American Arms Hotel slated for demolition

Editor’s note: The article “Bald wird das American Arms Hotel in Wiesbaden abgerissen – dann werden Wohnungen gebaut” was published in German in the Wiesbaden Kurier newspaper, March 10, 2017 by Manfred Knispel.  Nadine Bower with the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Public Affairs Office translated the article.

Grafic courtesy of SEG
A view from above: A rendering of how the new apartments might look at the American Arms Hotel site.

American Arms Hotel slated for demolition:
Student apartments planned for site

WIESBADEN, Germany – Now, everything is supposed to happen really fast. In early March, the Ministry of Social Affairs released a statement that many refugee facilities in the State of Hesse, including the American Arms Hotel on Frankfurter Strasse, are no longer needed. Now, the city development company SEG announced that the former U.S. hotel will be demolished in the fall. However, the SEG had already been at this point before. The contract with the owner of the property, the Bundesanstalt für immobilienaufgaben (BImA), was already ready to be signed in November 2015. But then, the state was facing a dramatic increase in refugee numbers and had to claim the building. The American Arms offered space for up to 1,000 refugees. However, that number recently went down to only 209 refugees.

Right from the start, the state had pledged to return the building after two years. This will be even sooner now. “We have been in constant conversations with the state,” says SEG CEO Roland Stöcklin. The SEG had been informed at an early stage about the intentions of the return. Stöcklin assumes that the last refugees will move out of the American Arms within the next two months.

Plans for the area remain the same
The demolition can start immediately after that. “We can’t simply appear there with our excavating machines,” says the SEG CEO. First, the interior of the building would have to be checked. Nothing will change in the plans for the future use of the 20,000-square-meter area, says Stöcklin. The plan still includes the construction of about 220 student apartments in the area of the junction of Victoria Road. Additionally, 26 socially funded apartments will be built in the neighborhood. In order to finance the project, the plans call for the construction of an additional 72 exclusive high quality condos. A potential buyer of those condos could be members of the higher executive level, said Detlev Bendel, head of the Economy Ministry. The architectural design will match the buildings on Victoriastrasse and Augustastrasse.

A big piece of city repair
With the purchase of the land, the city had taken its municipal right for so-called conversion land claim. It is said that 15.5 million Euros will be paid, which is equivalent to the market value. Experts assume that the land would have made much more on the open market. The SEG wants to invest about 70 million euros in the project. In return, the city agrees to perform public duties in the use of the land. “We don’t foresee any problems with this,” said Stöcklin.

Stöcklin is very happy about the fact that the project can be started earlier. “This is very important to us, because it is a big piece of city repair.” Politically, the desire to live close to the city center has increased, he says. “The project American Arms fits into modern times,” said Stöcklin.

The orginal article in German can be found here:

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