deck. As Rottweil’s municipal council had also signaled its approval for the land-use plan, the city of Rottweil will issue a partial building permit for the test tower. This permit will allow ThyssenKrupp to start preliminary construction work at the site, including initial surveying and construction site setup.

The municipal council will decide on the land-use plan on October 1, after which the building permit can be issued. "We now wish to seize the momentum and build the tower as quickly as possible", said Keller. "We plan to have the tower completed in two years. Then we will enjoy the view from the observation deck together!" A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for later in October.