How soundly would you sleep in a former Nazi hotel? Developers of the Prora Resort must have asked the same questions when drawing the plans for the resurrection of an old German dream – building the perfect luxurious getaway on the nation’s Baltic coast.
However, there are some who are still wrestling with Prora’s infamous past. The eight concrete giants represent the hard labor of hundreds, if not thousands of prisoners of war, German soldiers, refugees, and forced laborers.
Prora Resort – How to Turn a Dark Relic Into a Luxury Condo
The History That Haunts a Place
Due to its location on Rugen, Germany’s largest island, the Prora Resort is a high-stake development project.
Known as the Colossus of Rugen, the seaside resort is a striking example of Third Reich architecture. The buildings run along the coast for 4,5 kilometers.
It is said the Prora Resort is the last and biggest complex in Germany to offer direct access to 150 meters of sprawling beach.
Robert Ley, Nazi official and head of the German Labor Front, imagined the resort would somehow appease the angry and dissatisfied German working class. So, in a move of dashing Nazi PR, he initiated a program of subsidized holidays for the German middle-class and labeled it ‘Strength Through Joy’.
Initially, the ‘most mighty and large beach resort to ever have existed’, as Hitler himself envisioned it, begun in a flurry of enthusiasm in 1936.
It followed the design of Clemens Klotz and was chosen by Germany’s chief architect Albert Speer. Moreover, all of the 20,000 rooms sported a sea vista.
However, the construction ended in 1943. At the time, Germany’s weapon industry became desperate and enlisted an entire working class in the war effort.
Porta Resorts’ beautiful sandy beaches were left to ruin. East Germany’s communist military force also used the giant resort as a secret military basis. However, they did not nurture any interest in seeing the resort return to its original purpose.
Over time, the giant resort fell into disrepair. Its landmark status saved it from demolition.
The Prora Resort Is High on the Buyer’s Demand List
The year 2008 saw the drawing of the first plans to resurrect the Prora Resort.
The local council envisioned the bright future of the abandoned constructions. They sold the idea of a youth hostel of 3000 rooms on a ‘Caribbean beach’ to developers. It paid off.
In 2011, the largest youth hostel of Germany opened in one of the buildings. Now, four of the six-storey buildings are going through different phases of the development process.
The first luxury building to open its doors to potential buyers this summer is the Prora Solitaire. Condos, each packaged with a glass-fronted balcony and a spa, sell for between $200,000 and $1,200,000.
Metropole, a developing firm from Berlin, owns exclusive rights over 10,000 rooms of the Prora Resort. Despite the controversial origin of the project, almost all of the apartments offered for sale have already been snapped up by buyers.
‘Of course, people see this gigantic complex and are fascinated by it’, says Katja Lucke, chief historian at an on-site museum. ‘But you cannot afford to make it banal. You have to put it in context.’
Over time, the Prora Resort changed many faces. It was first a dream of grandeur, then a harsh stopover for people trapped inside a war, a secret of a veiled Communist regime, a memorial of the past. And now, a venture into a future of luxury and wealth.