Bonn Originally, the Unigarage was to reopen at the end of 2019 in time for the Beethoven anniversary year. Now the renovations are delayed again.
The Unigarage at the Hofgarten was closed six years ago. The car park, which opened in 1969, was so dilapidated that the construction and property company responsible for university buildings (BLB NRW) could no longer guarantee the safety of users. The renovations first started five years later in autumn 2017. Now the construction site has come to a standstill. Workers found parts of the old city wall and this has led to a halt in works, which in turn has delayed the completion date. Originally, the BLB wanted to reopen the Unigarage at the end of 2019 just in time for the Beethoven anniversary year 2020. BLB spokesperson Frank Buch now assumes that the work will not be completed before the end of the first quarter of 2020.
Buch said that parts of the outer defensive ring of the city wall were found over an area of at least 20 metres by 5 metres during excavation works for the new lift system at the start of September. “After it was uncovered, the discovery was reported to Bonn’s historical monuments preservation authorities. Archaeological investigations resulted in the discovery being classified as worthy of protection and a rescheduling and a halt in works were ordered,” explained Buch.
The Unigarage did not previously have disabled access, which is why the BLB had allowed plans for a new lift. “Coordination talks are currently taking place between the university, as owner of the underground car park, and the city of Bonn, on how to deal with the archaeological monument and the location of the lift,” explained Buch. According to deputy city spokesperson Marc Hoffmann, the remains of the wall should stay in the ground. It is being examined whether plans can be amended so that parts of it can be made visible.
Five years after the closure of the car park, the renovation was first able to start at the end of September 2017, among other things because of a complicated tender process and problems with the former planning office. First, the building technology inside the underground car park had to be dismantled. “These works were carried out and completed on time,” said Buch. In addition, the suspended ceilings must now be repaired as well as the lighting, video surveillance and various other technical systems.
The BLB had previously estimated the costs of the renovation to be around 19 million Euros. The university will contribute 2.5 million Euros. In any event, the halt in construction will result in an increase in costs. “The lift shaft has to be relocated because of the historical finds,” said university spokesperson Andreas Archut. The university also wants the remains of the wall to be made visible. The rector’s office has decided that the university will bear the additional costs of more than 100,000 Euros.
Original text: Lisa Inhoffen. Translation: kc