Store owners angry that shopping area to once again become construction zone

Renovation of Frederiksborggade is only just completed as shop owners face new construction, this time to build a Metro entrance in front of their shops

In January 2011, the City Council started a renovation of Købmagergade and Frederiksborggade, scheduled to be completed in December 2012. After a delay and a total cost of 108 million kroner, work on the shopping streets was finished in January of this year.

Købmagergade, a shopping street stretching from the pedestrian street Strøget to the square Kultorvet, and Frederiksborggade, the continuation of Købmagergade from Kultorvet to Nørreport Station, account for one of the most popular pedestrian areas in Copenhagen.

But the shops on Frederiksborggade did not get to enjoy the new street or the silence for long. Last month, shop owners received a letter informing them of new construction. A new staircase leading to a tunnel to Nørreport Metro station is scheduled for March, the construction of which will take up to two years. The stairs will even be in front of some shops, leaving only a small passage for entrance.

This construction is expected to cost 157 million kroner and was already planned in 2010 – before the renovation of the shopping streets started. The staircase project has long been known to the City Council and even approved before the previous round of renovations. Now disappointed shop owners would like to know why the two constructions were not joined together. They contend that would have saved money and time for Banedanmark, the national rail infrastructure company behind the project, the City Council and the shop owners.

“It is so ridiculous to use the council's money on this. I am thinking that there must be some people in the City Council who are really bad at financial management,” Allan Petersen, owner of the clothing store Invasion, told Politiken newspaper.

He believes that the noise and mess caused by the previous construction scared off customers and resulted in a marked decrease in sales. He can now look forward to even more construction, with the final result being a staircase placed right in front of his shop.

“During the renovation, our sales were at about 70 percent of normal," he said. "But this time we will lose a lot more as it will become more difficult to get to the shop.” 

Jens Christian Zøfting-Larsen of the City Council's public works department agreed that it would have been much cheaper to join the two construction projects, but said that the renovation of the shopping streets was planned a long time before the city knew about Banedanmark’s plans.

“The reason is that there has been focus on carrying out the [renovation] and because it has not been certain if the staircase to the Metro would be built and where exactly it would be,” Zøfting-Larsen told Politiken.

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