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WIESBADEN, Germany — Site work is set to begin this fall on a new $34 million hotel for the military community in Wiesbaden, the future home of U.S. Army Europe headquarters, an Army official confirmed Friday.

Starting in October, a work crew is slated to begin demolishing four apartment buildings in the northeast corner of the Hainerberg housing area near the chapel, a project that will take about six months, said Tony Blevins, the MWR project manager for U.S. Army Garrison Hessen. The current plan calls for hotel construction to run from September 2007 to January 2009.

The yet-unnamed facility would replace the American Arms Hotel, which has served this community since the Air Force held sway here back in 1951.

“It’s too old,” Blevins said of the current hotel. Crews “are continuously repairing and maintaining (the facility) just to keep it operational.”

Blevins said the decision to build a new hotel was not directly related to the headquarters move, and that community officials have been lobbying for it since late 2002. Nonetheless, the project’s chances certainly weren’t hurt by the fact that USAREUR’s hierarchy is coming to town.

While the final design has yet to be formally approved, preliminary plans call for a four-story complex with three sections and 164 rooms. Blevins described it as a fan-shaped structure, with the middle section serving as a common-use area that would include the front desk, storage areas and a workout room. A restaurant is not in the blueprints but there will be a section set aside for occupants to have a continental breakfast.

Approximately 10 percent of the rooms would be handicapped-accessible, Blevins said. Plans call for 92 suites, 64 double rooms and eight rooms for extended visits. Each room would have a kitchenette and a private bathroom.

The outside facade will include stone and glass, and the adjacent parking lot is being designed to accommodate 145 vehicles, which is roughly three times what is available at the 179-room American Arms Hotel.

Blevins said the $34 million would pay for everything, from demolition to construction to furnishings, fixtures and equipment. The money to pay for the Morale, Welfare and Recreation facility will come from nonappropriated funds, he said.

Officials opted not to renovate the current hotel because the cost to do so would exceed 50 percent of the amount to build a new one, Blevins said. Since a portion of the American Arms Hotel contains office space, the community plans to hold on to it, at least for the near future.

The families living in the four apartment buildings targeted for demolition will have until August to move. Already, many of the 60 units are vacant. Those families who remain have their choice of relocating to Dexheim or the nearby Aukamm housing area.

Sarah Matusiak and her family are moving to Aukamm. With five children and a husband, her family is in line for a five-bedroom flat, equipped with a washer and dryer. That’s one more bedroom than they currently have and one less reason to head downstairs, laundry basket in hand.

“They have to put it somewhere, and this is as good a spot as any,” Matusiak said. “I don’t like the fact I have to move, but I’ll be OK.”

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