Profitable roof greening: the district has bunker questions

District politicians criticize the non-transparent planning of the roof construction on the field bunker. In a question, they want to know details from the Senate.

A public garden could be built here – if there is enough money to be made around it Photo: dpa

When it comes to public relations, the project planners of the superstructure on the Feldstrabenbunker are actually professionals. But the deputies of the district assembly Mitte of SPD and Greens feel badly informed and have resorted to a rather unusual means: In a district inquiry, they want to know concrete details about the planned roof construction from the Senate. For example, "How many hotel rooms usable for tourism are planned?", "How is the "district garden" to be financed in the long term?" and "Which rooms are made possible for which district use and on what terms?" In this way, the district deputies are taking a certain distance from the Senate – normally, such questions go through members of the Burgerschaft and tend to be asked by members of the opposition.

"It has become clear that there are still a lot of unanswered questions, so that the basis for forming an opinion is not given," said the construction policy spokesman of the SPD district parliamentary group Carl Philipp Schope. Also within the parliamentary groups the opinions went apart. By the inquiry one wants to carry the discussion into the public. Schope criticized that the information about the bunker plans only came to light in bits and pieces. "A lot is already known about the park on the roof, but it took until the dimensions of the interior spaces were explained to us."

Thomas Matzen, the bunker’s leaseholder, wants to build five stories on the bunker’s roof, increasing the massive building by more than half. Inside, commercial use of the newly created space should bring in money to allow free use of the outdoor space – or so the planners present it. The "Hilldegarden" association, which presents itself as an initiative of committed residents, is responsible for the park that is to green the roof and emphasizes the importance of citizen participation and that the aim is to create a green oasis in the middle of the city.

Many residents are skeptical and speak of a "green revaluation spiral"; they fear an uncontrolled volume of traffic and another tourist magnet in the St. Pauli district, which is overburdened by event culture.

The inner areas are to be used commercially. Plans call for an event location called a multipurpose hall, a sports hall, several restaurants, a hotel that the planners call a guesthouse, and areas open to the district where, for example, cooking classes will be held.

The outdoor areas are to be landscaped and include a community garden, an amphitheater, a park and a landscaped ramp to reach the top. Exactly how public the public spaces will be is still unclear.

While the building permit has not yet been issued, positive signals have come from the Senate so far. The cultural authority had even suggested that the city should waive the 2.56 million euros for the future more expensive lease to the leaseholder.

The parliamentary group leader of the Greens in the Mitte district, Michael Osterburg, criticized the previous procedure as non-transparent, since the approval would be negotiated in the building committee, which would not meet in public.

The district chairman of the SPD Arik Willner said, one wanted to position oneself only after answering the inquiry in June contentwise – the past info did not suffice. It is now a matter of bringing together all the levels involved, such as specialist offices, districts and the state level.