Two of nine buildings completely derelict What is happening to the former embassies in Bonn?

Bad Godesberg · International diplomats have moved to Berlin a long time ago, but nine former embassies in Bad Godesberg have not yet found a new use. The former premises of Somalia and Nepal look particularly bad. They are completely dilapidated.

 The former residence of Indonesia on the street Im Hag 24 was demolished. A new building project Palais Rodderberg is being constructed there. Photo: Michael Wenzel

The former residence of Indonesia on the street Im Hag 24 was demolished. A new building project Palais Rodderberg is being constructed there. Photo: Michael Wenzel

Foto: Michael Wenzel

Very slowly the number of former embassies in Bad Godesberg, which have been empty for more than two decades, decreases. A current example is the former premises of Yugoslavia on Mehlemer Schlossallee, which was demolished in recent weeks. In the near future, the "Schlosshöfe Mehlem" will be built on the 5400 square metre site of the former embassy, along with a full-range of stores. The two former Indonesian properties in Friesdorf and Mehlem are being diligently renovated or newly built. Due to be completed shortly, the former Indonesian embassy is located at Bernkasteler Straße 2, which will be used for offices in the future after complete renovation.

In the former Indonesian residence, Im Hag 24, which was demolished, a new residential building with eight freehold apartments, cellar and parking garage is currently being built - the so-called Palais Rodderberg. The former diplomatic properties of the island state of Indonesia were successfully sold by Westdeutsche Grundstücksauktionen AG at an auction in Cologne almost three years ago. The auction of the former embassy in Friesdorf brought in proceeds of 1.05 million Euros, the sale of the former residence about 1.1 million Euros.

Real estate agent: "I just gave up on it"

These examples show once again that the plots of land of former embassies are in prime locations in the Bad Godesberg district. Someone who is particularly well versed in his profession is the Bonn real estate agent Wieland Münch, who has been able to market many an embassy over the past 20 years. For this activity one needs a long view and very good contacts. But there are also cases where even Münch had to throw in the towel. Three years ago, for example, he ceased his efforts to market the former embassy of Somalia in the villa district. "I just gave up on it", he reports resignedly. The problem: an African state that actually only exists on paper. Serious contacts: Nothing. Result: The house is dilapidated, mould is visible from the outside, missing windows were barricaded.

Similarly dilapidated is the former residence of Nepal, which, by the way. is located directly opposite the "Palais Rodderberg" Im Hag that is currently being built. The former swimming pool in the garden is hardly recognizable, the building with its dream view of the Rhine valley is only a shadow of its former glory. "Neither the city planning service nor the building authorities have had any complaints about the former embassies of Somalia and Nepal. Nor does the city have any current information on the future of the properties. "So far there have been no indications that the buildings are to be sold or rented," the press office of the city of Bonn announced.

Nothing is happening

The problems of selling former embassies are complex, as the examples of Syria, Hungary and South Africa show. Sometimes it is a year-long back and forth between the different authorities as in the case of Hungary. Or current political developments, such as the war in Syria, combined with corresponding EU sanctions, greatly prolong a possible sale of the former embassy in the Rheinaue. Three cases, by the way, where the buyers have already been determined. "In these cases the potential buyers are known to the countries," Münch states. But nothing happens.

Meanwhile, other diplomatic real estate is standing empty. Thus the former representations of Algeria, Cameroon and Nigeria are still seemingly in a deep sleep. In passing, it should also be noted that the former Finnish residence in Rüngsdorfer Fasanenstraße 22 was recently demolished to make way for a free-standing new building with eight luxury apartments with living spaces of 103 to 161 square metres and a total of 16 underground parking spaces. And some 20 years after the Villa Schorlemmer on Rheinallee 24 was sold to a married couple from Bonn, once the embassy of Pakistan, the magnificent Wilhelminian-style villa is currently for sale again. Only a few meters further on, Rheinallee / corner of Kronprinzenstraße, the two connected villas of the former Algerian embassy have been mouldy and neglected for seven years. Those interested in these million-dollar properties can contact the Consulate General of Algeria in Frankfurt am Main.

(Original text: Michael Wenzel.Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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