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Historical plans for Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler: Calvarienberg convent to be turned into a residential quarter

Historical plans for Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler : Calvarienberg convent to be turned into a residential quarter

A project developer wants to create 130 residential units on the site of the Calvarienberg convent for 50 million Euro. In addition to condominiums, terraced houses and apartment buildings are also planned. Some of the apartments are to be built in the vineyard.

"A new era is dawning on Calvarienberg, but the old era will not be forgotten," at least that is what Mayor Guido Orthen (CDU) promises. The venerable monastery high above historic Ahrweiler is to be turned into a veritable residential area with almost 130 residential units in the future - and perhaps even a hotel with 100 beds. The basis for this has been created, because the city of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, together with the sisters of the Ursuline Convent, has concluded a framework agreement for the area of the former Calvarienberg Convent, thus taking an important step towards the preservation and development of the historically significant site.

The contractual partner is Breunig Holding GmbH from Würzburg, an experienced project developer for listed buildings, which, according to its own information, intends to invest more than 50 million Euro there and not only to convert the historic convent into condominiums. New buildings will include multi-family and terraced houses for young families as well as exclusive apartments in the vineyard, and the company also wants to build a seven-story "green mediator" for multigenerational living and integrative living groups. Even a small commercial area and a restaurant are planned.

After all, Calvarienberg is more than just a building, Orthen reminded the audience of the eventful history of the city's landmark, which is visible from afar. "The Calvary Monastery has a long tradition and characterises the city in a special way. This special and equally ambitious project pays tribute to the monastery once again and highlights its special character," Orthen told a press conference at City Hall.

Decision on hotel with 100 beds to be made by 2022

A total of nearly 130 residential units and smaller commercial spaces are to be built on the site of the former convent, which was founded by the Franciscans in 1630 and abandoned by the Ursulines in 2017. Ideally, a hotel with 100 beds would also be integrated there, but no suitable operator can currently be found for this, laments architect Roland Breunig. Nevertheless one would like to keep this option still open until the beginning of 2022, because with it also the further arrangement and development of the Calvarienberg would be decided.

Currently, up to 5,000 square meters of living space are planned in the monastery alone, where 70 residential units between 35 and 100 square meters are to be created after extensive conversion work in the "excellent building fabric". The facade is to remain largely unchanged. The old wood-burning oven is to be reactivated as the focal point of a 1200-square-meter restaurant with a terrace. In the farm buildings below the monastery, a 1480-square-meter commercial space for several small stores and factories is planned after the renovation. The former monastery church, which has since been deconsecrated is to serve as a secular event space and exhibition area, naturally taking into account its previous use as a place of worship.

Eight apartment buildings on the site of the former monastery garden

Completely new living space is to be created in the former monastery garden, which is currently still used by a nursery. Eight apartment buildings, each with three residential units between 65 and 95 square meters, and ten terraced houses, each with a living space of 185 square meters, are to be built there. The buildings are to be adapted to fit into the surrounding residential buildings and sold to young families.

Another structural element is the "green mediator" with its four full stories and three stacked stories. It is intended to represent a transition between the development of the dominant monastery on the one hand and modern architecture on the other, but without obscuring the effect of the monastery building that continues to dominate, and to set an example for the new phase in the history of the monastery. Here, the project developers can imagine new forms of living such as multigenerational living or integrative living groups.

"Living in the vineyard" planned below the monastery complex

Finally, ten residential units between 120 and 180 square meters are to be created below the monastery complex on the hillside as "Living in the Vineyard." These spacious condominiums in a terrace-like arrangement are to provide future residents with an outstanding view of the vineyards of the Ahr Valley in an upscale living ambience.

The project developers have given a lot of thought to the future mobility concept. For example, a kind of above-ground underground parking garage for more than 200 vehicles is to be built under the residential quarters on the former monastery garden, and "Living in the Vineyard" is also to be built practically on the roof of a parking pallet. All in all, nearly 400 parking spaces are to be provided for residents and visitors.

REACTIONS TO THE PROJECT - Politicians praise plans for Calvarienberg

There was much praise from stakeholders for the housing plans. "Since we are very much in agreement with the plans, we hope that diverse life will move back into Calvarienberg as soon as possible," said Superior General Maria Monheim of the Ursulines. Christoph Kniel (CDU) finds, "the indicated planning for this area represents quite an urban enrichment." Wolfgang Schlagwein (Grüne) sees it similarly: "Around the 'Green Mediator', 'Living in the Vineyard' and 'Living in the Cloister Garden' will give Calvarienberg a new look." Werner Kasel (SPD) added: "Here, an outstanding, sustainably shaped project for housing and commerce is being created around the historic Calvarienberg monastery. The site will thus not only be secured for the future, but filled with new life and upgraded." Gregor Sebastian (FWG) also said he was "glad that the future for the Calvarienberg monastery is now secured." Rolf Deißler (FDP) summarized: "The overall planning impressively shows that old and new, history and modernity can be presented interwoven in healthy harmony.“

Original text: Volker Jost

Translation: Mareike Graepel