John Riceburg: Does this loft seem familiar to you?



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Very interesting...

I remember hearing about this at the time, when they had started turning the place into "Luxuswohnungen", but now the loft is on the market I do wonder if there will be more action and protests. I also wonder how is the remaining active Hausprojekt, the whole New Yorck gang, are going to deal with whoever moves in.

And ha, the linked Wikipedia article mentions that the new landlord "spread the rumour" that Til Schweiger was going to move in...

What always makes me wonder about this sort of thing is, these are historical houses, nevermind the whole hausprojekt/eviction angle, how about the city actually caring a bit more for some of its historical property?? I find it sad that they let buildings like these be privatised at all, nevermind transformed into "luxury lofts" for rich people, or actors, or whoever the new tenants are. And this is not even the worst example (one of the worst has to be the old post office building in Mitte, where the C/O photography gallery was before it in turn had to move out).

Also, a few years ago I'd spotted in property listings - also as "luxury flats" - some of the flats in the old DDR buildings along Karl-Marx-Allee and around there, and those are still technically Denkmale if I'm not wrong?? I don't know the legal details of course but it sounds weird to me that something defined as a monument should be turned over to estate companies to turn into the kind of housing that is so at odds with its context and history. I mean, a luxury loft in an old DDR state building, that's even more mindboggling than this one in the former Yorck59.

Some of the comments here I also find a bit sad. Yes cities evolve, and Berlin has also seen some good developments in recent years, this "gentrification" process is not all entirely evil - but there seems to be no half-measure, a shocking lack of supervision and care from the local authorities, who also sold off a lot of state property for ridiculously low prices, and dismantled a lot of social housing just as the city is seeing more and more of a divide between its lower income population and the "new rich". They really don't seem to care.

Monica more than 8 years ago

Oh god, not again

There are a lot of ways you could have approached this topic, there is a lot that could be learned from the series of events that lead up to the evictions you mention above, including the legal aspects, the legal rights of the tenants versus rights of the property owner, the role of local Government and its moral duty to protect citizens, etc. The world is not as black and white as it appears to be portrayed here. It disappointing to see yet another piece of righteous "down with that sort of thing", "rich people are bad" tired and miss-directed argumentation, capped off with telling readers that "you’re part of the problem, whether you think you are or not". I remain un-persuaded.

Berlin is changing, like all cities do. That is simply going to continue to happen, in no small part because of the constant influx (that you mention) of new people and the ideas that they bring with then. Pretending that we can all go back to some imagined Golden Era when rents were low and people could live wherever they want, everybody had a job etc is just pure fantasy and produces one result: total and absolute resistance to change, and that just like shouting at the clouds when it rains. See the world for how it is, not how you wish it to be.

Apart from finding some place reasonable to live, the single most annoying thing about living in Berlin is hearing these kinds of unexamined, canned, off-the-shelf views about foreigners, rents, "the rich" versus everybody else and many other things, expressed as if they where undeniable truth. Worse, this kind of argument has created an environment where wealth and success in and of themselves are seen as at the very least unfashionable, at worst as being anti-social. That is as dangerous as the worst kind of unrestricted liberal capitalism.

Milo more than 8 years ago


The building in the Yorckstraße 59a has now been empty for eight years. That wouldn't have just been a home for dozens of people, including families, but also a space for concerts, meetings and initiatives. Now, who will rent a pre-furnished loft for 4,000 euros a month? Can you can think of anyone but extremely wealthy people who need a place to crash for six weekends a year? If that's "progress", then leave me out!

Sorry if you didn't like the footnote about "Bonzen". I thought some readers might not know it – but feel free to skip it.

John Riceburg more than 8 years ago

Oh fucking yawn

OMG! A city is evolving and changing!

An old Jewish department store is now an upscale private club for media types. You must be so enraged.

An old gas station is now a single-family home for an art collector. I can imagine your fury.

Tacheles stands empty. Get your blood pressure medicine.

I own a residential loft in an old illegal club called Akba Lounge, which itself dislodged several East German artists (actually it didn't dislodge them, they left when the Wall came down but that's not the story you types like to hear). I can sense the bile in your throat.

And, and, and.

It's called change and progress. Try not to spill your Latte while you read this (I've lived here so long they used to be called Milchkaffees -- should I add a pretentious footnote on that bit of German as you did?)

Blah Blah Blah more than 8 years ago

@Blah blah blah

I see you point, but let's not call a 252m² loft for €4000/month "progress". Progress is something entirely different.

Maurice T Frank more than 8 years ago

i read this and sigh a little

i totally understand this development can be classed as a special case - be interested to know how many residents have any idea of the history and story of the building - but talking about the changing face of berlin in general its just too simplistic to go "have money = you bad/no money = you good". maybe that isnt the intention of the article but it does come across that way.

i live in london, here i struggle every day to juggle finances. i try to visit berlin a couple of times a yr, i love the city. When there i do feel better off (not difficult after london). its a part of the attraction and its so nice just for a few days not to have to fret about money in the same way.

what side of the good/bad divide does that put me? does that make me part of the solution or the problem? if someone comes from nothing, works hard and becomes successful should be always begrudge them that?

there never simple answers, virtually nothing in life is black & white.

ian hanreck more than 8 years ago

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