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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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Christoph Holowaty avatar

Christoph Holowaty

Chefredakteur / Managing Editor (German Edition)

Christoph Holowaty started the German edition of GamesIndustry in 2010. With over twenty years experience in journalism and the video game business, he was the original founder of MCV in 1995. At Computec Media he had multiple roles such as Co-Editor of PC Games and Chief Reporter for all Computec magazines and websites.