The Media Spree zombie lumbers on After 87 percent of Friedrichshain-Kreuzbergers voted in a referendum to kill the clumsy scheme to turn the banks of the Spree into a corporate office park, the city is still selling big chunks of public land to developers. The latest casualty: Bar25. The venerable Club Maria will hold its ground till its lease ends next spring.
Hotel Alley Rosenthaler Platz is the new hotel district. Over the past year Casa Camper, The Weinmeister, AMANO, easyHotel and Four Seasons have joined the likes of Circus Hotel. Out west they tore down the 1960s landmark Schimmelpfeng-Haus to build the hulking 31-story Zoofenster-Tower, which will house a generic luxury hotel by Frankfurt architect Christoph Mäckler. We ask ourselves: how many more hotels does Berlin need?
The Evil Eye in Berlin “Don’t be Evil” was an early slogan at Google. Now, Street View, aka The Devil’s All-Seeing Eye, finally has arrived in Berlin and 19 other German cities as of November. After hysterical protests about privacy earlier in the year, the Devil (Google) allowed German property owners to opt out of the diabolical scheme. The result: 244,000 facades in the 20 cities have been blurred in the online cityscape – slated to become the megalith’s next global advertising platform. Google is supposed to automatically blur licence plates and faces snapped by their cameras, but some slipped under the radar. If you want to complain to the Almightly Satan of the Internet, you can email [email protected]
Berlin Walk of Fame The city’s tourist board cooked up this tacky bit of ersatz Hollywood in the middle of a Potsdamer Platz traffic island. Its red gravel paving, which spreads out in all directions, suggests the nearby Kohlhoff-Tower’s brick-peeling skin disease is infectious.
Soho in NoTo When the London-based Soho House members club opened up a branch in the former Hitlerjugend HQ on the corner of Torstraße and Prenzlauer Allee, the hype was uncontrollable. Facilities include a private gym and a rooftop terrace with mini-pool overlooking the Plattenbau blocks around Alex. For €75 a month – half if you’re under 27 – and a recommendation from a current member, you’re in. It’s getting harder to say no to exclusivity, even in Berlin.
THE GOOD NEWS?
Rent control With Neukölln rents beginning to compete with Prenzl’Berg’s, it’s a relief to see the arrival of sustainable housing projects. Opened in October, Werkpalast, an ex-kindergarten Plattenbau in newly trendy Lichtenberg, was converted into 20 new flats with monthly rents ranging from €4-€6.50/sq. metre and surrounded by an often-open-to-the-public fairytale lawn. Take that, greedy property profiteers!