By Stefan Peter
Ösi billionaire René Benko (46) and his struggling Signa group have promised the capital many great projects – but will these ever be implemented? “The business model is on the verge of collapse, there is a risk of long-term building ruins in a prime location,” fears Green Party politician Julian Schwarze (40).
The Left and Greens demand that the collaboration with Signa must be ended quickly. At the request of both parties, the House of Representatives discussed the issue. “While other cities have long been preparing for the possible bankruptcy of Signa, the Senate wants to continue selling our city to Signa,” said Schwarze. “It is now clearer than ever – Signa is not a reliable partner.”
The company did not invest 45 million euros in the Berlin department stores as promised. Black: “Berlin must not become an insolvency estate!” Niklas Schenker (30, Left) accused the Senate of being resistant to advice: “Signa has never had an interest in the department store business.”
Signa apparently wants to invest billions in the capital – at least that’s what the announcement says. A 120 meter tall tower, a passage from Rankestrasse to Kudamm and the demolition of the Wertheim building are planned in City-West. Everything should be ready in 2029, but given the real estate company’s major economic problems, there are doubts. At Hermannplatz, Karstadt is to be spruced up with a new facade and two towers.
CDU politician Christian Gräff (45) warned against a break with Signa: “What will become of these locations,” he asked. The Greens and the Left only have one goal when dealing with investors: “To talk badly, to talk ruin, and best of all to talk into insolvency.”
Senator for Economic Affairs Franziska Giffey (45, SPD): “The large department stores still have a special appeal. They contribute to the vitality of entire shopping streets.” However, Giffey admits: “Of course we need more information from Signa, more transparency about the financial situation.”