Munich: criticism of the new construction project in Schwabing-West

Munich needs affordable housing. And as one of the most heavily sealed metropolises in Germany, the city also needs enough greenery to be able to counteract the hot summers predicted as a result of climate change. These two aspects come up again and again in new construction projects – especially in western Schwabing, the most densely populated district of the Bavarian state capital. The most recent example: planning a new building for the square between Kathi-Kobus-Strasse and Theo-Prosel-Weg.

The Hotel Vitalis towers there. The colossus from the 1960s, nine stories high, is to be demolished: the Munich real estate company Concrete Capital, which acquired the hotel together with the inner courtyard and neighboring residential building four years ago, intends to build a H- build a new building with apartments. The now unoccupied residential building at Theo-Prosel-Weg 11-13 would also have to give way. “Unfortunately, technically there is no other way, because the underground car park under the building can only be reached via the driveway in the previous hotel,” says Peter Fritsche. In addition, explains the managing director of Concrete Capital, there is a “risk that the building on Theo-Prosel-Weg will fall into the excavation pit” if the hotel is demolished.

Instead of the previous 40 apartments, the project is now intended to create almost 170 new one-and-a-half, two-, three- and four-room apartments. Another bonus from the investor’s point of view: The inner courtyard, which is now completely sealed – “an absolute nightmare” – would only have 82 percent sealing in the future thanks to two green inner courtyards, roof and facade green. But that’s not enough for Westschwabing’s local politicians. In view of the dense development in the area, the majority advocate not even realizing the structure in the middle in favor of a larger open space.

“Our neighborhood is so densely populated that it shouldn’t be paved over any more,” explains district committee chairwoman Gesa Tiedemann (Greens). The citizens’ representatives also want to keep the existing residential building at Theo-Prosel-Weg 11-13, which was only built in 1996 – despite the investor’s arguments. In order to nevertheless generate living space, they found it most sensible to erect the building intended to replace the hotel “higher” than previously planned. That, in turn, says Fritsche, “the local building commission doesn’t want.” He has already discussed this variant with the approval authority, “the LBK does not want us to build higher than the environment”. The authorities have already approved the preliminary building application.

Concern about affordable housing

It remains to be clarified how it can be ensured that the rents for the new living space remain affordable. Because many condominiums in the high-price segment have been built in the vicinity in recent years, including at Infanteriestraße 14 and at Elisabethstraße 91/91a. The district committee proposes that a sectoral development plan be drawn up for the entire square between Kathi-Kobus-Strasse, Theo-Prosel-Weg and Elisabethstrasse, which is under great development pressure, which “at least” contains the legally prescribed proportion of subsidized rental apartments prescribes. Also, since otherwise “considerable rent pressure on the Westschwabinger conservation statute areas” such as Agnesstrasse and the area around Hohenzollernplatz and Hiltenspergerstrasse must be expected.

The possibility of issuing sectoral development plans for residential construction has only existed for almost a year. At that time, the new building land mobilization law came into force. A sectoral development plan can determine areas on which only buildings may be erected that meet the requirements for subsidies from social housing subsidies. Or where a carrier undertakes to comply with the rent and occupancy commitment. The extent of the structural use, the construction and maximum dimensions for the size of the residential building plots in the sense of an economical use of land can be included in the stipulations. The aim of the innovation: to create more opportunities for affordable housing in inner cities as well.

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