Vebowag completes several projects Affordable housing is hard to find with smaller units in demand

Bad Godesberg · Seniors, singles and families are all looking for affordable housing in Bonn, and it is hard to find. Communal real estate company Vebowag has been busy with renovation and new construction projects in Bad Godesberg, some of it is subsidized housing.

 Vebowag renovated a high rise apartment building in Mehlem. Bernd Weißkirchen (from left), Alina Philipps and Michael Kleine-Hartlage show off the results.

Vebowag renovated a high rise apartment building in Mehlem. Bernd Weißkirchen (from left), Alina Philipps and Michael Kleine-Hartlage show off the results.

Foto: Axel Vogel/AXEL VOGEL

One cannot say that communal real estate company Vebowag has been sitting idle these days. It has been especially busy in Bad Godesberg, with some projects finished, some underway and others likely to start up this year.

Work on the Vebowag House on Brunhildstraße in Mehlem, which began in July of 2019, has now been completed. "The building, constructed in 1969, now has a new façade, a new intercom system and new thermal insulation," says construction manager Bernd Weißkirchen. The balconies have been transformed into small winter gardens - with a window that can be pushed to the side. According to Weißkirchen, the renovations were carried out while the tenants remained in their homes. "Altogether, the building has 32 two-room apartments, mainly for senior citizens," says Alina Philipps, head of the Godesberg Vebowag Customer Center.

Lydia Hörnlein is one of the seniors affected by the renovations. The 92-year-old has lived on Brunhildstrasse for 22 years. She is very pleased with the results of the refurbishment. "I'm going out much more on the balcony now than I did before," she says. The work was carried out without any problems and was not disturbing. "I find that it was a very positive experience."

"Vebowag is also active on Dietrichstrasse in north Bad Godesberg: A new building with 44 apartments is almost finished, and directly next to it, Vebowag has been building another building with 36 subsidized rental apartments. A project is also planned on Steinstrasse in Plittersdorf (barrier-free new building with 31 government subsidized units) and Saint-Cloud-Strasse in Pennenfeld (attic conversion).

But that is not all: Vebowag is also responsible for the construction of the day-care center in the former American settlement. As reported, Vebowag demolished the old building from the 1950’s, which formerly housed the International Montessori kindergarten, and replaced it with a new building. The old kindergarten building had been under historical preservation orders and the new building was only permitted because of the high demand for kindergarten places in the area. In the future, the new facility will accommodate 75 children in four groups. The minimum age is four-months-old.

According to Michael Kleine-Hartlage, Vebowag invests several million euros a year in new buildings throughout the city; in 2019 the total was 26 million euros. In addition, there are eleven to twelve million euros for smaller projects. "How it will be in 2020 remains to be seen", says Kleine-Hartlage. But one thing is clear: "We are building on a manageable scale", says the Vebowag executive board member. Smaller apartments are easy to market. But: "We definitely need more.” Because the demand for affordable housing has long been at the same high level. According to Kleine-Hartlage's prognosis, the demand will only increase. The reason: "Baby boomers are now reaching retirement age."

And since the average pension is 900 euros, "we need more subsidized housing". But not only senior citizens are attracted to Vebowag apartments, there is also a strong demand from families. They need more space however, requiring apartments with 120 to 130 square meters. But the main focus of Vebowag is on two-room apartments. And not only because of the demographic changes, but also "because there are more and more singles."

(Orig. text: Ayla Jacob / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)

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