U.S. giving Chiemsee, Garmisch hotels back to Germany
The U.S. military is returning to the German government the last of the hotels it confiscated at the end of World War II.
The turnover of the hotels at Lake Chiemsee and Garmisch has nothing to do with the expected reduction of U.S. troops in Europe over the next decade. Rather, it is part of a long-term process of eliminating facilities deemed in excess of U.S. military needs, said Pete Isaacs, chief operating officer for U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center, based in Alexandria, Va.
The Chiemsee Lake resort and the Von Steuben and Gen. George Patton hotels in Garmisch originally were scheduled to close last year in advance of the opening of the Armed Forces Recreation Center’s Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch.
But a desire to provide hotel rooms and resort areas for troops taking rest and recuperation leave from Iraq and Afghanistan kept them open longer than originally anticipated.
With the opening of the 330-room Edelweiss complex in September, there is no longer a need to retain the other hotels, which are more than 60 years old and cost more to maintain than they’re worth, Isaacs said.
“[The hotels] now exceed our needs,” he said. “We can meet total demand of the market and accommodate all R&R requirements in one building.”
After the completion of a needs assessment and review of repairs, the Defense Department approved turnover plans to the German government, he said.
Over the next 30 days, possibly sooner, the Chiemsee resort will change hands. The U.S. government has spent about $500,000 over the past 18 months for necessary repairs, security and to keep utilities running in preparation for the turnover, Isaacs said.
The handover of the Von Steuben and Gen. Patton hotels, already closed to U.S. servicemembers and their families, will likely take place over the next three to six months, and will cost the military less than $100,000 for repairs and other needs, Isaacs said.
At one time, the U.S. military operated hotels confiscated from the Nazis after World War II in seven cities, but the number dwindled as they were no longer needed.