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City centre retail: Parties interested in former Karstadt building

City centre retail : Parties interested in former Karstadt building

Property management company Aachener Grund is negotiating with potential tenants for the former Karstadt building in the city centre. The local Retail Trade Association is in favour of a so-called shop-in-shop concept.

It appears that there are parties interested in the subsequent use of the Karstadt building following its closure at the end of October. This has been confirmed by enquiries made with the commercial landlord, Aachener Grundvermögen, and the city of Bonn. "We are currently in talks with parties potentially interested in re-letting," said Sonja Nees, spokeswoman for Aachener Grundvermögen. The "status quo of the talks" was confidential. An answer to the question of when a follow-up lease can be expected would be "purely speculative at this point in time". In principle, the commercial landlord attaches great importance to a "solution that is as long-term as possible, which does justice to the first class trading location and which contributes to maintaining and promoting the inner city of Bonn as a lively, experienceable community area with well-positioned retail trade".

City spokeswoman Monika Hörig also reported on several interested parties, without mentioning a number. "The mayor is in constant exchange with the Aachener Grundvermögen and other lessors and is being kept informed of the developments,” she said. For the city, who leases the Poststraße property to Aachener Grundvermögen, it is crucial "that the use contributes to the attractiveness of Bonn's city centre".

Asked whether the city would be prepared to lower the rent for the next tenant, as had been suggested to the Galeria Karstadt Kaufhof group for rescue, Hörig replied: "This was a special case that should not become a precedent. The administration will weigh up each individual case and make a proposal to politicians".

In the meantime, the Retail Trade Association for Bonn/Rhein-Sieg/Euskirchen has been considering the future of the large retail building. Chairman Jannis Vassiliou told the GA that from the Association's point of view, the property is suitable for a shop-in-shop concept: "We consider it our duty to ensure that Bonn's inner city remains an attractive location," Vassiliou explained. Especially as he fears that the real consequences of the Corona lockdown in the form of shop closures are still to come. In concrete terms, he had already addressed the operator of such a shop-in-shop store in a large German city: "The concept is very successful". This operator, whose name and company Vassilliou does not wish to mention at this stage, has already expressed its initial interest.

Vassilliou went on to say that it is all about a mixture of high-quality trade, hospitality and culture, which also has something unexpected to offer. "We don't need the tenth mobile phone shop in the city centre, but rather a complementary offering to the existing ones", Vassilliou says. The operator is paying attention to this aspect and also wants to give young start-up companies a platform at a lower rent. Vassiliou's aim is to bring together the interested party and the Aachener Grund as commercial landlord.

Karina Kröber, Chairwoman of the association Citymarketing, believes that the revitalisation of the city centre needs to be fundamentally rethought. With a view to the use of the former Karstadt building, she suggests that, in addition to shops, scientific and cultural institutions and apartments should also be considered. "A market hall, which could also accommodate the current market stalls, would be a unique selling point for the city", said Kröber. In the Karstadt building, she could also envisage accommodating highly visited municipal offices such as the service centre during the renovation of the town hall, which is due to take place at some point in the future. Vassilliou considers this to be "half a solution" at best. An innovative concept would support retailers more and create added value for consumers. He is not averse to more living in the city centre, "but I think it is unsuitable for the Karstadt building".

(Original text: Philipp Königs, Translation: Caroline Kusch)