A five star edifice predicated on artistic ideals, the conceptual hotel sought to attract a moneyed crowd willing to buy into its ethos although recent turns of events have brought into question whether it was purposely designed to fail, lasting barely a year from its opening in July 2014 before filing for bankruptcy in the Innsbruck Regional Court two months ago. Whilst some high-rollers of Ukrainian society bankrolled the venture through a Czech-based company, there will inevitably be questions raised how ‘clean’ the investment actually was. At €736 per square metre the land involved came at a premium never seen before in the immediate area, only adding more fuel to the inevitable conspiracy theories that, to date, have remained just that. It is though an important point to reiterate: there is currently no proof to suggest these anomalies point to any criminal offence(s) having been committed.
Included in the official report produced as part of the bankruptcy process is the startling fact that the For Friends didn’t have a legal remit to operate in the first place, the requisite installation licence being conspicuous by its absence. To compound matters an oft-requested and mandatory noise report was never supplied, necessary during due process to aid the determination of any planning application as to how new developments aurally affect local neighbours and the wider environment, a particularly relevant piece of data pertaining to building projects in the alps. The aforementioned procedural gaps in the paperwork initiated legal proceedings against the now former managing director of the company behind the hotel, a process unrelated to the ongoing bankruptcy. Material problems with the build have also come to light, specifically the incorrect siting of a gasline that runs contrary to protocols concerning neighbouring properties. That and other oversights, or just blatant corner-cutting it was hoped the authorities would miss, call into question just how many seemingly well run hotels are being operated without adhering to their legally-bound obligations, both in relation to the original plans their design is supposed based upon and the compliance with routine but no less important health & safety legislation.
A marked discrepancy between the stated construction costs and subsequent estimated financial value of the completed build runs to several millions, a situation on which we again can only draw our own conclusions. The future weeks and months will presumably further unravel the For Friends enigma, a vanity project destined to fail from the start or a pan-European scheme with a decidedly dark side. Either way, those in authority tasked with ensuring compliance matters were stringently followed before the hotel opened must shoulder their share of the blame.
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