The shopping city of Brunswick has a total of 551,000 square meters of retail sales space, including nearly 200,000 in the city center. But many stores are empty, some for a long time.
"A Luxembourg fund doesn't care what the shop window looks like here in Braunschweig."
Volkmar von Carolath, Downtown merchants working committee.
Vacancies – the ugly face of a shopping city. Downtown shoppers are starting to worry. They are asking homeowners and real estate agents to be more creative and attractive in the future in their efforts to attract new tenants.
What do the merchants criticize?
A broker's logo, a telephone number in a drab shop window covered with wrapping paper, that is no longer in keeping with the times, says Olaf Jaeschke of the Downtown Working Committee. And it was also a bad signal for all downtown visitors, he said.
Yet it's so easy to do it better, as you can see here and there. On Bohlweg, for example: "A real estate agent has hung an aquarium poster in the shop window."It doesn't cost much, but it is an eye-catcher and makes the store for rent look much more attractive than a dark hole in the row of stores.
What do the brokers say?
The number of vacancies will rise, experts are convinced of that. So how to deal with it? Real estate agent Jo Wolter says: "Certain stores would have to reckon with not being able to find new tenants at some point. That was the course of events. Locations have changed – and nowadays it is already difficult below the inner-city 1b location. Particularly since also some sales areas would not correspond any longer to the current conditions regarding size and height. Wolter speaks of a certain "Darwinism" in retail that leads to certain stores being "weeded out" if people aren't careful.
In his opinion, it is time to think about alternative uses here and there. Especially since, for example, there is currently a demand for inner-city rental apartments.
Is there too much retail space?
In addition Volkmar von Carolath, chairman of the community of interests of the city center buyers (AAI): Braunschweig, means it, in the meantime with 2,4 square meters of sales area per inhabitant an overcapacity in the retail trade reached. One is clearly above the average of 1.8.
But back to the appearance of the vacancies. It's insanely difficult to get homeowners to make their vacancies more attractive, Carolath says.
The annoying thing about it: The negative external effect radiates to the neighborhood and harms the entire neighborhood.
There are so many good ideas, other cities are showing the way. "But then you seek the conversation with the owner and find out: it is a Luxembourg fund. And he doesn't care what the shop window looks like here in Braunschweig."
How other cities do it?
Example Salzgitter: Here an economic and innovation promotion GmbH takes care of the topic and gives tips on how to deal with commercial vacancies:
– Design the shop windows attractively and do not leave their real estate only "lie".
– Allow interim uses, such as for showcasing art.
– They should also check whether a use by neighboring stores is possible.
Another example: Berlin-Wilhelmstadt. Here the retail trade recommends an offensive and more positive presentation of vacancies. By uniformly sticking a white wave on the shop windows, the appearance of the unused store premises would be improved and at the same time attention would be drawn to the vacant commercial spaces and their potentials. White adhesive foils provide information about the vacancies.