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Landlord threatens Koelnmesse with eviction

Gamescom organisers insist Euro game event will go ahead according to plan

A week ahead of European games fair Gamescom, venue Koelnmesse has been threatened with eviction by landlords of the site, Oppenheim-Esch.

The BIU, organisers of the European trade event, have told GamesIndustry.biz that the event will not be affected by the threats, the latest in a long-running dispute between the Koelnmesse, the city of Cologne and the site owners.

"We expect that the fair will open its gates and that Gamescom is not affected by provisional measures," said Olaf Wolters, BIU managing director.

"Despite all the threatening gestures, we expect that any legal skirmish will play at most off the Gamescom [venue] between the city and the site owner. The owner can't have an interest in a cancellation of the show, since he himself bears a significant risk of liability."

Oppenheim-Esch is threatening to evict Koelnmesse after it stopped paying the lease on the property, which amounts to around 20.7 million per year.

Koelnmesse claims the contract Oppenheim-Esch made with the city of Cologne to build the venue in 2004 did not adhere to European Union law, as there was no open tender for construction of the venue.

Oppenheim-Esch has said that its action are legitimate and it will "consider all legal options" to claim rent.

"The Board was authorised to embark on any procedural way. This includes specifically the withdrawal of the use of the halls of the Cologne fair," said Oppenheim-Esch in a letter from the company's shareholders, reported by German newspaper DIE WELT.

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Latest comments (10)

Florian Schwarzer Producer, InnoGames6 years ago
... And somewhere in Leipzig, a certain city planner can't get the grin off of his face.
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Care to elaborate?
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Phil Elliott Project Lead, Collective; Head of Community (London), Square Enix6 years ago
I think Florian was referring to the industry's move from Leipzig to Cologne after the 2008 Games Convention - a move which unsurprisingly didn't go down well with the organisers of the original event.
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Florian Schwarzer Producer, InnoGames6 years ago
Exactly, Phil.
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Ahhh. Good point.

I attended last years GDCE/Gamescom. It was a great success. As such, I do hope they can sort out those legal entanglements. Cologne is a lovely city indeed, with beer and food overflowing admist the games festive week. Akin to very much our own European E3.
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Jelle Schut Managing Director, Only Network6 years ago
Hope things get settled, not looking forward to gamescom ending after 2010 and having to go back to Leipzig. If there is any God ridden place on earth, it's Leipzig.
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I havent had the fortune of Leipzig.

Cologne was the most festive game event i've been to. For one whole week, developers, publishers, gamer could be seen congregating, eating at the same steak house restaurant enjoying the local warm weather and drinks till way past midnight. In a totally relaxed atmosphere. Some of the best business development went on as well at all hours of the day - breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight - without having to resort to the typical dance bar.

In short it was great, and the local Cathedral was amazing at night. Even the local gelati was excellent.
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Arjen Meijer Owner, RedCell6 years ago
I think Cologne is better as it's a lot closer to home then Leipzig and it's a much nicer city.

Don't want to go back I hate the super long drive :(

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Arjen Meijer on 11th August 2010 2:09pm

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Are you going this year Chee? If so, we may finally get to meet in person. :-)

Phil, are you going? It would be great to say hello again after all these years!
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@ Nicole - Of course we'll be there. We're there this sat to enjoy the food and festive stag night cheer prior to some good keynotes at GDC and engaging our partners with their booths at Gamescom. I imagine the press pit will be humongous spread out over the 3 massive Koelnmesse aircraft-like hangars!
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