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Marzahn-Hellersdorf
The problem Kiez of the past is changing

Real Estate Marzahn-Hellersdorf

Until 1977, life was placid in the GDR villages Marzahn, Hellersdorf, Biesdorf, Kaulsdorf and Mahlsdorf that today form the district of Marzahn-Hellersdorf. Then life changed abruptly: new streets were built; there was a lot of digging and construction. In order to counter the housing shortage, the GDR started a housing development program in Marzahn and Hellersdorf that was unique in history. It took 110 days until the eleven-story buildings were ready for occupation. Living in prefabricated buildings became daily routine and only the heritage-protected village centre is left to commemorate the former rural idyll in Marzahn.

There is a special place where people can learn how people lived in these prefabricated complexes: a museum flat on Hellersdorfer Straße, where everything has been preserved in original condition, from the velour armchairs to the egg cups. The tree rooms on 61 square metres cost 109 DDR-Mark for rent back then – and were in very high demand. Because an own bathroom with toilet und bathtub, district heating, telephone and even an elevator, that was unheard-of in old buildings in East Berlin, where most houses were heated with coal and where the toilet was outside the flat, in the staircase. So it does not surprise that in the year the wall came down, almost 200,000 people lived in Europe’s largest settlement complex.

But with the turnaround came changes. Many people moved back to the old buildings of the quarters closer to the city centre, which had now become more attractive again. Flats stood empty, the social mix deteriorated.

But the city and the district did not sleep, but renovated some of the prefab buildings, knocked some down and reduced others to three to six storeys. The dull uniform grey disappeared behind fresh coats of paint; the spacious green spaces between the apartment blocks were beautified. In 2005, the “Eastgate” opened with 150 stores as the largest shopping centre in East Berlin. “Berlin’s best views” – is the slogan currently used in the district to advertise Marzahn-Hellersdorf.

And the image offensive shows some success: low rents, good infrastructure and the many green spaces attract young families. And creative people have also discovered Marzahn-Hellersdorf for themselves, such as the artist’s colony Tacheles, which had been active on Oranienburger Straße in Mitte for more than 20 years until their eviction in 2012. The oversized, rusty iron “Tacheles” letters can now be found on an area of the Alte Börse Marzahn. Besides studios, workshops, offices and rooms for events, there is also a café, a restaurant and a beer garden where beer from the in-house brewery is served. Cultural events, flea markets and live music draw visitors to the heritage-protected building and fill it with life.

The district has more to offer than its prefab buildings. The recreation park Marzahn, for instance, with the “Gardens of the World “, that draw visitors with die largest Chinese garden in Europe. There will probably be even more in the future, because the area will be the venue of the International Horticulture Show 2017. And the Wuhletal with its 15 kilometres of hiking trail and a lot of water also invites people to come and relax.

Away from the high-rise buildings, the district also still offers plenty of tranquillity in the old villages of Kaulsdorf, Biesdorf and Mahlsdorf. Town houses, single-family homes and large villas dominate the picture away from the bustle of the big city – and remind people of the times before the first earth movers arrived.

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Contact Person

Tobias Bajtel

TELEPHONE +49 (0)30 887 742 50

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