Wednesday, March 4, 2015

US Army Properties Flipping to Wiesbaden

An agreement of sorts was worked out today and the city of Wiesbaden, the federal office for property for Germany, and the US Army.

The focus of the agreement?  More or less....there's a simplified method to the Army property being turned over, and the city will get to be the planning source for usage.  No one said much but I would imagine there was some worry over 'other' parties barging into the Army property situation and Wiesbaden city officials wanted to make sure they were the sole source of planning.

The short-term priority?  The American Arms Hotel and the Mainz-Kastel housing/barracks area.  Both are set to flip over, and the usage plan needs to be pretty quickly determined.

The long-term plan?  There's two additional properties set to turn....the Amelia Earhart Hotel complex (it's apparently not finalized yet and I suspect the US consulate in Frankfurt might have some interest in the property).  And there is the second Mainz-Kastel property.....the storage station or AAFES property (depending your memory of the site).

From about a year ago, there was intense interest in reusing the American Arms Hotel as a student-housing complex (something of a big deal in Wiesbaden with several university operations in the local region).  There's two issues with this idea.....a parking garage might be required, and there's a funding requirement for some renovation to make it into apartments.

The Kastel housing/barracks area?  There's two ideas.  One was a mini-mall-type operation with some housing.  The locals preferred a green solution with a couple of business operations and some housing.  The green idea would have meant taking out a vast amount of concrete and asphalt.....landscaping.....and adding trees.  Map-wise, I was looking over the site and doubt that it's more than thirty-five acres.

The Amelia Earhart Hotel?  No one says much but it's likely another project for student housing.  It's in great condition and has the parking garage already.  Location-wise, it's a five-star location....near bus lines and within walking distance of the railroad station of Wiesbaden.

The Kastel storage site?  At best, it's forty acres, with mostly large-scale warehouses.  Most were built in the 1960s and it's hard to see them being retained in anyway by the city.  My guess is that the whole thing is bulldozed and most of the site ends up as a commercial site, with a quarter of it as some Kastel park (my suggestion, not theirs).

More sites to flip?  No.  Presently, no one has suggested any other property.  The old BX on the hill?  It'll be torn down at some point as the new BX opens but no one is talking of that property flipping to the Wiesbaden authorities.

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