Dorothea Vollenweider and Patrick Berger
The historic property on the beautiful sunny slope in Winterthur Wolfensberg ZH stood empty for more than 17 years. Run-down and allegedly haunted by ghosts, the former hereditary villa was considered a haunted castle by the residents for years. And was then haunted by night boys and historically interested Gwundernasen.
Now she shines in new splendor! The new owner, the Winterthur real estate group Leemann+Bretscher, (L+B) from Winterthur renovated it for 3 million francs. Blick was allowed to take an exclusive look around the villa during the work.
First look behind the walls
It was the first time since the villa was foreclosed on that the public was allowed to peek behind the walls of the 6,000 square meter property. “The castle character of the villa should be preserved,” said the construction manager of L + B at the time.
The real estate company succeeded. The listed garden has been cleaned up, weeds and trees that have grown wild in recent years have been removed. An arbor lures you to a cozy supper in the sunset. The pool, smeared by vandals, is freshly renovated and invites you to take a dip.
Old meets new
But that’s not all that’s new: where the Erb family’s bowling alley used to be, a wellness area with sauna, shower and fitness room has been created. The dilapidated villa has also become much more modern: the entire house with 13 rooms is now wheelchair accessible. For this purpose, a second entrance without steps was created next to the original entrance door. A lift connects the floors.
But some things stayed the same, as Blick knows. The future owner will be able to make himself comfortable on cold days by the same fireplace as the car entrepreneur Hugo Erb (1918-2003) and his family once did. Or store your books in the built-in cupboards of the former heritage library.
Even the secret entrance in one of the bedrooms was preserved. What looks like a built-in closet can be pushed open. The invisible door, as thick as the wall itself, should still function despite the renovation.
Negotiations are already taking place
The refurbishment is now complete. Explosive: The villa is about to be sold – even before the newly renovated luxury property has even been advertised! Blick knows from confidential sources that the current owner is currently in negotiations with several interested parties. However, Robert Hofer, owner of the real estate company, is covered. When asked by the newspaper, he did not want to comment on the current state of affairs.
Hofer bought the property in 2020 for 2.9 million francs. “It was important to me that the property remained in Winterthur’s hands,” he said at the time. Whether his concern to see the villa owned by a local owner remains a priority remains to be seen.
It is also not known what the selling price will be. It is quite possible that the price tag of the once dilapidated hereditary villa is in the double-digit millions.
Villa Wolfensberg has an eventful past. It was built in 1937 by Kurt Schoellhorn (1894-1966), scion of the Haldengut brewery dynasty. It lies high above Winterthur, on the edge of a forest on the Wolfensberg. Upstart Hugo Erb bought the 6,000 square meter property because he wanted to show the long-established Winterthur families that he now also belongs to the upper classes.
Erb came from a modest background. His father owned an auto repair shop. When the son took over, it grew into a car empire in just a few years. The current owner, Hofer, knew the Erb family. He went to school with one of Hugo Erb’s sons.