The Liebig-Therme in Bad Salzhausen has been closed since October due to excessive operating costs.

A new facility should be ready and welcoming guests by the start of the state garden show in this part of Upper Hesse in 2027.

This is how citizens and city politicians in Nidda would like it to be.

But since Wednesday evening they have known: the planned vitality and health center will not make money.

After all, the minus will be lower than last, since the Liebig-Therme generated a deficit of a good one million euros a year.

In addition, the schedule is "sporty".

This was raised by the experts who presented the market analysis and feasibility study commissioned by the city to around 50 interested people in the community center.

Thorsten Winter

Correspondent for the Rhein-Main-Zeitung for central Hesse and the Wetterau.

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The thermal baths are of outstanding importance for Hesse's smallest health resort.

The catch: In Bad Nauheim, a new competitor will emerge in the form of the Sprudelhof thermal baths by autumn.

It will cost more than 40 million euros, not counting the underground car park that is also under construction.

In Bad Vilbel, a southern German company is also planning a much larger thermal bath complex for around 200 million euros.

In Nidda there is talk of less than a tenth as an investment sum.

In addition, Frankfurt is planning a large new facility in place of the Rebstockbad.

All this also limits the appeal of Bad Salzhausen to guests who do not necessarily want to go there because of the unique character of this spa town, as the experts from Conpro GmbH from Nuremberg emphasized.

Most guests come by car

The people of Nidda should not overestimate the potential to attract significantly more guests from the Frankfurt area.

For example, Frankfurters would have to drive more than 30 minutes to Bad Salzhausen by car - and 60 to 80 percent of the guests of such thermal baths usually traveled there by car.

You could already easily drive to existing thermal baths at a similar distance via the motorway.

Several citizens objected that they knew guests from Frankfurt who would like to come to Bad Salzhausen by train.

Voices were also raised that Nidda could score more with the so-called open bathing cure, which has been a mandatory benefit of health insurance companies since summer 2021.

But here, too, appraiser Klaus Batz tried to dampen expectations.

"I don't want to say: Bake small rolls.

But bake rolls that you can also sell.” The goal must be an offer for the narrower rather than broader region, i.e. within the 30-minute circle.

Use six healing springs more

In this context, Batz and his colleague Torsten Kühne suggest that the residents of Nidda make much greater use of the six local healing springs.

For therapy and marketing.

The topic of salt can be used in the follow-up spa and beyond in many ways.

A new thermal bath would also have to be optically opened to the nearby Kurpark.

So far, the possible lines of sight have been blocked.

In addition, there is the sculpture park nearby, which is worth the journey to Bad Salzhausen for many a guest alone.

For the planned vitality and health center, the experts prefer a new building to a possible renovation of the old building.

In the second case, Nidda would get away with an investment of around 9.3 million euros compared to 15.3 million for the new building including swimming pool, sauna, the so-called salt box, brine applications, shop, gastronomy and Kneipp pool in front of the door .

As a rule, a renovation cannot be carried out faster and harbors the risk of unpleasant surprises.

A renovated building would also be less energy-efficient than a property tailored to the new requirements.

And given the rise in gas prices in the industry, energy efficiency is a big issue.

Therme with bath and brine inhalation as well as sauna

The experts also assume that a new building will ultimately open up greater potential.

This also applies to the revenue per guest.

So far, the Liebig thermal baths with bath and brine inhalation plus sauna have earned an average of only 6.11 euros.

This total is well below the industry average.

In the case of a new building, the experts expect more than ten euros.

However, the minus will remain significant, even if it is likely to be lower than last time.

An operating deficit of 111,000 euros is to be expected.

However, this amount adds up to 776,000 euros on the balance sheet because of the interest and repayment to be made as well as the depreciation.

A renovated thermal bath would therefore have a minus of 364,000 euros in day-to-day business and, on balance, a loss of 660,000 euros in the first year and 745,000 euros in the fifth year,

including increasing personnel and operating costs.

In the case of the new building, Nidda would have to reckon with a deficit of 873,000 euros in the fifth year.

Expert Batz called on the local politicians to "step on the gas".

This is necessary in view of the requirement to have the vitality and health center ready by 2027.

Because there are not many architects involved with thermal baths - and their offices are "mega busy".