On April 4th, a new era is about to begin at the “Areal am Tacheles” site in Berlin. The real estate developer “pwr development GmbH” will start with the preliminary excavation work.
Diggers will be deployed to remove the remains of the Friedrichstrassenpassage arcade dating back to 1909, and to prepare the site for the excavation of the construction pit in November. pwr development GmbH intends to start with the actual construction and redevelopment work by mid-2018, and to have the last building ready for occupation at some point in 2020.
The outline planning permission was granted at the end of an intense and lengthy dialogue between city hall and borough council that also involved the Swiss architectural firm of Herzog & de Meuron which is responsible for the urban development concept. In talks with the competent administrative offices and the borough councillor, the borough assembly and the parties seated in the assembly, pwr development GmbH presented its plan to realise an attractive mix of different housing types and to raise the residential share from the previous allocation to 38 percent, to create an urban ambience in the new quarter, and to make the ground floor units available for commercial usage open to the general public, to make an extensive effort to meet the requirements for a green urban development – for instance, through green rooftop areas and squares – to create a public passage with an eclectic succession of differently proportioned squares and passageways, to implement a parking concept adequate for the site and including bicycle parking, e-bike charging stations, car-sharing spots, and a low resident-to-parking-spot ratio, to redevelop the existing buildings at Friedrichstrasse 112a+b as residential buildings, and to establish the former art venue “Tacheles” as central component of the quarter and a significant future attraction by earmarking it for continued cultural usage.
“The proactive exchange with the stakeholders in town planning and the body politic has helped us to get a better idea of the borough’s needs and to integrate them into our plans,” emphasised Sebastian Klatt, Managing Director of pwr development GmbH. “The main thing now is to bring the project to fruition on a consensual basis.” Carsten Spallek, Borough Councillor for Urban Development, Construction, Commerce and Order, feels the same way: “In our dealings with the company, pwr development GmbH has presented itself as a competent and reliable property developer. At the moment, we are waiting for architectural blueprints that will do justice to the site and its history, and hoping for a smooth progress of the construction work in this prominent location.”
Together with Herzog & de Meuron and four other Berlin-based architectural firms, pwr development GmbH will have the first preliminary designs drafted before the end of the year. Negotiations with the Berlin-based architects involved are already under way and are supposed to be completed in April. It is planned to file the first planning applications by the end of August. “Our idea of developing and redeveloping this special place in Mitte is to capture its history and to pick up on it in a contemporary theme,” said Sebastian Klatt. “For the implementation, we rely, in addition to Herzog & de Meuron, on architectural firms here in Berlin that bring extensive experience with the city and its architecture to the job. We look forward to this chance to restore a piece of Berlin with this project.”
Herzog & de Meuron will be responsible not just for the artistic direction of the project but also for the development of important individual buildings – including the redevelopment of the historic “Tacheles” building.
In 2014, the site, officially called “Areal am Tacheles,” was acquired by the Perella Weinberg Real Estate Fund II (PWREF II) through several subsidiaries. Following the acquisition, PWREF II set up the property development company “pwr development” in order to ensure a professional and efficient realisation of the planned project by deploying a team of real estate experts on location.