Hotel BISS – an update from Hildegard Denninger

The BISS charitable foundation had intended to convert the former Munich women’s and juvenile prison – ‘Am Neudeck’ – into an upscale hotel while protecting its heritage and ancient trees. The idea was to give 40 young people with particular social difficulties the chance to receive comprehensive, first-rate professional training and qualifications. Hotel BISS was to have 72 rooms. The plan also involved 11 flats equipped for the elderly in a separate part of the building, to be rented out within the scope of a concept based on the idea of “bringing different walks of life together“. The experience and professionalism of the elderly would have been actively employed to support the young people to become qualified. The heritage-protected entity of ‘Am Neudeck’ would have been preserved for all citizens to enjoy.

After the Government representatives (CSU/FDP) in the Budget Committee of the Bavarian State Parliament had voted against selling directly to BISS, a bidding procedure was held. The non-profit foundation of BISS entered a bid of 1.6 million Euros. Our offer was backed by up-to-date financial statements, a selection of letters of recommendation from Munich’s top hotels and from well-respected social projects, as well as a full funding confirmation from our bank. On 19 April we received a letter from the official real estate organisation of Bavaria, “Immobilien Freistaat Bayern”, informing us that the tender had been awarded to an anonymous bidder whose offer was higher than ours.

We were deeply disappointed that the State of Bavaria did not make use of the possibility to give preference to a bidder who serves the common good, an option which is expressly set out in the Bavarian budget law, and we therefore appealed to the CSU/FDP representatives in the Budget Committee to accept the offer from the BISS foundation.

As a last resort, we addressed the Bavarian Minister-President Horst Seehofer directly in an open letter, imploring him, in his position as protector and sovereign of all young people in Bavaria, to support our cause. This letter was published in the internet under as a petition, which 15,556 people signed within 26 days.

On 24 May 2011, the CSU/FDP representatives in the Budget Committee of the Bavarian State decided with their majority that the former Munich women’s prison would be sold to the commercial real estate investor REC 24 Real Estate AG for a sum of 16 million Euros.

We are extremely sad that this unique social project, with its solid base of funding and the many years of dedicated work and all the commitment, the donations and the enthusiasm so many people have put into it, has been crushed by the very party whose first two letters stand for “Christian” and “social”.