Thuringia, Vacant Property Agents

Thuringia, Vacant Property Agents

Rescuing vacancy: Thuringian network for revitalising empty properties 

The Vacant Property Agents were founded on the initiative of IBA Thüringen in 2018 as a Thuringian network for revitalising vacant properties in the public’s interest. For the IBA, vacancies are a valuable resource in terms of scarce building land and building materials, local history and identity, craftsmanship, grey energy, environmental protection and building culture.

Trotz vielfältigem privaten Engagement und langjähriger öffentlicher Förderung gibt es allein in Thüringen über 45.000 leerstehende Gebäude. Die LeerGut-Agenten erkennen ihren Wert als kulturelle und bauliche Ressourcen, die jede Menge Raum für gute Ideen bieten.

The Vacant Property Agents support new users, municipalities and former owners in revitalising old buildings and derelict sites. Many vacant and derelict buildings, including old factories, schools, accommodation facilities, administrative offices and farms are too large for just one unit of use. Accordingly, there is a need for vacancy management, the formation of building groups, the development of utilisation and operator concepts and advice on planning and building law issues, financing and funding, right through to alternative forms of ownership such as heritable building rights and cooperatives. 

The Vacant Property Agents link initiatives, knowledge and experience so that good ideas are turned into feasible projects. The aim is to show alternatives to speculation, decay and demolition, but also to further new construction ‘on greenfield sites’. In doing so, the Vacation Property Agents support the individual approach of those involved, strengthen public welfare in the region, small town or village and take planetary boundaries, in particular soil, the environment and climate into account. With their self-defined role as Thuringia’s lobby for real estate development in the public’s interest, they thus advocate for the conversion and re-use of houses and brownfield sites in rural areas and for a building culture that promotes innovations in planning, financing and funding. 

With financial support from IBA Thüringen, the Vacant Property Agents set up a corresponding advisory service in 2021 with the ‘Vacant Property Vouchers’: they want to network, advise and support initiatives for the development of vacant properties, especially in the so-called “Phase 0” – from the idea to the project. In 2022, they offered additional training for administrations at the Thüringer Kommunalakademie.

The Vacant Property Agents meet experts and interested members of the public at regular network meetings, visit established and newly-emerging projects throughout Thuringia, raise awareness and help forge contacts. Meetings have already been held in Gera, Cobstedt, Apolda, Tonndorf, Schwanditz, Lauscha, Tannroda, Schweina and in the ‘Alte Feuerwache e.V.’ neighbourhood project in Weimar.

The wide-ranging network now encompasses more than 50 active people, initiatives, residential, cultural and commercial projects, administrative staff, planning and project offices as well as builders are represented in the broad network.

The Vacant Property Agents are members of the Immovielien network, the project sponsor is Platform e.V. in Erfurt.

In September 2020, the Vacant Property Agents were appointed as IBA candidates by the IBA Thüringen advisory board. The aim is to establish the Vacant Property Agents in Thuringia beyond the duration o


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Dr. Bertram Schiffers
Telefon +49 3644 51832-14

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