Stuttgart hotel project breaks ground
January 23, 2009
BÖBLINGEN, Germany — A $31.5 million hotel construction project commenced Thursday at the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart’s post in Böblingen, further cementing Panzer Kaserne as the service hub for Stuttgart’s military community of roughly 20,000 people.
In the past couple of years, Panzer has evolved from a sleepy outpost, home to a couple of units, into the first stop for all people moving in and out of town. The new 218-room Panzer Hotel will make that process more efficient for families, according to Stuttgart’s garrison commander.
"As part of the USAG Stuttgart master plan, we have tried to bring and consolidate all the important services to support our community into one location," said Col. Richard M. Pastore. "This hotel now allows us to provide lodging to our incoming and outgoing families and servicemembers on the same installation where they shop at the [post exchange], doin- and out-processing [and] vehicle registration. All of those things that they used to have to run around five different installations to do, they can now do here, once this hotel is in place."
The hotel will be the fourth for the Stuttgart military community, which also has hotels at Patch, Kelley and Robinson barracks. The additional rooms are expected to help meet the growing demand for lodging and minimize the need for people to take up residence at costly city hotels.
Instead of taxpayer dollars, the hotel project is being paid for through nonappropriated lodging funds, garrison officials said.
On Thursday, construction vehicles sat idle on a cleared and muddy plot of land, poised to start digging.
Terry Bautista, chief of engineering and construction for the Army Corps of Engineers in Wiesbaden, along with German civil engineers, will oversee the project.
"I know how vital this facility will be to this garrison and the high-level visitors to the Stuttgart military community," he said.
The building, which consists of eight levels, also will have a 174-car parking lot.
Of the 218 rooms, 149 will feature kitchenettes, "a luxury not often seen at military lodges," Bautista said. Another 65 rooms will be designated specifically for families. Those rooms will have additional bedrooms and living rooms.
Other amenities include a multipurpose fitness room and laundry rooms.
The project is similar in design to the new lodge currently under construction at the Army’s garrison in Wiesbaden.
However, the Panzer Hotel will have 58 more rooms and cost $2 million euros less, Bautista said.
The project is the culmination of several years of planning.
"This is a huge project and it’s something that’s been worked on for a long time," Pastore said.