Construction site at Bonn’s central station "Urban Soul" is taking shape

BONN · The large construction site at the central station named "Urban Soul" is taking shape, progress can be observed almost daily. A furniture shop and a café will move into the ground floor.

Those who will stay overnight in one of the 235 rooms in the new Motel One at the main station will hardly notice: The bathrooms were already inside before the shell was finished, as Bastian Julius explained on Monday on the construction site of "Urban Soul" on the so-called Nordfeld.

The head of the project development company of the Düsseldorf investor "die developer" points his finger at a large concrete block on the first floor of the future hotel. "Inside there is one of the bathrooms," he says. In just one and a half months, the construction workers raised the first floor. Four more are to follow at the same pace.

Opposite the Maximilian Center, the future "Lifestyle House" on Poststrasse is also growing, which will also accommodate a gym. The shell of the office and multi-storey car park on the other side of the street, located right beside platform 1, has even reached its full height.

The office and car park have already reached their full height. According to Julius, the multi-storey car park with 260 public and 40 private parking spaces as well as the office and commercial building with around 4500 square meters of usable space are expected to go into operation in spring 2020. Julius revealed that a furniture store and a café will move into the ground floor.

The two opposite buildings are to be completed in the following months. However, Julius does not expect the hotel to open until the end of 2020, i.e. not in time for Beethoven's anniversary year as once hoped. Because regardless of the bathrooms that have been fully assembled by a Slovenian company, there is still a lot of work to be done on the interior.

"So far we have spent most of our time underground," said Julius. Now at last, after many months of difficult demolition and foundation work, the "Urban Soul" project is on the up, the urban contours of the three buildings belonging to the project are clearly visible, Bastian Julius and project manager Ronald Pietsch are pleased.

Costly dispute with the City Council Bonn

Both speak of an "open-heart operation" in regard to the problems involved in upgrading the subway structure beneath the building complex and in the demolition work. These were already very costly works," emphasized Julius, "and they were much more costly than planned: As the previous owner of the property, the City Council of Bonn is confronted with an additional claim worth millions from the Düsseldorf investor "die developer“.

For example, the investor is claiming around ten million Euro more in residual costs than agreed in the purchase agreement. These are residual costs - for example for the removal of contaminated sites - which the buyer can deduct from the purchase price at the end. The contract had agreed residual costs of 4.3 million Euro for a purchase price of 23 million Euro.

Now 14.3 million Euro are to become due. Julius: "We are in dialogue with the City of Bonn in this regard and will disclose all the necessary documents". When asked why the problems could not have been recognised beforehand, especially as the construction plans for the underground had been available, he explained: Among other things, not everything that could have been found on the spot corresponded to the contents of the plans.

The controversial issue of facade design

An essential part of the planning for "Urban Soul" is the façade design, about which opinions differ. Local politicians fear that the clinker bricks for the "Livestyle House" are too dark and do not harmonise with the bright facade of the Maximilian Center. Julius and Pietsch tried to take this concern away from the politicians with large-format sample views.

All in all, Julius is satisfied with the time and cost schedule, even though he was somewhat behind schedule due to the previous civil engineering work. With around 100 construction workers working on the site every day on average, he hopes to be able to stay on schedule now.

(Original text: Lisa Inhoffen; Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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