Berlin’s Legendary Tacheles Art Squat Purchased for €150 Million

An icon of post-wall Berlin is set to get a major facelift.

The former home of Berlin’s Kunsthaus Tacheles artist squat, has been purchased by New York–based financial services firm Parella Weinberg Partners for a whopping €150 million ($190 million), the Berliner Zeitung reports.

Tacheles has been one of the most iconic structures within the German capital since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was taken over by artists shortly after the wall came down. Many of those artists and a rotating cast of others lived and worked in the building, practically rent free, up until September 2012, when they were forced to leave the building. Protests initially broke out over Tacheles’s closure. But, the 60 or so artists who remained living in the building did vacate the premises when asked to do so.

Parella Weinberg representatives told the paper that they intend to create a mixed use development on the approximately 25,000 square meter (270,000 square foot) property. The piece of land is one of the last undeveloped stretches of Berlin’s popular Mitte district, which the developers cited as a prime reason for their investment.

They plan to renovate the existing, 9,000 square meter (97,000 square foot) former department store building, which had housed Tacheles. At least portions of that structure will be dedicated to an unspecified “cultural use.” Other new buildings will be erected on the remainder of the land. They will feature both commercial and residential units.

A sign formerly at Tacheles's entrance Photo: Victor Grigas via Wikimedia Commons

A sign formerly at Tacheles’s entrance
Photo: Victor Grigas via Wikimedia Commons

“We are convinced of the German capital’s potential and, with this project, want to be actively involved in designing a portion of its city center,” Parella Weinberg’s Léon Bressler told the Berliner Zeitung

In 1995, the German government sold the building to one of the country’s largest real estate firms, the Fundus Group, for 64.7 million Deutsche Marks, according to the TAZ.  The group, owned by Anno August Jagdfeld allowed the artists to remain at that time, until a suitable use for the building and sufficient funds to renovate the relatively derelict and graffiti-covered structure arose. The TAZ notes that the sale last week achieves a healthy 375 percent return on investment for the real estate firm.

The surrounding area has been one of Berlin’s most desirable for investors in recent years. Another New York–based firm, the El-Ad Group, purchased the former Postfuhramt building in 2010 for an unconfirmed sum with the intention of turning it into luxury apartments. That building previously housed C|O Berlin, a museum for photography, which has since moved to the city’s west.

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