Building owners want to raze the building on the Steindamm and replace it with a new one

Will Scientology have to look for a new center?

Hamburger Abendblatt, April 15, 1999

Hamburg, Germany -- What will happen to the Scientology Center on the Steindamm? The controversial organization does, indeed, have a rental agreement which runs until the year 2013. Nevertheless, the building owners want to raze the building and replace it with a new one. Architectural competition for the new building took place last week, with first prize finally going to the Hamburg office of Amorelli, Sambritzki and Tran Viet Tuyen.

The issue of whether the Scientologists must leave the building remains open. "We will have the current contract gone over by our attorney," said sect spokeswoman Gisela Hackenjos. Central district office believes it is not likely that the city could require that the owner-builder not rent to Scientologists. That would probably be a matter between lessor and lessee, stated an unnamed source. The building's owner, a real estate agent from Itzehoe, is said to be a former Scientology member himself.

Just three years ago the sect center was supposed to have been renovated from the ground up, with mini-towers and glass facades and about double the utility area. This proposal, which was tailored completely for the organization, met heavy political resistance in the district. It was said at the time that the sect would want to contribute financially to the construction. Nothing came of that.

Because Scientology's outlook and liquidity has been obviously worsening over a number of years, the organization has started a Germany-wide image campaign. This is being directed from the USA and is said to cost about $40 million.

For days now, conspicuously tall men with white Scientology advertising placards have been running through the city. A "What is Scientology?" informational exhibition opens today in the "Alte Wache" Hotel at 21 Adenauer Blvd. About 4,000 Hamburg residents who are considered to be "multipliers" (e.g., politicians, journalists, doctors) received personal invitations. Many of the letters bore advertising stamps for Maltese Hospice Work. That was sheer coincidence, but was irritating nonetheless.

Burkhardt Mueller-Soenksen, spokesman for the Hamburg FDP, appealed to Ursula Caberta, director of the Hamburg state Scientology Work Group, to "counteract" [Scientology's recruitment measures]. Caberta's response: "Anyone who wants to be informed about Scientology should request one of our brochures." (scho)

[One brochure "Scientology's Intelligence Service - Principles, Missions, Structures, Methods and Goals" is available in an unofficial English translation from (now a dead link)].

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