Caberta: Danger from Scientology not diverted by demolition

Sect may already be seeking a new center

Die Welt, April 15, 1999

Hamburg, Germany -- Hamburg's Scientology commissioner, Ursula Caberta, sees no reason to celebrate the fact that the organization's center at 63 Steindamm is due to be demolished. "It's not the center which is dangerous," said Ursula Caberta, "what is dangerous are the sect adherents who occupy central positions in commerce and industry." She assumes that the sect is already looking around for a new building even though the exact demolition date has not yet been set.

Just last week architectural competition for the future construction of the property took place, but, according to a statement by Claudia Eggert, spokeswoman for the central district office, it had been open before then. While the authorities are still waiting on applications for proposed building plans, they are already active on other levels. Claudia Eggert stated that "all the legal possibilities are being tested" at this time to see if Scientology can be kept from renting on the streets near the main train station. A suitable solution has not yet been found, said the spokeswoman, since the property is under private ownership.

It has been known since last year that the approximately 1,550 square meter property on Steindamm was to be sold. The piquant thing about it was that the owner himself was a former Scientologist who had been hosting the sect on his property for nine years prior. After his departure from the sect there was a dispute over outstanding rental payments. A bid was put up after the owner had applied to the district office for several structural alterations, said Claudia Eggert. At that point a closed bid was offered to three Hamburg architects. The contract for new construction on the property was awarded to the office of Amorelli, Sembritzki and Tran Viet Tuyen (AST). A multi-storied building is planned, which is to contain office space and about 40 apartments.

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