The Facts and Figures that Support Charlottenburg’s Investment Case

(Part Two of Two)

In Part Two of our introduction (Part One here), we reveal who lives in the area and the numbers behind the investment case that highlight why this City-West location is so appealing to real estate investors.

Home to Wealthy Berliners, Creative Students and Young Families

Charlottenburg has always attracted Berlin’s wealthiest and chicest residents, ever since Sophie Charlotte commissioned the stunning Schloss Charlottenburg. Today, the district counts politicians and local celebrities among its affluent residents. The area has previously been likened to London’s Fitzrovia.

Charlottenburg’s high-end villas and spacious apartments are typically larger than the average in Berlin, with many featuring balconies, garden access and cellar space as well. Wide roads and pavements, elegant avenues lined with trees and classic 19th century architecture make this an attractive and refined neighborhood.

Yet, despite constant development in this busy city centre district, Charlottenburg still offers quiet corners of oasis and pockets of greenery, including playgrounds which attract many middle-class families to the area. To the east, Charlottenburg borders Tiergarten Park, a vast expanse of lakes and woodland in the heart of Berlin, comparable to London’s Hyde Park.

Charlottenburg is also an easy commute to the CBD and other prominent employment areas. The Strasse des 17. Juni runs eastwards from Charlottenburg Gate, through Tiergarten Park, to the famous Brandenburg Gate – connecting Charlottenburg with Berlin-Mitte (Central Berlin) in just a 10-minute drive. What’s more, the prime central location of Charlottenburg as an inner-city district inside the S-Bahn ring (train network) means this area is unrivalled in location as well as class.

In addition, Charlottenburg boasts a large student population due to two local universities: the Technical University of Berlin and the Berlin University of the Arts. Combined, they have a population of over 30,000 students.

Facts and Figures: Charlottenburg as an Investment

Charlottenburg is one Berlin’s best-performing property markets. A traditional, mature and middle-class neighbourhood, rather than an ‘up and coming’ district, Charlottenburg is an evergreen location for property investment in Berlin. Every property in the entire district is considered to have a sophisticated, premium and much sought-after address.

As of the end of 2015, Charlottenburg was reported to have a population of over 330,000 (CBRE). A strong continued pattern of population and price means there is a predicted population growth forecast of 6.1% before 2025.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that demand far outstrips supply and value is rare. Land for new builds is scarce in City West locations such as Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf. As of January 2017, there were 460 apartments, either under construction or planned, per 100,000 residents – well below Berlin’s average of 890 per 100,000 residents (CBRE).

Exploring Charlottenburg: a mix of old and new in central Berlin

(Part One of Two)

The traditional neighbourhood of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, named after historic aristocrat Sophie Charlotte of Hanover, Queen consort of Prussia, has long been an area associated with affluence and culture. Ever improving, this district is known for its brilliant mix of old and new, with many residents choosing to live in the area because of the unique combination of rich history and comfortable modernity.

A Long History of Affluence, Culture and Commercial Value

An independent city until 1920, Charlottenburg was then incorporated into Greater Berlin and became known as the ‘New West’ during an era known as ‘The Golden 20s’. At this time, the many theatres, cinemas, bars and restaurants which populated the district gave Charlottenburg the title of Berlin’s leisure and nightlife capital.

This reputation ended with the rise of the Nazi party and the area was heavily damaged in World War II, by both air raids and the Battle of Berlin. However, after 1945, the area quickly regained its influence by becoming the commercial city centre of newly-divided West Berlin.

Charlottenburg Today: A Luxury Retail Destination and Upmarket Residential District

Post-reunification, Charlottenburg is still known as one of the most upmarket areas of the city, with high-end bars and restaurants attracting a bourgeoisie crowd of wealthy residents and visitors.

A shopper’s paradise, Charlottenburg’s famous Kurfürstendamm (often abbreviated to Ku’damm) has been likened to London’s Bond Street and Paris’ Champs-Élysées; the Ku’damm shopping boulevard is packed with designer flagship stores and boutiques, while KaDeWe is the largest department store in Europe.

Aside from being Berlin’s biggest retail destination, Charlottenburg has preserved its historic status as a diverse cultural hub. The area is home to a range of museums, hotels and theatres; an Olympic Stadium from the controversial 1936 Olympic Games; an opera house; Germany’s oldest mosque still in use; and West Berlin’s Chinatown on Kantstrasse, dubbed ‘Kantonstrasses’ after the Canton area of South China.

Of course, Charlottenburg’s most iconic landmark is the picturesque Schloss Charlottenburg (Charlottenburg Palace, pictured above), which is the largest surviving royal palace in Berlin.

A Popular, Established Neighbourhood with a Bright Future

The ruins of Charlottenburg’s Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church date back to the 1890s, but today they stand alongside towering hotels and contemporary office blocks on the Ku’damm. This mix of old and new best defines the character of Charlottenburg and ultimately, Berlin’s ongoing transition from a city divided to a global-minded metropolis that is looking to the future.

Berlin landlords can attract the successful millennial renter with high quality furnished apartments

• As the millennial rental demographic booms, furnished apartments on short term contracts become highly sought after

• Millennials have high expectations of quality and comfort, as well as convenient city-centre locations

• Buy Berlin announces partnership with furnishing experts David Phillips to help Berlin property investors prepare their apartments to a high spec in order to attract short-term, high quality tenants

• David Phillips, based in the UK, is bringing its successful furnishing business model to the Berlin property market for the first time

Buy Berlin, a Berlin-focused real estate agency that offers a complete and personal service to its international and domestic client base, announced its partnership with furnishing experts David Phillips today.

Buy Berlin has long recognised the changing requirements of the Berlin market, with increasing numbers of millennial workers looking for good quality, short term furnished apartments to suit their lifestyle and expectations.

Darrell Smith, Buy Berlin’s CEO who has operated in the Berlin market for over ten years says, “Berlin, like Germany as a whole, has traditionally offered long term rental agreements which, of course, have their benefits in terms of stability. However, this can inhibit the ability for young workers to easily move when their work and social needs change. We developed our Corporate Furnished Service as a way to provide the right accommodation for this demographic and to encourage more landlords to convert their apartments into millennial-friendly homes whilst securing the best rental value they can.”

The furnishing service is unique in Berlin, with the Buy Berlin / David Phillips partnership being the first of its kind in Germany.

Nick Gill, CEO of David Phillips, says “There is no comparable option available in Germany right now, and we are excited and proud to be partnering with Buy Berlin to deliver a service that is badly needed and long overdue in Europe’s most dynamic and evolving property market. Buy Berlin is a visionary and interruptive company in their field, open to innovation and new ideas, so the partnership is a perfect fit.”

The world continues to evolve rapidly. Many of us have quickly become accustomed to instant news, last minute travel and having everything available at the push of an app.

Moreover, whether we are a landlord or tenant, we are looking for convenience, flexibility and quality when it comes to our choices.

Smith continues, “Partnering with David Phillips means it is now easier than ever for Buy Berlin’s property investors to purchase the right kind of furniture for the Berlin rental market and to secure the best rental value in an increasingly competitive market. We can now offer landlords a unique service in Berlin, supplying high quality furniture packages quickly and installed without fuss.”

It may be a boutique real estate agency compared to some of Germany’s big hitters, but a straightforward service is what has set Buy Berlin apart.

Smith concludes, “We are committed to continually working on behalf of our clients to make property investment as easy and as successful as possible, and this extends to understanding what the best Berlin tenants want. This service sits alongside, and enhances, our entire suite of real estate services and we look forward to both landlords and tenants benefiting from David Phillips’ exceptional furnishing services.”

Investment in Berlin startups jumped by €1 billion this year, study shows

Venture capital investments in German startups hit a record level in the first half of 2017, with Berlin seeing a huge rise in funding for its startup scene, a new report shows.
Funding rounds for startups in Germany and the overall value of funding hit record levels in the first six months of this year, a report released this month by professional services firm EY reveals.

Investment Capital Berlin - Source: EY

The total number of investments in German startups rose by 6 percent in comparison with the same period in 2016, to 264.

But the really explosive growth was seen in the overall size of investment. In the first half of this year, €2.163 billion of investors’ money went into startups, an increase of roughly €1.2 billion in comparison with the first half of 2016.

That growth was mainly driven by the e-commerce sector. At €939 million, over 40 percent of overall funding went into e-commerce. But health, FinTech and software startups all saw significant investment growth.

Link to article

Berlin’s not perfect, but Samsung is right: it’s more fun than London

Felix Petersen, managing director of Samsung Next Europe, reportedly says that his company will not set up its headquarters in London. It’s just “not a fun place to live unless you are really rich”, is the rationale. Instead, Petersen and colleagues will set up shop in Berlin, hoping to find a home that is both far more enjoyable and affordable.

Club in Berlin - Photograph: Christian Jungeblodt for the Guardian

As a Berliner, I can give Petersen some idea of what he can expect.

Certainly, there are things to say about London, where I lived for 14 years before moving to Berlin. The last time I was there, very recently, a signal failure saw the cancellation of all trains between Paddington and Slough in the very middle of rush hour. No rail replacement bus services were arranged: people were simply expected to trek home with the aid of suddenly exorbitant taxi fares. For one of the most expensive transport systems in the world, there didn’t seem to be much bang for your buck. It seemed to be a fitting metaphor for a town apparently desperate to become Geneva-on-Thames.

One can see why Petersen’s eye might settle on Berlin, for it has long been seen as a mecca for tech startups, with its lower costs allowing them to recruit and retain young talent. Samsung’s arrival may mark a greater maturity of that market, allowing younger companies to rebase in a capital more easily accessible than London or San Francisco.

Petersen and colleagues will find much to love in Berlin. There are parks, lakes and forests within a short train ride, nightclubs on which the sun never sets. There are theatres, food markets, streets of endless bars.

. . .

Link to the article

The party city grows up: how Berlin’s clubbers built their own urban village

What if a city allowed a huge regeneration project to be led, not by the wealthiest property developer, but by the club owners who put on the best parties in town? With the opening of Holzmarkt, Berlin is about to find out

For the first decade of the 21st century, the industrial wasteland between Berlin’s Ostbahnhof station and the river Spree was earmarked for a huge urban regeneration project – one that would show that the German capital could keep up with London and New York. Where flowing water had once marked the divide between communist and capitalist spheres of influence were to be a phalanx of high-rise blocks made of shiny glass, some of them 80 metres tall, containing luxury apartments, hotels and offices.

But tomorrow, that same 12,000m2 patch of land will open with an altogether different look: an urban village made of recycled windows, secondhand bricks and scrap wood, containing among other things a studio for circus acrobats, a children’s theatre, a cake shop and a nursery where parents can drop off their children while they go clubbing next door. There’s even a landing stage for beavers.

The Holzmarkt development is the result of an unprecedented experiment in a major world capital: what if a city allowed a new quarter to be built not by the highest bidding property developers or the urban planners with the highest accolades, but the nightclub owners who put on the best parties in town?

. . .

Link to the article

Entrepreneurs, Academics & Entrepreneurial Academics succeed in Berlin

With Berlin’s plethora of life science research and academia, opportunities abound for biotech entrepreneurs. Here’s how the city bridges the gap between science and business!

So much research, so many opportunities for academics and entrepreneurs. Berlin boasts 35 large research institutions focused on life sciences, and around 130 hospitals — including Europe’s largest and most renowned university hospital, Charité. The research clout of Berlin described through quantity is impressive on its own, and the city has the quality to match.

Two German institutions dominating the Nature Index as some of the most prolific publishers in the magazine count with institutes in Berlin: the Max Planck Society, number four on the list, claims Institutes of Infection Biology and Molecular Genomics, and the Helmholtz Association, number eight, has the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine. In fact, our editor, Evelyn, was inspired by Berlin’s top-notch research to move here from New York City for a PhD in chemistry and chemical biology at the Freie Universität!

. . .

Link to the article

WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT BERLIN AFTER A DAY OF MEETUPS

Berlin is the fourth largest Meetup city in Europe and one of its fastest growing cities globally. Madhvi Ramani spent an entire day Meetup-hopping to gain a unique view into Berlin and its inhabitants.

It’s 8:30 a.m. and I’m riding the U-Bahn. It’s crowded – at least, as crowded as it gets in Berlin. Everyone is able to hang on to a few inches of personal space as well as their dignity. Still, their rush hour demeanours are familiar: harassed, grim, preoccupied with smart phones and tablets.

I feel smug in my yoga pants, because my day promises to be anything but monotonous. I’ve signed up to an entire day of Meetups – events organised via the social networking website that brings people with similar interests together.

Since the site’s 2002 launch in New York, Meetups can be found all over the globe – but for some reason, Berlin is one of its fastest growing cities. Since its first Meetup was mooted in 2008, it has become the fourth largest city in Europe. What does that say about the city? I’m here to find out.

( . . . )

This, the React Native Meetup is the biggest I’ve been to all day, with almost 300 attendees. Tech Meetups are a popular way for developers and designers to network, and are heavily linked to the city’s burgeoning start-up culture, of which Zalando is one of the major successes. Nearly 30 per cent of all Berlin Meetups are now tech-related.

Officially we’re here to listen some presentations about using React Native, an open-source JavaScript library. Most attendees, however, seem more interested in the boxes of free pizza that are up for grabs. I cram slice after slice into my mouth as my neighbour says that the pizza provided by the Meetups of Berlin-based online bank N26 is better. Some people, it seems, are here with a single agenda – and I might be one of them, as I notice the curiosity and openness I started my day with are gone. As the speaker from Soundcloud begins to talk about using the framework for app prototyping, I lose interest and wander off to the loo.

. . .

Link to the article

Germany Is Building a Wall to Protect the Berlin Wall

An effort to limit damage done to the Cold War landmark by tourists.

Souvenier-seeking tourists have done serious damage to the Berlin Wall, leaving Germany with no choice: A wall in front of the wall will be erected in summer 2018, to protect the landmark structure from further vandalism, reports the Art Newspaper.

This isn’t the first time the idea of a protective barrier in front of the Berlin Wall has been raised. In November 2015, authorities of Berlin’s Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district, home to the “East Side Gallery” section of the wall, which is covered in murals created in 1990, announced plans to erect a permanent protective fence.

The wall, a designated heritage site, was erected in 1961, dividing citizens of West Berlin from the rest of the city and the surrounding East Germany until November 9, 1989. The wall began coming down in June 1990, but parts of the structure were left intact as a monument.

(…)

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Look out, London. Berlin’s startup scene is ready for a Brexit bonanza

Startups that previously looked to London are being wooed by Berlin’s fast-developing scene. But can Germany capitalise on Brexit uncertainty?

At a co-working space on Friedrichstraße, Berlin’s startup economy is getting ready for Brexit. Mindspace’s first location in Germany, opened in April 2016, sits in the heart of Berlin’s Mitte district, flanked by high-end fashion shops and perfumeries. Its walls are adorned with hand-stencilled signs directing people, in English, to the “yummy kitchen” and “awesome offices”. It feels exactly like the startup scene in London – and that’s deliberate. What London stands to lose after Brexit, Berlin hopes to gain.

(…)

“Berlin is starting to be considered as a startup ecosystem, particularly targeting the tech startup scene,” says Nijvenko. The company’s “official language”, she explains, is English. All signs, documents and posts on the community’s private Facebook group are auf Englisch. Its co-working spaces bare an uncanny resemblance to a template Silicon Valley, faux-hipster style – superfluous clocks; plush, well-worn armchairs; Communist-era televisions; and work from local artists adorn almost every remaining inch of space. Around 760 members pay between €250 and €450 per month (£215 and £390) to use the space, with the two additional sites in Berlin upping capacity to more than 2,000 people. Business is booming. “The political incentives right now are targeting the startup ecosystem. Berlin is very affordable, so for startups it’s the best place to be,” says Nijvenko.

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