By Carola Meusel (USAG Stuttgart)January 25, 2010
STUTTGART, Germany - Most people refer to Robinson Barracks as one of the most scenic military installations in Stuttgart.
This is mainly because of its location on top of the wine hills between Bad Cannstatt and Zuffenhausen, which provides residents with an impressive view of Baden-WAfA1/4rttemberg's capital.
Robinson Barracks, named after World War II Medal of Honor recipient 1st Lt. James E. Robinson, Jr., has undergone various changes throughout the years.
It is located in an area that was used for agricultural purposes until 1934, when the German armed forces took over the land to build Flandern and Grenadier Kasernes for its 119th Infantry Regiment. After World War II, these caserns were then used as camps for displaced people.
In 1949, the U.S. Army took over the military installation for the U.S. Military Logistical Support Headquarters for the greater Stuttgart area.
Between 1950 and 1957, apartment buildings, shopping centers, restaurants, a school and a chapel were built to support military personnel and their families.
In 1993, the southern part of Robinson Barracks was returned to the German federal government and the city of Stuttgart.
Stuttgart developed this land into a residential area known as "Burgholzhof" between 1996 and 2006, which now houses approximately 3,000 residents.
All of Grenadier Kaserne's buildings, located in Stuttgart's Rot district, were torn down in 2000 except for one, the home of the federal government's registrar office.
"Roter Stich" is the street that intersected Robinson Barracks, connecting the district of Rot with Pragsattel, Stuttgart's main traffic road.
The fact that Roter Stich has always been open to the public (except when force protection exercises were conducted), led to various discussions between the U.S. Forces, the German federal government and the city of Stuttgart, especially after the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
Due to possible terrorist threats against the U.S. Forces and force protection concerns, the U.S. military petitioned for the closure of the street.
In 2008, the U.S. Forces returned the western part of Roter Stich, including six apartment buildings and five homes for officers, to the city of Stuttgart.
"The land swap in 2008 allowed the street to remain open, and offered a successful solution between the U.S. Forces, the federal government and the city of Stuttgart," said Theodore Schulze, deputy U.S. Forces liaison officer in Stuttgart.
However, the land swap is still subject to a special agreement between Stuttgart and the U.S. Forces.
"With the land swap, the city of Stuttgart committed to build a new street within the military installation so that people are able to access the housing area. Also, Stuttgart agreed to build three new duplexes (six apartments) at Robinson Barracks and three single homes at Kelley Barracks," said James Grady, the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Directorate of Public Works deputy director.
"As soon as the alternate constructions are finalized by the State Construction Office, the U.S. Forces will return the five remaining officer houses on the western side of Roter Stich," Grady added.
In July 2008, the agency for urban development and residential areas in Stuttgart, the Stuttgarter Wohnungs- und StAfA$dtebaugesellschaft (SWSG), purchased the western part of Roter Stich for Ac'A!8 million from the federal government. The plan is to build a new residential area with approximately 200 housing units.
"The current area plan includes the construction of 61 rental apartments, 100 privately owned apartments, and 35 single homes, including row and duplex houses, as well as a day care center," said Stephanie Ahr, spokesperson for SWSG.
"Altogether, the SWSG is investing about Ac'A!62 million in this project," Ahr said.
Construction is set to start in the spring of 2011.
"The SWSG anticipates finalizing the construction of the apartments by the end of 2012. The construction start for the houses depends on the U.S. Forces and when they are returning the rest of the area," Ahr said.