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King Fahd Academy: Saudi Arabia names its price for Godesberg school

King Fahd Academy : Saudi Arabia names its price for Godesberg school

The city of Bonn is to pay several million euros to buy back the property of the former King Fahd Academy in Lannesdorf. But what is to become of it afterwards?

Saudi Arabia has for the first time named a price that the city of Bonn would have to pay to buy back the King Fahd Academy in Lannesdorf. The information was made public in a council meeting on Wednesday evening by Kerim Abulzahab, head of the real estate department at the Office for Economic Development. According to GA information, the amount is in the single-digit million range. The figure was only mentioned in the non-public part of the meeting.

As previously reported, the Bad Godesberg Green Party questioned what was happening with the property in hopes that more light would be shed on the status of the abandoned school. In the summer of 2017, the Saudis closed the academy, and since then the 4,995 square meter building has stood empty. The total usable area is 5,570 square meters. Negotiations had proven difficult because the ambassador post for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Berlin had been vacant for some time.

The property was worth around 890,500 euros in 1994

But now, with a letter from the Saudi Arabian legal counsel, there seems to be some movement. In 1994, the city secured the first rights to buy back the parcel of land. At the time, it was worth around 890,500 euros. So now the Saudis must first offer to sell the site to the city before other buyers can be sought. According to GA information, it had been agreed at the time to pay additional compensation of 50 percent of the current value of the building.

"The property is just waiting to be used again," said Nicole Unterseh (Green Party). It is important that the city buys it and makes it available as a meeting place because there is no community center, said Unterseh. Despite many discussions and ideas, there is no economically viable concept so far, said Abulzahab from Economic Development. He also said that it was not the task of his office to come up with such a concept. It would be up to the members of the district council to discuss this.

Office for Economic Development urges economic feasibility

"We establish only basic perimeters, we do not develop concepts, that is a task for the administration", stressed Marcel Schmitt (Bürger Bund Bonn), earning the consensus of almost all the parliamentary groups. District mayor Christoph Jansen (CDU), asked which department in the city administration was responsible but received no answer.

In the past, the administration had stated that there were inquiries from private individuals, companies, associations, church communities and social institutions to use the facility for religious, school, social and educational purposes. Schmitt could also imagine a parallel use as a community center and branch of the administration. Abulzahab explained that the question of economic viability had arisen from day one.

Building in good condition according to Office of Economic Development

Wolfgang Heedt (FDP) was interested in whether the city had looked at the building. "We have, and at first glance everything was up to date," Abulzahab said. However, he said, no technical inspection had been done yet because of the high costs involved. District Mayor Jansen concluded by saying he had a feeling that the issue would be on the agenda more often going forward.

When asked, city spokeswoman Monika Hörig said on Thursday that the goal was to conduct the sales negotiations quickly. She could not yet give a reliable timeline. Regarding the criticism of the district council members, Hörig replied: "The city administration intends to present a utilization concept to the committees for decision-making.”

(Orig. text: Silke Elbern / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)