On Monday, the project to transform some of the Bock Casemates into a residence of luxury flats was completed, according to the developer.
The residence comprises 34 medium-sized apartments as well as one four-bedroom penthouse with its own private entrance and a large puddle of water that can be used as a swimming pool for very small children.
“The casemates are pointless,” said Mario Lentz, the man who initiated the development project five years ago after having a weird dream about trolls who wear suits and work in offices. “A waste of space.”
“And tourists feel the same way,” he continued. “They come to Luxembourg and they’re like, hey, nice promontory. It’d be better if it weren’t full of stupid holes.”
Originally dug out in the 17th and 18th centuries, the nearly 23 kilometers of casemates were for hundreds of years used as a place to keep beer cool, but they fell into disuse after electric refrigeration was introduced to Luxembourg in 1983.
Still, until the early 2000s, a handful of plateau residents continued using the casemates as a place to discard potato peels, old socks, and other rubbish.
Pol Belvers, 34, a primary school teacher who was the first to move into a unit, says he’s delighted that his lifelong dream of living in a space resembling Batman’s Batcave has finally come true.
“My studio has no windows and it only measures 26 square meters, but that doesn’t matter because there’s no electricity and I can’t see the walls, so I never feel claustrophobic,” he said. “And anyway, I’ve become very good at using echolocation to avoid bumping into my furniture, just like real bats do.”
Tax lawyer Gwen McLaughlin, 41, who purchased a two-bedroom flat for her parents to stay in when they visit Luxembourg, says she couldn’t be happier with the property.
“It’s right in the middle of the city, it offers a great view of Clausen, and it came equipped with all the amenities,” she said. “A fire pit that serves as both a heater and a stove, a ventilation shaft that hopefully works, and a little trench that will rain our sewage over pedestrians down below.”
Trophy wife Natalia Petrova, 27, who is moving into the penthouse with her 64-year-old husband Soham and their poodle Diamond, says at first she didn’t like the idea of living under dozens of meters of solid rock, but her fondness for the place grew considerably after she hired a famous interior designer from London.
“We installed new lighting, got some paintings from a famous Chinese artist, killed all the spiders, and now our little tunnel feels less like an underground Gulag and more like an opulent Soviet-era bunker for top communist party officials.”
Lentz and his partners are hoping to expand their project, but rather than build more luxury flats, they are thinking of constructing smaller, inexpensive units that will appeal to the city’s some 50,000 manual and service industry workers who don’t earn enough to purchase spacious caves. Lentz says he envisions hundreds of five-square-meter sleeping pods that will be attached to tunnel ceilings like cocoons.