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Bonn: city museum moves to the Karstadt

Changes in the city centre : Bonn City Museum to move to the Karstadt building

A surprising proposal was made during the City Conference in Bonn – that the City Museum should move into the Karstadt building. Apart from that, there are also lots of things going on in the city centre - for example in the former Puppenkönig building.

Frank Wenzel managed to come up with a surprise at the Bonn City Conference at noon on Tuesday: The Managing director of Aachener Grundvermoegen proposed that the upper floors of the former Karstadt building on Poststrasse be considered by the City of Bonn and its citizens as a new home for the City Museum. His company as the owner of the department shop building is already in talks for retail use of the ground floors. However, he has not yet revealed any details.

Wenzel was convinced that the upper floors of the former department store, where Aldi and the DM drugstore are still located in the basement and are to remain there, could no longer be let to retailers in view of future developments in the retail trade. This changing development was already apparent before Corona. Even if it had been possible to keep Karstadt on site, it would have been "a success in the short term", said the manager, who was in favour of a mix of uses for these areas. "Even if we should achieve lower rents as a result".

This was a message that visibly excited the city administration, as Bonn's business development manager Viktoria Appelbe admitted to the GA after the lively discussion with experts and representatives of the retail trade, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the real estate industry which took place in the Protestant Church building. "Although we are in talks with Aachener Grund," she said, "this was nevertheless great news for me. Among other things, she would establish contact immediately with the head of the cultural department, Birgit Schneider-Bönninger, on behalf of Aachener Grund, as Wenzel does not want to rule out the possibility of the upper floors being used for cultural purposes, as he explained to Arnulf Marquardt-Kuron of the Office for Economic Development.

Mr Marquardt-Kuron had previously presented a proposal from the conference which his wife Irene Kuron had designed together with Gerd Landsberg, Chief Executive of the Association of Towns and Municipalities, and Nikolaus Decker, former Chairman of the Association of German Architects (BDA) in Bonn. It reads as follows: "The town museum including the museum café and museum shop could find a new home on the upper floors of Karstadt. And on the roof of the building with a great view of Münsterplatz and the surrounding area, the trio described an open-air bar under glass. "I almost fell off my stool when I followed the conference in the livestream and heard Mr Wenzel and his thoughts on the Karstadt building. Without knowing our proposal, he also spoke of a mixed use of the upper floors and praised the beautiful view of the city centre," Irene Kuron told the GA that evening.

When asked how the proposal had come about, the business consultant replied: "We have joined forces as three citizens of Bonn because we think it would be a shame that a building like Karstadt in a prime location will now stand empty indefinitely". This proposal would kill two birds with one stone: "The city museum will have to move out of the Viktoriakarree at some point and could then be housed in a much nicer and more suitable location in Karstadt," states Irene Kuron. The suggestion by the head of the cultural department to continue the city museum as a kind of project museum or city laboratory in its present location, which has already been criticised in public, is met with rejection. "A city needs a city museum in a certain place accessable to everyone She and her two comrades-in-arms now wanted to talk to the Aachener Grund, she said.

Working in the Puppenkönig

Hard work is currently being done in the Puppenkönig building. Last year, the traditional toy shop closed down after more than a century in the place, much to the chagrin of many customers. As reported, next spring the Franciscan mission headquarters will move to its new home on the upper floors. At present, the headquarters with around 30 employees is still based in Bad Godesberg. It is still not known who will move into the ground floor. Behind the scenes it was learned that toys could possibly be offered there again. Two new boutiques have already opened: "Naketano" in the former H&M on Remigiusstrasse and "Queencoco" on Poststrasse.

However, lower pedestrian numbers in the city centre in recent months due to Corona have affected some shop operators to such an extent that they are planning to close down at the end of the year including the women's clothing shop "Bonita" on Remigiusstrasse and the outdoor shop "Mountain Warehouse" on Wenzelgasse.

(Original text: Lisa Inhoffen Translation: Mareike Graepel)