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ORF_boss_Alexander_Wrabetz_is_under_fire_over_his_latest_relocation_calculations.

FP attacks Wrabetz

ORF boss Alexander Wrabetz is under fire over his latest relocation calculations.

Wrabetz informed the broadcaster’s Stiftungsrat supervisory board that relocating the headquarters to Vienna-Landstraße would cost less than renovating the current main office. The ORF has its headquarters in the Viennese district of Hietzing. The building, which was constructed in the 1970s, must undergo an extensive renovation in the near future, according to experts.

Wrabetz allegedly prefers a move to the Media Quarter, a new centre for firms of all kind in the city’s Landstraße district. Reports have it that such a procedure would costs one million Euros less than restoring the current headquarters and improving some other ORF facilities. Such activities might confront the company with expenditures of 400 million Euros.

The Freedom Party (FPÖ) accused Wrabetz of trying to fake figures to "set up a monument for himself" by relocating to the Media Quarter. The opposition party announced yesterday (Tues) Wrabetz was trying everything he can to get the go-ahead for the deal due to pressure by the Viennese Social Democrats (SPÖ).

The SPÖ is reportedly trying to persuade the ORF board of relocating the headquarters due to the expected tax windfall and additional infrastructure investments such a procedure would mean. Renate Brauner, the debt-stricken city’s SPÖ financial affairs councillor, told the Kurier on Saturday: "Now it is up to the ORF. It is a fact that many enterprises are interested in the facility in question."

Brauner said it was all about using synergies at the Media Quarter. She added that around 50 media industry firms were already doing business there. Asked whether she considered the People’s Party (ÖVP) as a political player trying to create barriers for a possible move of the ORF, she said: "I have heard reports which indicate such procedures, but party politics should not matter in this regard."

ÖVP General Secretary Hannes Rauch said the ORF management should concentrate on decent financial decision-making than planning relocating to Landstraße district. A final decision on whether the state-funded broadcaster will relocate or fully concentrate on renovating its headquarters is due for next month but a delay until July seems likely because of the continuing feud between businesspeople and lawmakers. The ORF’s works committee expressed concerns that the station might lay off up to 100 employees if the relocation gets the green light from the Stiftungsrat.

Puls 4, one of the ORF’s key rivals, already decided in favour of a move. The private station, which is part of the German ProSieben Sat.1 Group, currently broadcasts from Vienna-Neubau. Puls 4 managed to increase its market share by 0.4 per cent to 2.9 per cent in March 2012. The channel screens Hollywood films and American series but also produces several acclaimed live platform discussion programmes.

Vienna Times





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