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Deficiencies in regards to fire protection: Dörner for demolition and new construction of the Stadthaus

Deficiencies in regards to fire protection : Dörner for demolition and new construction of the Stadthaus

The new Lord Mayor tends to demolish the Stadthaus and have the new building constructed by a general contractor. Then the municipal building management could concentrate on schools and kindergartens.

The new Lord Mayor intends to demolish the Stadthaus and have the new building constructed by a general contractor. Then the municipal building management could concentrate on schools and kindergartens.

The new Lord Mayor Katja Dörner (Greens) is in favour of demolishing the Stadthaus and replacing it with a new building. This is also the recommendation of an expert company which the city administration has commissioned with an economic feasibility study.

Dörner, who takes office in November, would not, however, necessarily assign the project to Städtisches Gebäudemanagement Bonn (SGB). "I could rather imagine implementing it with a general contractor," she said in a GA interview. Such a decision would still have to be discussed in the Council bodies, she said. However, the point in favour of a general contractor was that planning and construction would come completely from one source. The SGB capacities could "be used primarily for day-care centres and schools", Dörner stressed.

The old building has fire protection deficiencies

The future of the Stadthaus, which was opened in 1978, has been under discussion for years. The building complex, which accommodates around 1400 city employees, does not meet the technical and energy requirements of the present. In addition, it has "safety and fire protection deficiencies", as the company "Partnerschaft Deutschland - Berater der öffentlichen Hand GmbH" states in its 2019 report.

It will probably take some time before a decision is reached. Because the Corona crisis has made homeworking more important for administrative staff as well, the city is reconsidering previous plans. "The future space requirements must be determined, taking into account the demands of tomorrow's working world," explains city spokeswoman Monika Hörig. External expertise is being used for this. "The city administration is developing a project structure for this major project," says Hörig. Alternative locations for a possible new building are also being examined. Areas on the site of the former state authority building on the B9, if the state sells them, are among them.

It is precisely this new building site that the Berlin experts have already compared with three redevelopment variants for the Stadthaus on behalf of the city: General refurbishment "tower for tower" with and without an extension and with complete clearance of all parts of the building. In doing so, they also included the rent that would be incurred for accommodating the employees in alternative buildings for several years. The refurbishment would therefore cost between €284 and €299 million, and €356 million with the extension. The experts estimate that a new building on a plot of land of the same size at the Land authority building would cost 386 million Euro (as of October 2019). Nevertheless, the new building is the most economical solution, because more efficient operation leads to "optimised operating costs", which compensates for the higher construction costs.

Costs could be reduced according to the expert opinion

According to the expert report, these costs would fall to 347 million if the city did not build itself, but instead commissioned a company under a public-private partnership. The consultants recommend this as the most economical option and advise that the private sector should also be entrusted with operation and management. In the owner model examined, the city would be the owner of the new building and would pay a fee to the company. The costs would have to be borne entirely by the city through loans.

According to the study, a new construction project can be implemented much faster than a redevelopment. After a preparation period of 2.5 years, the consultants calculate five years for planning and construction. For the refurbishment they estimate 2.5 years for preparation and then a ten-year planning and construction phase. Even if the Stadthaus were to be completely vacated, this phase would still last seven years.

By the way, the experts ruled out demolition and new construction of the Stadthaus at the old location: Because of the demolition costs and the loss of the balance sheet value of the old building, renovation would be cheaper in this case.


Timetable for projects to be established

Katja Dörner wants to have "an overall renovation plan developed for the municipal buildings on a fixed timeline". The SGB requires additional posts. The Council had taken decisions on this, but these had not yet been fully implemented. "In any case, it must not be repeated that we have to return millions to the state for the renovation of schools because we cannot build them up due to a lack of capacity", Dörner emphasised in the GA interview.

Original text: Andreas Baumann

Translation: Mareike Graepel