Wendy Holdener is building eleven apartments with two partners in her home town of Unteriberg SZ.
Mathias Germannreporter sports
Noble oak parquet floors in the living room, beautiful ceramic tiles in the wet rooms, video cameras above the bells, built-in LED lights in the kitchens and charging stations for electric cars in the garage. In addition, geothermal probes, which heat in winter and cool in summer. Together with two partners, ski star Wendy Holdener is building eleven two and a half to five and a half room condominiums in her home town of Unteriberg SZ at the entrance to the village – according to the advertising brochure in an “idyllic location and optimally south-facing.” Ten apartments have already been reserved, only a 3.5-room apartment for CHF 700,000 is still available. The settlement, which is due to be completed by the end of 2024, is called “Sunnaewirl”. Does everything sound like pure harmony? Actually already. But: In the Ybrig region, “Sunnäwirbel” causes a mighty stir.
What is it about? Simple: around the roofs of the development – they are not steep, as is usual in the community, but flat. According to the “Luzerner Zeitung”, many locals are disturbed by the fact that the topic is hotly debated in restaurants. Because: Flat roofs are actually forbidden in the 2500-strong community. Three years ago, the building commission rejected the request from Sambucus Immobilien AG. However, the municipality’s building regulations state that “flat-roof construction is permitted in exceptional cases”. And indeed: after a discussion, the municipal council gave the green light for the construction with flat roofs at the end of 2022. The news spread like wildfire. Many had made up their minds quickly. “Yes / Yes. An exception is made for Wendy” – this is how the “Luzerner Zeitung” describes the atmosphere in the village.
Holdener: “I have no advantages there”
The accusation is obvious: The world champion and Olympic champion took advantage of her celebrity status and managed to get the flat roofs she wanted from the authorities. Blick meets Holdener after the slope in Spindleruv Mlyn (Tsch), where two slaloms are scheduled for the weekend. She defends herself: “First of all, it doesn’t matter how famous I am. I have no advantage there. And secondly, there are three parties creating the project – my family and I are one of them.”
Unteriberg’s mayor Ruedi Keller confirms: “Anyone can apply for an exemption, regardless of whether they are known or not. In any case, Wendy Holdener never put pressure on her or threw her status into the balance. Incidentally, neither she nor her family was present at the interview after the request was rejected. Rather, it was the other two parties who contacted us.” But there is something else that Keller has been neglected in previous media reports. «At the regulars’ table there is gossip. But hardly anyone resisted the project, which was publicly available. » In fact, there was only one objection within half a year, which was then not pursued.
Roofs fit into the environment
Nevertheless, the question arises: Why did the Unteriberg building commission actually change their minds on the roofs issue? And why did the majority of the seven-member municipal council then decide in favor of the “Sunna whirlpool” in its original form? Keller: “First we were only given a drawing of the project. But later we got a visualization that was very detailed. One could see very well that the roofs covered with photovoltaic cells and green areas fit perfectly into the surroundings on the outskirts of the village. That convinced the building commission and also the majority of the municipal council.”
It was precisely this harmonious integration into the environment that was important to Holdener. «Everything is made of high quality and sustainably. I always wanted to have my own apartment in my home country because the region is close to my heart.» The woman, who won her first two World Cup slaloms this winter and will compete at the World Championships in France (from February 6) as a great Swiss hope for a medal, is currently living with her parents. “Sunnaewirl is an affair of the heart and I’m happy to be able to develop a project like this,” she says.
Building regulations are being revised
According to Keller, the settlement will be one of the very few in the municipality with a flat roof – all the others are significantly older. By the way, the mayor is not entirely happy with the current situation. “Our building regulations are more than ten years old. It’s not ideal. The building commission is in the process of revising it. Citizens can also get involved – I would be happy if as many as possible would do so.” So would it be possible for flat-roof buildings to be completely banned in Unteriberg in the future – even without a special permit? Keller: «Of course. Either one says that flat roofs are possible. Or not. It is important that there is clarity.”