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Seymour Gris: The anti-Mediaspree hypocrites

Sure, the new offices and apartments planned for the banks of the Spree are corporate, sterile and horrendous. But they might help keep your rent down.

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Here’s a picture of what’s planned around the O2 World arena. I know, I know – it’s a corporate office park with a bunch of luxury flats that will be bought up by ruthless yuppies who have no feeling for what Berlin is all about. Oh, and isn’t the investor some kind of right-wing Christian from Denver?

I used to rant and rave against the evils of “Mediaspree”. O2 World is a monstronsity. The clubs on the riverbank are all being shut down, first Bar 25, now Maria am Ufer, the pioneer that sparked the whole riverside party thing.

But things have changed. Rents in “nice” neighbourhoods – i.e. central areas with 19th century buildings are skyrocketing. Kreuzberg and northern Neukölln are practically as expensive as Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte. Gentrification is for real. And there is a real housing shortage in the inner city.

What does this have to do with the Mediaspree development? Berlin urgently needs new housing. Wouldn’t you prefer if some of those yuppies moved to Mediaspree instead of your cosy neighbourhood? At the end of the day the anti-Mediaspree people are as selfish (and at least as intolerant) as the next manager/developer/yuppie scum: they want their Berlin.

Developments like these might ease pressure on rents in your neighbourhood.

Besides, there’s no going back to the Berlin of the 1980s and 1990s, when everyone who wanted could wallow in Bohemian splendor in magnificant, run-down Altbau flats with showers in the kitchen and coal heating.