Kaufhaus Project at a Standstill

Photo by Tessa Enright

The Görlitz Kaufhaus is one of the best preserved department stores of its kind in Europe. The art nouveau style department store building was opened in 1913 and was in use as such until 2009.

The Kaufhaus in Görlitz is most famous for being used by director Wes Anderson as the hotel lobby in his film The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Private investor Winfried Stöcker purchased the Kaufhaus in Görlitz in 2013 with the intention of opening it as a department store again. Construction continues to be delayed. The plans have changed and must be approved by the city. In the summer the situation appeared hopeful for construction to begin soon. Plans include a connection to the City Center behind, which is also owned by Stöcker, as well as escalators and a rooftop bar with a view.

Recently, however, the project has come to a standstill concerning two villas behind the post office and next to the City Center parking garage. Stöcker wants to tear the villas down in order to make more room for deliveries to the department store and for the parking garage. The Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (the office responsible for monument protection in Saxony) insists that the two villas must be preserved.

The disagreement has escalated, with Stöcker writing a letter to the city with an ultimatum: if he is not allowed to tear down the two villas, he will abandon the project. The city of Görlitz, meanwhile, is interested in working with Stöcker to find a solution but Stöcker warns that he is already 73 years old and the clock is ticking, so to speak.

Stöcker sees his plans as being much bigger than just the Kaufhaus alone. He hopes to improve the parking situation in the city and to attract more people to Görlitz by revitalizing the retail sector.

One of the villas in question, photo by Tessa Enright
One of the villas in question, photo by Tessa Enright