The original Kaufhaus – a massive 2-storied warehouse – was built here in the 14th century to take advantage of the newly granted Right of Guests (Ius emporii).
This law gave a city the right to require that any goods passing through its jurisdiction were unloaded, stored for a given period – 3 days in Cologne – and offered for local sale.
Oh, and the city had a monopoly on all stevedoring activities.
And – as in Monopoly – you could pay a “consideration” to avoid the process.
At least Dick Turpin wore a mask….
The original structure was damaged during the bombardment of the French occupying forces by German artillery in 1793 and demolished in the early 19th century.
Then everything in the immediate area got demolished as a result of 2 bombing raids in world war 2.
The houses on the billboard were built in the style of buildings that existed prior to the war and are again being replaced. (They were built using recycled rubble and only lasted 40 years or so before they started reverting to their original state)
They’ll be rebuilt properly this time.
Third time lucky?