No room at the inn, Geneva tells financiers

David Hiler has made it official: Geneva does not want more Hedge Funds because there is no more room in Geneva. So who will move into Mark Muller's new housing zone south of the airport?

I already wrote, in English and French, a blog about the plans of the Geneva executive, arguably with the connivance of the Meyrin municipal authorities, to declassify the zone of villas just south of the airport and create a zone of housing and light industry. I suggested that this zone could then possibly be used to attract more financial industries to Geneva.

In an article in the Sunday Times today, 20 February, it is reported that David Hiler, Geneva Finance minister, told the British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce last week that after the arrival last year of two big London firms, Brevan Howard and Blue Crest Capital, Geneva is full, saying

“We won’t tell people not to come but there’s no more space,”

The subheading of the Sunday Times article was

The influx of money managers and their families has led to traffic congestion and a shortage of houses, offices and school places

This would appear to be a U-turn from the situation when (according to the Sunday Times) just a few years ago the canton started wooing London’s investment community, tempting them with lighter regulation and special tax rates.

So can we now assume that David Hiler has the backing of all of the other ministers of the Geneva State Council? Will Mark Muller think a little longer before declassifying the Meyrin/Cointrin villa zone south of the airport, or at least make it more housing (for the general public!) and less industrial? Will Charles Beer be able to spend more time on the quality of teaching in the schools, rather than how to handle yet more pupils (although it might be argued that many financiers coming here would opt for private schooling!)? Can Isabelle Rochat tell the Geneva police that traffic will be less of a problem and Michèle Künzler hope for more bicycles and small hybrid cars, but less large 4x4 polluting monsters?

Francis Longchamp, as both minister for employment and president of the Geneva Airport Board of Directors, might have to tell the airport director that there might not be such an increase in demand for business travel, including long-distance flights to other continents, thus reducing the necessity for the new long-distance flights terminal. The consequences could then help Pierre-François Unger in his quest for sustainable economic development.

We could think about asking the various ministers and their political parties for their viewpoint on all of this. However, since we are so close to Geneva elections, I would not expect any meaningful response right now!

13:25 Posted in Potpourri | Permalink | Comments (1) | Tags: geneva, airport, hiler, hedge funds, school, lodging | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook


Commençons par loger les genevois et leurs enfants avant de penser que les déclassements en cours puissent être prétexte à attirer encore plus d'expat anglo-saxon tunnés et ne parlant pas un mot de français.

Posted by: Dji | 02/22/2011

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