According to daily newspaper taz, last Sunday’s destruction work, which drew a sizeable protest before being suspended until March 18th, was not meant to make way for a block of luxury flats at all – but a footbridge.
Moreover, the project of rebuilding the bridge in question – the Brommybrücke, destroyed by the Nazi regime in the last days of World War II – had been planned shortly after the reunification of Germany in 1990.
In 2008, the “Mediaspree versenken” initiative to stop building on the area around the East Side Gallery, made an alternative referendum proposal that involved rebuilding the Brommybrücke as a pedestrian bridge and demolishing the same 22-metre section of the Berlin Wall. This was not criticized at the time.
But the initiative has always opposed the building of a tower block in the area which, the activists point out, is a violation of the referendum that 87 percent of the district electorate voted for in 2008.
This luxury tower block, developed by building contractor Maik Uwe Hinkel would require an already existing gap in the wall – which provided access to a beach bar – to be widened by from 7.8 to 12.8 metres. This work has not yet started.
“Mediaspree” is the name for one of Berlin’s long-term major redevelopment projects – conceived in the 1990s – to locate several media companies along a 3.7 kilometre stretch of the River Spree in the German capital.
The land for this block of flats was sold to an investor in the early 1990s, and the plan for the building was made a few years later.
But following the popular opposition, the Berlin senate attempted to find an alternative space for the investor, though Berlin Finance Minister Ulrich Nußbaum denied this process, on the grounds that denying it was not in the “whole city’s interests.”