Many customers are increasingly migrating to the Internet, the stationary retail in the city center is facing a challenge. And the Corona crisis with its lockdowns of several weeks has forced the development. It has shown all retailers: Only those who are also present in online retail, get the balancing act between both retail platforms right, will remain. A look back at the past year.
These tenants left
The city center is undergoing a profound transformation. For months, business closures and vacancies have been piling up. Nowhere is this more visible than on the Damm, which has obvious gaps: Gina-Tricot on the corner of Munzstrabe has been gone since the end of August, Schuh-Kay followed in the fall, and on the corner of Bohlweg there has been an obvious gap in the former "Maisons du monde" since the beginning of June, which has not yet been closed. There are rumors that an outlet center might be built there. The vacancy in the former "Chocolata" (since the end of February) is almost irrelevant.
But that's not all: anyone coming into the city from the south will come across empty shop windows on Friedrich-Wilhelm-Strasse. After 31 years, shoe store Reno said goodbye at the end of June, leaving behind 950 square meters of unused retail space. A few streets away, on Kattreppeln, the Jako-o clothing store threw in the towel in mid-April, leaving behind a 1200-square-meter gap. However: There is a new tenant there – E-Bike Kaste opens a branch in spring.
Consequential decisions by Galeria-Kaufhof-Karstadt
The drumbeat at Bohlweg: Galeria Kaufhof closed its doors in mid-October. Volksbank BraWo, as the owner of the property, is working on a concept for its subsequent use.
The Karstadt department store at the Gewandhaus will also close: According to owner Friedrich Knapp, the group has terminated the lease there as of 30 June 2009. June 2021 notice given.
At least Karstadt-Sports did not close in September. The employees had already received their notice. But at the last moment, the Galeria Group and the landlord found a solution.
The castle passage
The Burgpassage has been (almost) empty for two and a half years. Demolition should have already begun there in summer 2018 – the opening of the new Burggasse as a shopping, residential and business street was planned for the end of 2020. But still the last remaining tenant Tchibo and the investor Development Partner have not found an agreement. There are legal disputes. In addition, the framework conditions have changed in the meantime, not only by Corona. It has become more difficult to find solvent tenants for the retail space. Even the 90 million euros that were once calculated will no longer be sufficient as an investment.
The question of how the almost completely empty Welfenhof will develop is still open. The property has a new owner, Deutsche Immobilien Opportunitaten from Frankfurt, and also a new operator, RME GmbH from Oberhausen. To their plans there is so far however still no information. Just this much: the current arcade solution from the 1980s is no longer up to date with its small-scale nature. A "magnet tenant" is needed to bring passers-by into the arcade.
The good news
But there is also good news. So Hygia operator Christian Haertle opens a new McV fitness studio on the embankment in early 2021, closing a vacancy. He talks about a "fitness discounter" with low prices for all those who have a little less money at their disposal. Volksbank BraWo is also launching a very extensive major project: it wants to completely renovate the Schlosscarree starting in 2021. According to the plans of Giesler Architekten, it should have a big-city flair. The investmentmme is around 30 million euros.
The city administration and the municipal economic development agency Braunschweig Zukunft GmbH have launched an "inner city dialog" in 2020. At the kick-off, around 60 experts from retail, gastronomy, culture and science, from chambers and associations, from the administration and municipal companies as well as the real estate sector discussed how the inner city can remain attractive. Answers are to give it in the next months.