Investors buy into downtown Berlin

Local Harvest Investment Group to spend up to 200 million euros on a new commercial property in the central business district of West Berlin

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Published: Thu 3 Apr 2008, 10:32 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:43 PM

FIRST IT was Potsdamer Platz that was redeveloped, after the communist Berlin Wall was cleared off it.

Now, it is the turn of the heart of former West Berlin, near the war-ruined Memorial Church and Zoo Railway Station, to attract investors. Abu Dhabi investors plan to plough millions of euros into a major revamp of what used to be the central business district of West Berlin in the bad old days of division.

Architects are planning a spate of new buildings around the Zoo Station and the high-rise Europa Centre shop and office complex nearby, and along a shopping stretch near the modern, blue-glazed Memorial Church.

As it is, Berlin’s skyline is already set to change dramatically with construction later this year of a spectacular 120-million-euro (175-million-dollar) Giant Wheel, Europe’s biggest Ferris wheel.

Although long-distance trains no longer halt at the Zoo station - they stop instead at the capital’s new Hauptbahnhof station - a scheme to modernise the run-down station complex and other buildings in the vicinity is now programmed. The UAE’s Harvest Investment Group will be spending up to 200 million euros on a development, the Zoo Fenster, across the way from the Memorial Church.

The church, a popular stop with tourists, is a Lutheran church shattered during the Second World War onslaught on Berlin and rebuilt incorporating some of the ruins as a dark reminder of the evils of war.

The church is in the headlines, with campaigners seeking to raise 3.5 million euros for urgent repairs to its crumbling tower. Berlin’s city government has promised 1.5 million euros towards the bill. The high point of the Zoo Fenster project will be a 120-metrr-high skyscraper. A premium hotel is also planned by 2010.

Important Abu Dhabi investors involved in the project predict a dramatic increase in commercial property values in the western downtown districts of Charlottenburg and Wilmersdorf in the coming years.

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