Bonn Some changes have come to Bonn city center during the lockdown. When shoppers return, some might be struggling to find their favorite cosmetic store or their must-have coffee frappuccino. But there will be no shortage of soap.
Birgit Burneleit is beaming all over. The manager of "Haar Profi" is standing with an employee at the door to her new business. In January, she moved from Remigiusstrasse, where her shop had been situated for 18 years, to Sternstrasse. Then she needed some patience for the first six weeks because of the lockdown. "It was worth the wait," she says and she is now pleased about having customers again. Life is also slowly returning to the other stores in Bonn city center thanks to the possibility of shopping with appointments. In some stores, however, the lights have gone out for good.
One example is the “Mac” store on the corner of Markt and Sternstrasse. Five years ago, the cosmetics company “Mac” moved in after a hat store had moved out. The weeks of lockdown apparently lasted too long for the business, however, as it is no longer there. But the soap manufacturer “Klar” is preparing for its opening in that retail space, so the future is smelling good. It says it is one of the oldest soap factories in Germany, founded in Heidelberg in 1840. Apparently, the residents of Bonn have made a name for themselves beyond the city limits as clean people: A soap store called “Banyô” has also opened on Poststrasse. It sells exquisite soaps - without plastic and without animal testing, as managing director Melda Yilmaz guarantees. Even soaps made with black cumin or coated with felt are available there. But “Lush," another soap store is no longer to be found on Sternstrasse.
In some other stores along Sternstrasse, sawing and hammering is still going on. One of those is the former “Promod” fashion store. Construction workers say that the “Hunkemöller” lingerie store will be moving in there. Just across the way diagonally is a “Triumph” lingerie store.
The corner location on Sternstraße/Vivatsgasse which housed a “Starbucks” has been vacated and no one in the neighborhood could say whether it was just a renovation or if another tenant would be moving in. In the former McDonald's on the Markt, the renovation is completed and now one can buy Köfte there. The windows of the “Haribo” store located on Am Neutor are still covered and signs indicate an imminent reopening with a “surprise".
Around the corner on Kaiserplatz, pharmacist Andrea Forst-Raasch has moved into a new store two buildings away after extensive renovations. "Our landlord wants to sell his property, so our lease was not renewed," explains her husband Michael Forst. Both the new and the old building are not part of the Kaiserpassage, Forst says.
In the meantime, the Kaiserpassage has become very empty on the first floors now that the “dm” drugstore moved out. Only a few stores are still holding down the fort, such as the Gruber family's children's shoe store or the newly moved-in Café Extrablatt. "We are still trying to attract tenants," says Bernd Engelien, spokesman for Zurich Insurance - owner of Kaiserpassage, which opened in 1978. Commenting on the rumor that part of the Passage is to be sold, Engelien said. "The rumors keep coming up. But we can't confirm that."
The spokesman pointed out that the vacancy on the first floors gives a false impression because 80 percent of the Kaiserpassage is rented out to medical practices and offices. The Zurich insurance company left Bonn last year and moved to a new building in Cologne. Its property at the corner of Bonner Talweg and Poppelsdorfer Allee was sold to the real estate company Corpus Sireo, which is currently having new apartments built there (GA reported).
A federal agency is expected to soon move into the other Zurich building in Bonn on Rabinstrasse opposite the Alten Friedhof. Contrary to what was previously thought, the Federal Agency for Civic Education (BpB) will not be the new tenant. For the time being, it will retain its headquarters on Adenauerallee, according to BpB spokesman Daniel Kraft.
Even though signs reading “Zu Vermieten” (“For Rent”) are apparently hanging on more retail spaces in the city center than before the lockdown, Karina Kröber is confident that the attractiveness of the city center can be maintained despite the pandemic. "That's why I'm happy for anything that revitalizes Bonn's city center," says the owner of an optometry and hearing aid store on Friedensplatz. Kröber is also a volunteer on the board of the City Marketing association. The city center continues to need small-scale retail shops, like those found on Thomas-Mann-Strasse, Friedrichstrasse and Acherstrasse. This helps Bonn to stand out from other city centers. "But we also need traffic concepts that work for all customers, regardless of how they want to get to the city," Kröber urged the new council coalition. She is grateful that the mayor of Bonn, Katja Dörner does not want to levy outdoor user fees on retailers and restaurants in the city center this year because of the pandemic. "She has also assured us that we will not have to pay any fees for the 'Bonn-Fest' and 'Bonn leuchtet' either," Kröber says. "This is a good signal for Bonn's economy.”