20 December 2006

Incredible Court Room Airport Mash-Up


Blurbanism ∕ Public Space

In a development worthy of a made-for-TV courtroom drama, Deutsche Bahn made a surprise announcement yesterday by claiming that it now wants to run Tempelhof. The cohort of airlines currently trying to block Berlin’s plans to shut down Tempelhof at the end of October 2007 were so stunned that they applied for a stop to proceedings which was turned down by the court. The court also blocked a motion of no confidence aimed at two judges who, it turned out, live close by to Tempelhof and might possibly find a closure attractive in terms of noise reduction.

Whether Deutsche Bahn’s involvement now means that trains are capable of flight isn’t quite clear. What is clear however is that American investor Fred H. Langhammer (that really is his name) approached Deutsche Bahn about a possible deal which would mean his own plans for a health spa and hotel complex could also be realised.

American investors are always good fodder for a little conspiracy theory, so I looked up Mr Langhammer at They Rule to see if there might be any hidden incentives for his involvement.

The Tempelhof Conspiracy

Langhammer is at the bottom in the middle. Possible interested parties are circled. Langhammer sits on the board of smelly cosmetics company Estée Lauder as well as maker of macho shaving articles, Gillette. Board colleague from Estée Lauder is Richard D. Parsons who sits on the board of AOL Time Warner along with James L. Barksdale who also sits on the board of global parcel mover FexEx, who might possibly have an interest in an airport. Board colleagues of Langhammer at Gillete, Dennis F. Hightower (that really is his name) and James M. Kilts both also sit on the boards of Northwest and Delta Airlines respectively. Airlines often have an interest in airports.

These are just blind fumblings and assumptions in the corridors of Corporate Power. But exotic plans for a hybrid architectural mash-up of train terminal, beauty spa, global parcel depot and flying chocolate factory seem now to be unstoppable.