From eyesore to ornament

Schweinfurt – an intensified form of ingenious is: ingeniously simple. This applies to a concept for the renovation of the old town in schweinfurt, in which the city buys the run-down building if no one else wants it. The city then tidies up the property, fixes the roofs and facades, repairs the worst damage, rubs down adjoining buildings – and sells again. The new owner then made sure that his own four walls did not collapse and that the risk remained manageable.

Richard riegler, head of the redevelopment department in the town hall, and architect karin fuchs (design and construction management) explain the schweinfurt model to the editorial team using three examples, two of which have made city history. It’s probably called that because the then bavarian prime minister horst seehofer once referred to it as such.

The kritznerhof at hauptstrabe40 in the oberndorf district was an eyesore for decades. Built in 1836 as a stately farmstead, the farm with farmhouse and delivery house was unused for 53 years after 1962. In 2001, the city bought the property.

In 2007, the area was gutted, and the cattle shed destroyed in the second world war also disappeared. The reorganization of the property boundaries, made possible by additional purchases, was followed in 2012 by the renewal of the roofs, the replacement of the windows and the straightening of the facade, which is now heat-insulated.

Farmhouse and outbuilding

At a "reasonable price the young balmer couple bought the unfinished building with "the charm of a monument", so the new owner jennifer balmer. In the main building, the ground and upper floors add up to 180 square meters of living space. The ausragshaus (built for the old farmers) offers another 80 square meters of space.

Despite the heat, it is pleasantly cool and quiet in the main building, even though the traffic roars through the hauptstrabe. The owners did most of the interior work themselves. Because the room layout was pleasing, only a few walls fell for a rough living and cooking area. A year passed between purchase and moving in, during which the floor was lowered, the plaster was chipped away and half-timbering was exposed.

The house of the artist

The eyesore has become a decorative piece. The same goes for ruckertstrabe13 – three minutes from schweinfurt’s city hall and thus right in the middle of town. The "kniebe-back was an original from schweinfurt, an artist of life. He turned on the oven sometime in the morning. In the afternoon he opened the store. When salt sticks and sourdough stolli were sold out, he closed the shop. There was no more baking – and plenty of stolli only if the town hall had not ordered too many of its stolli for a reception in the evening.

The bakery existed until the end of the 1980s. The kniebe-back lived until his death (2001) in the knieb-house, which had not been renovated for decades and which was getting more and more dilapidated. The city acquired the house in 2003.

The restoration agency, in cooperation with the state office for the preservation of historical monuments, took over the first steps in the restoration: the clearing of the building and the demolition of the three-story reconstruction with the oven and utility rooms. 20,000 euro cost these first mabnahmen, for which there were already demand funds.

Here’s how it works

Example an example calculation is made by richard riegler, head of schweinfurt’s urban redevelopment department, at. It is based on a 450-square-meter large and built-up plot in the redevelopment area neue gasse. Purchase price: 100,000 euros. This is determined by the independent expert committee. Riegler estimates 150,000 euros for basic renovation including new roof, facade and windows. The city does not demand 250,000 euros from the buyer; the grants received by schweinfurt are settled.

In the example calculation, riegler also takes into account the current market prices, so that the property would be available for around 150,000 euros. So the city is left with a loss. For the subsequent renovation of a listed building, riegler assumes costs of another 400,000 euros in the example. Of this, about 350,000 euros are claimable. If the property is eligible for urban development funding, grants of up to 60 percent can be expected.

For the example house the new owner had to pay net about 300 000 euro, which covered the purchase and the required finishing work. Not including the depreciation of the renovation costs.

Downstairs store – upstairs apartment

Freed from the paraphernalia of long living, the state office took a look at the house and ordered the development into the 17.Century one. In stadt- und wohnbau gmbh, a subsidiary of the city, the redevelopment agency found a buyer who realized the idea of the old town redevelopers: a store on the first floor and apartments above.

Many of the things that discourage investors from buying historic houses in need of renovation were no longer an issue at this point. Preliminary investigations and monument preservation considerations had been completed and the question of possible grants had been clarified. The "small coffee roastery" moved into the first floor, a popular meeting place with a cafe today.

From around 1560

Also in the city center is today’s krumme gasse 29 a. Until the renovation, the house was the reconstruction of the upper street 8, a former three-storey burgher’s house with plastered half-timbering and gable roof, with the eastern stair tower and a burgher’s coat of arms. The core of obere strabe 8 dates from around 1560. Major changes came in the course of the centuries. In this case, too, the city took over the renovation of the roof, the facades and the windows.

The upper floors were made accessible by a new staircase and the former adjoining building was detached from the stair tower that once stood there. Several non-load-bearing walls on the floors were removed for use as a single-family house. The further interior finishing was left to the new owners.

"There are many imitators"

For karin fuchs and richard riegler, the schweinfurt model is a success story. It was not uncommon for prospective buyers to contact the city as soon as it showed interest in buying a property.

"Copycats exist, but we don’t know how many", says richard riegler, who receives inquiries about the schweinfurt model from all over the country. Very often, however, other cities and municipalities could not afford the purchase and partial renovation.

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