Anything better than the Bonner Loch Here’s how the opening of the Maximilian Center in Bonn went

Bonn · The Maximilian Center was officially inaugurated on Tuesday morning. The project was a special challenge for the construction companies. A video shows the demolition of the former south superstructure too.

 Geschäftiges Treiben herrscht im Untergeschoss zwischen dem Zugang zu den U-Bahnen und Ausgang zum Busbahnhof.

Geschäftiges Treiben herrscht im Untergeschoss zwischen dem Zugang zu den U-Bahnen und Ausgang zum Busbahnhof.

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

Robert and Adelheid Heinrich are astonished as they walk through the passage in the basement of the Maximilian Center at the main station on Tuesday morning. The couple (is) are on their way to the bus station and want to continue to Waldau for a walk. "This looks nice, bright and clean here," says Robert Heinrich (86) and nods approvingly.Project developer Ten Brinke officially inaugurated the passage in the only empty shop on Tuesday with invited guests, including Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan. Eleven years after the Dutch company made its first contacts with the city of Bonn and the many owners of the Südüberbauung, which at the time stood on the site of the centre.

The married couple Heinrich from Limperich still remember the old buildings and former center well. "In the end, my wife wouldn't go here alone," says the 86 year old. "She was really scared. It was dark and dingy in the Bonner Loch at that time. There was quite an alcohol and drug scene.“

"I wasn't afraid, but I always felt uncomfortable," says Abdi Hassan, who goes this way to work almost every day. The 53-year-old thinks the new Maximilian Center is "perfect. Everything is better than the terrible Bonner Loch.“

Alexandra Falkenberg agrees. The aspiring architecture student praises the many small shops that have opened in the passage. "That's a lot of life in this area." And how do you like the center as a whole? "I can't say much about the architecture yet. I'm just beginning to study," says the 19-year-old and laughs. But she has a very positive impression.

While in the small snack shops the dishes for lunch are being prepared, project manager Moritz Tank steps up to the microphone to greet the guests, including many people who happened to be passing by. "This is a special day for us," he says. Like Tank, Ilja Keller, Managing Director of Ten Brinke Rheinland, also recalled the complex construction site for the Maximilian Center, which was built in just two years after the demolition of the southern superstructure according to the plans of architect Louis de Jager.

For the construction companies, the project was a special challenge: the inner city location, the main railway station and next door the large Urban Soul construction site. In the summer of 2017, an accident occurred during the demolition work: a mobile crane had tipped over and had broken through the roof of the main station. Nobody was injured, but train and tram traffic had to be interrupted for hours and part of the overhead line replaced. In between, the Cityring on Maximilianstrasse had to be closed again and again, especially when heavy construction equipment was delivered. Sridharan reminded us how company boss Albert Ten Brinke, who had also travelled to the opening of the passage, had managed to reconcile all the old owners and buy the areas of the old building. "We now have an attractive entrance gate to the city centre," Sridharan is convinced. IHK Managing Director Hubertus Hille said that the IHK expects "stimulating effects for the station forecourt and the entire Bonn city centre" from the opening of the entire complex. The IHK wished it would continue in the Viktoriakarree.

While the basement of the new building is quite lively and a Kentucky Fried Chicken will soon be opening there, the upper floors are still full of craftsmen. But not for long: Next Tuesday the opening of the textile discounter Primark is planned for 11 am. A group of demonstrators who accuse Primark of producing disposable clothing and thus harming the environment have also announced their intention to appear.

This video is part of a cooperation between WDR and GA.

(Orig. text: Lisa Inhoffen; Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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