The announcement of the U.S. President was like a slap in the face of Europe:

Posted on October 26, 2012


The military strategy of the U.S. government also has implications for Bayern. With the closure of the barracks in Schweinfurt and Bamberg, the cities are losing population in the medium term. The retreat also offers many opportunities.
Stephanie Geiger, Munich

The announcement of the U.S. President was like a slap in the face of Europe: to $ 487 billion he wants to cut the defense budget over the next ten years, told Barack Obama earlier this year. The United States needed for a “decade of war” look forward, the president said then presenting his military strategy. Smaller and more efficient to the American forces are accordingly. Place on land wars, are needed for the Army and Marines, Obama is more in future on special forces, drones and cyber security.
Problem timeframe

“When we heard that the Americans want to save the defense budget was, we all knew that it would pass over Schweinfurt not immune,” said Mayor Sebastian Remelé Schweinfurt. Since early February Remelé has indeed certainty. Since being given to high pressure about what to do when in September 2014 the last American soldier has left the barracks. 6000 soldiers and about 6,000 members are moving away from Schweinfurt and the surrounding area, not to mention the approximately 600 civilian employees who are losing their jobs.

While in the past were spreading panic when a troop withdrawal was imminent, Remelé sees a future without the U.S. army against relaxed. “We will approach the challenge hopeful,” the mayor said in February. That has not changed in recent months, nothing. “Our problem is not the vent, which is an opportunity. Our problem is the schedule, “says Hans Schnabel, the conversion commissioner of the city of Schweinfurt. In the Lower Franconian town hoped to begin as early as 2015 with the conversion. With citizens is discussed how the released land to be used in the future. A report has been commissioned, which will introduce two alternative concepts of use. The problem: The appraiser has no access to the site. Only the mayor was allowed to visit with a delegation from the city in March, the barracks. Since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 live the American troops in Schweinfurt in safety constant stress.

What could be made of the premises, of which one has pretty clear ideas. Because you know where the problem lies in Schweinfurt. Development area within the city limits, there are hardly any. Affordable housing is scarce. If the price per square meter of residential property today at 3500 euros, it is hoped, after the withdrawal of American families to be able to offer affordable condos for 1500 euros per square meter. From a business campus is talk. The university is to find development space, student housing will arise, and also companies to settle on the site, which will work closely with the university. On the areas outside the city limits, one could imagine a logistics center. Certainly not the worst solution for a city in the middle of Germany. A factory outlet mall or a furniture store on the other hand wants to prevent it. For Schweinfurt has enough shopping. It is the city with the most retail space per capita.

“A crisis is always a chance,” says the officer conversion bill. In barely a Bavarian town, we know that as well as in Schweinfurt. In the nineties, fell here by the reduction in heavy industry away 10 000 jobs. The city has met the challenge successfully. Today Schweinfurt is one of the few debt-free municipalities in Bavaria. “Investments in the amount of 40 to 50 million euros is not blown away by,” says Schnabel. The objective: The investment must be worth it. Would earn nothing. “But if something more is left, that’s even better.”
Erlanger pioneer

Alone decide with what is out of the barracks and whether the communities have a say as a word, is the Federal Agency for Real Estate. She takes over the surfaces of the U.S. Army and they will then sell. There is an investor who can pay more than the municipalities, are all dreams there. What opportunities can open up a withdrawal of a city seen from the example of Erlangen. While you are employed there for almost twenty years with making of an American barracks a new district. The effort was worth it.

The U.S. government had decided in June 1993 to give up the Ferris Barracks. The decision was hardly fallen since they began in Erlangen in early July 1993 with the negotiations for the purchase and subsequent use of the conversion property. 1998, the city bought the hundred-hectare area. That was the birth of a new, centrally located neighborhood.

Since then designed and built the new Erlangen, were united in the living, working and leisure uses and utilities on a global approach. Even the university is currently present there. However, even if it tackles the same, does the conversion of barracks: 2014 wants to finish the opening up of the area, more than twenty years after the Americans have announced the withdrawal of troops.
Comparison Project Bamberg

With a similar time frame for the conversion expects Christian background stone in Bamberg manages the conversion management. Bamberg loses 3000 American soldiers and their families. “The trigger is initially a financial loss that must be compensated by the new development,” says Hinterstein. Since early February, one thinks in Bamberg, what will become of the more than 400 acres of vacant land. From carpenter to pizza, the taxi driver to the utility – a variety of Bamberg companies still profiting from the soldiers stationed there and their families. And as in Schweinfurt, so lacking in Bamberg commercial space and affordable housing.

Hopes are high that with the departure of the Americans here solutions open up. A specially equipped department in the city government should be concerned about from now on. “It’s a long road ahead of us,” admits Hinterstein candidly. “It’s not an easy task, but it is a great opportunity.”

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