Ritz Vienna at the ready

Vienna will get a Ritz next year, it was confirmed yesterday (Tues).

A group of Kazakh investors signed contracts with Austrian real estate company Bauträger Austria Immobilien GmbH (BAI) in Vienna. The business partners said afterwards that a new hotel of the famous brand would open in the city in the second quarter of 2012.

The Ritz Vienna will be located in a building at the posh Schubertring close to the Stadtpark and the Musikverein concert hall. The building featured the headquarters of the Austrian branch of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) during World War Two (WWII). It was used as a casino as well before Viennese and international firms decided to set up a hotel.

BAI cooperated with the globally operating Shangri-La chain of hotels about the endeavour. However, the company did not send any representatives to an appointment with BAI officials last February at which last details before the opening should have been discussed.

Shangri-La claimed BAI finished restoration and construction activities too late – an allegation the Austrian property company vehemently denied. No business activity has gone on at the lavish building ever since. BAI said the hotel was ready to do business – and revealed plans to sue Shangri-La over the issue.

The Austrian company stressed today it had no problems finding a new business partner operating a hotel at the palace. Around 60 companies declared their interest in doing so, according to BAI.

The Ritz will feature more than 200 rooms and a spacious spa area. It is just one of a whole string of five-star hotel projects entrepreneurs are currently working on in the heart of the Austrian capital.

Reports have it that the Kempinski company will open a hotel in the Innere Stadt district in 2013. Signa Holding (Signa) – which manages and supervises the renovation of a former bank headquarters in the city centre – said plans to open a Park Hyatt hotel at the building were not affected despite a recent blaze. Signa promised the construction would be finished as initially planned. The Park Hyatt will open by the end of 2013, according to the real estate developer. The hotel will also feature a 1,500-square-metre Prada shop, Signa said.

Signa Development, which is part of investor Rene Benko’s Signa, also works on setting up what it calls a “luxury shopping mall” in the centre of Vienna. A spokesman for the company recently said the building complex would feature between 12 and 15 shops. He rejected speculations that the estate called Golden Quarter would bear resemblance to popular London department store Harrod’s.

The Golden Quarter will open next year. It will be located at Tuchlauben, which is in walking distance from top tourism attractions like the Museum of Art (Kunsthistorisches Museum, KHM) and St. Stephen’s Cathedral as well as some of the city’s best restaurants and coolest bars.