What is SEZ Akt

: The owner of the SEZ is suing the Berlin Senate for coercion

The rule, according to which building owners in the capital are to be included in the costs of urban development, has not only supporters. Since the so-called Berlin model of cooperative building land development was adopted by the Senate in the middle of last year, criticism has not diminished. The model stipulates that in certain new building projects every fourth apartment must be offered at affordable rents. The goal is affordable housing across the city. In addition, builders should share in the costs of the social infrastructure, for example to finance daycare centers, schools and green spaces.

In protest against these demands, the first investor has now given up on his project. The client, who was planning 250 apartments on the Cuvrybrache in Kreuzberg, among other things, withdrew. The 25 percent social housing required by the Senate was too much for him; he had calculated with ten percent cheap housing. Now he wants to reactivate old plans for a commercial settlement on the almost 12,000 square meter area between Schlesischer Strasse and the banks of the Spree. A reaction from the Senate Department for Urban Development responsible for the planning there was not available by the time this issue went to press.

Entrepreneur speaks of act of expropriation

The owner of the sports and recreation center (SEZ) on Landsberger Allee in Friedrichshain goes even further. The entrepreneur Rainer Löhnitz, who received the prestigious GDR building from the state 13 years ago for a symbolic euro and wants to replace it with apartments, is preparing a criminal complaint against the Senate. The latter had taken on the SEZ planning at the end of 2015, also with the aim of developing a residential area with sports facilities there. But Löhnitz considers the Berlin model, which is also valid for this, to be an act of expropriation. As an investor, he should finance things that are a matter for the state. He accuses the politicians of coercion, taking advantage in office and price gouging in rents.

“If - announced in the Berlin model - building applications are not processed, if investors refuse the compulsion to 25 percent social housing, that is clearly compulsion," says Löhnitz. And if investors then sell part of their apartments to municipal housing associations in order to achieve the required social quota, this is taking advantage of the office in favor of third parties.

Löhnitz: "Senate members sit on the supervisory boards of the housing associations, to whom they cobble projects." In order to work profitably, builders who would be forced to finance schools and daycare centers would have to set the rents for the remaining 75 percent apartments high. Löhnitz calls it “price gouging”, making the Senate jointly responsible for the rising rents.