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Old 06.03.2019, 06:45
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Zoning: Converting restaurant to housing?

A question that my limited German is struggling to find...

I've started looking at property, and saw a house which would be quite nice... the only catch is that the ground floor is (currently) a restaurant (which would be vacated, the current owners live above).

Does anyone know what the process would be to get the restaurant converted to a house (from a zoning perspective? the construction work doesn't worry me so much).

Thanks,
M
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Old 06.03.2019, 07:35
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Re: Zoning: Converting restaurant to housing?

I would suggest that you have a meeting with the Bauamt from the relevant Germainde, they are normally quite helpful in any proposals that fall inside the rules. I think rezoning would devalue the property as it is quite difficult to go the other way. Using the restaurant as living / dining space does not really change the use that much. Age will be a factor as there maybe Denkmal or Heimalschutz if it has been there since the 1800s.
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Old 21.03.2019, 16:25
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Re: Zoning: Converting restaurant to housing?

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I would suggest that you have a meeting with the Bauamt from the relevant Germainde, they are normally quite helpful in any proposals that fall inside the rules. I think rezoning would devalue the property as it is quite difficult to go the other way. Using the restaurant as living / dining space does not really change the use that much. Age will be a factor as there maybe Denkmal or Heimalschutz if it has been there since the 1800s.
Very useful, thanks.

Have continued searching, and now found one that has stables on the ground floor. I followed your advice, and spoke to the gemainde... who said that the stables form part of the (ground floor) cellar, and cannot be converted to living space, which sucks.

Does anyone have any idea what the costs of bulldozing and rebuilding a house are? (3 floors + 1 underground cellar, about 100sqm for each floor, not counting finishings. I.e. just walls, electrics, heating and roof)

Similarly, the estate agent seemed to think it's easier to rebuild than to convert existing non-habitable space (e.g. cellar, stables, etc)... has anyone done this in CH?

M.
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Old 21.03.2019, 17:43
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Re: Zoning: Converting restaurant to housing?

From what I've heard, 1000 CHF per cubic meter (I assume of interior volume) is a good number to ballpark with for construction, though that includes and varies with finishing.

As mentioned, you should also check if it has protected status (Denkmal = monument, etc), which could significantly limit the alterations you are permitted.

And while you are talking to the building department, check the zoning class of the lot. In particular, the zoning class and lot size will tell you the maximum number of livable square meters that you are allowed to have on the lot (The key word is Ausnützungsziffer in German, multiply by the lot size to get allowed livable area.). Often, when a utility area is not permitted to be converted into livable space, it is because of this limit. So bulldozing might allow you to change things, but not make the total livable area much larger.

Of course, even if all the basics look good, I would very much recommend consulting an architect or similar to understand what development would actually look like before going too far down the route to purchase. This country is not as free as some when it comes to deciding what people can and cannot do on their own property.

Last edited by ThomasSSS; 21.03.2019 at 20:10.
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Old 22.03.2019, 08:13
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Re: Zoning: Converting restaurant to housing?

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Very useful, thanks.

Have continued searching, and now found one that has stables on the ground floor. I followed your advice, and spoke to the gemainde... who said that the stables form part of the (ground floor) cellar, and cannot be converted to living space, which sucks.

Does anyone have any idea what the costs of bulldozing and rebuilding a house are? (3 floors + 1 underground cellar, about 100sqm for each floor, not counting finishings. I.e. just walls, electrics, heating and roof)

Similarly, the estate agent seemed to think it's easier to rebuild than to convert existing non-habitable space (e.g. cellar, stables, etc)... has anyone done this in CH?

M.
I have done a conversion from barn to living area for another EF member so maybe they can advise on approval process. A "hobby room" is not considered part of the living space ;-)) See before pictures here. https://www.englishforum.ch/1443040-post34.html

It will be cheaper to renovate than build new and there are pluses and minus' for both. The first check I would do is to compare the current zoning regulations to the building at present in regard to building setback from the boundaries and height. It can be that you have plenty of available building volume but when you calculate the volume whilst complying with the setbacks the volume is considerably reduced so a renovation is the better option. Conversely if a lot of structural work is required then maybe new build is the better option.
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Old 22.03.2019, 08:23
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Re: Zoning: Converting restaurant to housing?

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From what I've heard, 1000 CHF per cubic meter (I assume of interior volume) is a good number to ballpark with for construction.
Yes, but exterior volume, not interior.

We ran across that when insuring our rustico which has 50cm which walls, thus reducing the interior dimension to 4x10m from the exterior 5x11m, so insured for 165m3 of exterior volume vs. 120m3 interior volume.

Tom
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Old 22.03.2019, 08:31
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Re: Zoning: Converting restaurant to housing?

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From what I've heard, 1000 CHF per cubic meter (I assume of interior volume) is a good number to ballpark with for construction, though that includes and varies with finishing.

As mentioned, you should also check if it has protected status (Denkmal = monument, etc), which could significantly limit the alterations you are permitted.

And while you are talking to the building department, check the zoning class of the lot. In particular, the zoning class and lot size will tell you the maximum number of livable square meters that you are allowed to have on the lot (The key word is Ausnützungsziffer in German, multiply by the lot size to get allowed livable area.). Often, when a utility area is not permitted to be converted into livable space, it is because of this limit. So bulldozing might allow you to change things, but not make the total livable area much larger.

Of course, even if all the basics look good, I would very much recommend consulting an architect or similar to understand what development would actually look like before going too far down the route to purchase. This country is not as free as some when it comes to deciding what people can and cannot do on their own property.
Just wanted to say the figure of 1000k is a bit high for a new build since even in Beobachter they mentioned 800chf per cubic meter. Our bank is using 850chf per cubic meter which they are willing to finance. Anything above goes into the gold door handlebars category of luxury.
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Old 22.03.2019, 11:49
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Re: Zoning: Converting restaurant to housing?

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Germainde
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gemainde
Gemeinde.
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