Estimated costs for the European Central Bank's new headquarters in Frankfurt have more than doubled.
A few euros were ceremoniously buried with the cornerstone.Trichet declared that his bank's policy of carefully managing its money would also apply to the construction of the new headquarters."We must ensure that construction costs remain within the estimated budget," Trichet said.Three-and-a-half years later, in the fall of 2013, there is a different reality in Frankfurt's Ostend district.Instead of the estimated cost of 850 million (.15 billion), the entire project will now cost at least 1.15 billion and could even eventually climb to 1.3 billion.
Originally, the costs for the structure were not to exceed 500 million. Originally scheduled for completion in 2011, the building is now not expected to be ready for occupancy until at least the end of 2014.
Luxury in an Age of Austerity Once again, a major German construction project is spinning out of control -- like the new airport in Berlin and Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie concert hall.
And, once again, the owner of the property, a public body, is trying to blame the delays and cost overruns on external factors.
At last year's topping out ceremony, Jörg Asmussen, a German member of the ECB's executive board, said that general "price increases for building materials and services" were at fault.
In truth, the delays and cost overruns for the ambitious new headquarters building result from the fact that former ECB President Trichet and his staff set budgets that were far too low -- and therefore unrealistic -- and from their decision to oversee the project themselves rather than hiring a general contractor.
In an audit performed before construction began, the European Court of Auditors concluded that there were cost-control problems and little transparency in the awarding of contracts.