Bonn The owner of the Cassius Bastei is blocking off the confusing building access with the approval of the city. Bürger Bund criticises that this privatises areas that were previously public.
A new routing from the underground entrance to the trams and main railway station into the Cassius-Bastei building has brought the electoral group Bürger Bund Bonn onto the scene. Group chairman Marcel Schmitt has accused the building authority of disloyalty. He believes that the public right of way has been removed without informing the council and without providing financial compensation. “Enabling the owner to expand his shop spaces into the former path areas of the Minus-1-level at no charge is madness,” says Schmitt.
Pierre Lechner from Blackbear Real Estate GmbH does not understand the fuss. In 2018, the Düsseldorf-based property company, which was founded only five years earlier, acquired the Cassius-Bastei as its first property in Bonn and would like to make it more attractive in the future. “We consider Bonn a highly interesting location and we would like to take over more properties here," says Lechner, who himself comes from the surrounding area.
The Bonner Loch closure and the new Urban Soul construction have significantly changed the access situation in the Cassius-Bastei, he says. “Unfortunately, we were not at the table during the planning,” says Lechner. Winding corridors led past the new Lidl supermarket directly into the building with its storage rooms and access to flats. "Many passers-by simply got lost," says Lechner. On the other hand, he lets on that drug users and homeless people had used the many dark corners near the station. “In the interest of safety, we have ensured clear routing in consultation with the city,” Lechner explains. Now the walkway leads directly to the escalator into the glassed atrium of the Cassius Bastei. Later, the adjacent shops will have additional display windows.
According to a council resolution from 1990, the city authorities are supposed to inform the council before withdrawing public areas of importance, i.e., removing rights of way for passers-by. In this case, they refrained from doing so because access from the railway station to the Cassius Bastion is still possible, explains the building regulations office in response to the Bürger Bund. Financial compensation for the loss of publicly usable space was also waived. BBB politician Schmitt complains that city planning officer Helmut Wiesner was unable to explain the size of the areas and their corresponding cash value to the central committee for the council. It is a matter of a maximum of 15 square metres, explains property manager Lechner. The benefit for the owner would thus be considerably less than the required conversion costs. He would be happy to explain this to the Bürger Bund representatives on site.
The background to the renewed criticism of the city authorities is their contractual arrangements in the preliminary stages of the Urban Soul project. Their developer from the Bremen Zechbau group has so far claimed so-called residual costs of more than eleven million euros against the municipality. This reduces the sales proceeds for the former municipal building plots in the project.
(Original texts: Martin Wein, Translation: Caroline Kusch)