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An Optimistic 2013 Ahead for Andermatt

As part of “Mega-Project” week, has the following update on one of the most ambitious real estate developments in western Europe, the massive redevelopment of Andermatt, Switzerland.

Nestled in the Swiss Alps just an hour south of Zurich and two hours from Milan, the village of Andermatt occupies an enviable position at the foot of some of the country’s best snow-packed ski trails. Dating back to the neolithic period, the village today has an official population of just 1300, but is slated for major growth through an extensive investment of nearly one billion Swiss Francs by Orascom Development Holding led by its largest shareholder, Samih Sawiris.

Upon completion, the development is slated to include six hotels, 500 apartments, 30 villas, an 18-hole golf course, an expansion and upgrade of the ski facilities and extensive leisure and entertainment offerings. The project’s design has incorporated various environmentally-minded elements, starting with the exclusion of cars from the new village areas, as well as an entirely renewable energy sources and low-waste construction processes. Since breaking ground in 2009, work has commenced on overall site infrastructure, initial residential buildings, the golf course, and the new five-star hotel known as The Chedi Andermatt.

Managed by Singapore-based GHM Hotels, this will be the fourth Chedi-branded hotel to be opened by GHM, with other properties operating in Muscat, Oman, Chiang Mai, Thailand and Bali, Indonesia, and future openings planned in Morocco, India, Japan, China and the United Arab Emirates. Scheduled to open for guests in December 2013, The Chedi offers 64 condominiums, 42 apartment residences, 6 maisonette penthouses and 7 lofts for sale to private individuals. The variety of homes available includes hotel suites that can be rented by the hotel when the owners are not in residence, as well as private residences that can be used by the owners year-round. Particularly important for properties in Switzerland, the development is exempt from the country’s Lex Koller laws, allowing for purchases by non-Swiss residents.

Eyes are now turning to the development’s second phase, which includes a new Radisson Blu Hotel and Convention Center. This four star hotel will comprise 265 hotel rooms, a restaurant, bars and lounges, a spa and beauty area, a leisure and reading area, internet access and satellite TV, storage space for sports equipment, a children’s play area, 24-hour room service, a concierge service, and valet parking. The hotel’s studio to two-bedroom suites are now available for purchase as freehold apartments. Owners can utilize their unit up to 30 days per year, and receive around half of the net rental income when not in residence.

The Andermatt redevelopment has not been without its challenges, however. The ongoing European financial crisis and the strong Swiss Franc have been challenges to sales and financing. As reported by NZZ in March, the project has recently undergone a restructuring with Mr. Sawiris acquiring a majority stake from Orascom and committing to inject an additional 150 million Swiss Francs through 2017. But as the vision of Andermatt starts to become a reality in 2013, we share Mr. Sawiris’ optimism and look forward to toasting with the new homeowners at The Chedi by year’s end.