The completion of the shell construction for around 100 apartments in Altglienicke was celebrated with a topping-out ceremony on Friday. What is special: Refugees and other people should be able to live in equal measure in the residential area on Hassoweg/Nelkenweg.

It is planned that these apartments will be available to refugees from June 2023. A total of 245 apartments are to be built on the site. About a third of this is funded by the state of Berlin and rented to holders of a housing entitlement certificate, according to the state-owned housing association Stadt und Land, which is realizing the new building. The project should be completely finished in the second quarter of 2024.

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Berlin’s governing mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) said at the topping-out ceremony that it was important for apartments to be built for refugees on the one hand, but also for all Berliners on the other. “I wish that at some point we would no longer say that one is for refugees and the other for other people. These are apartments for Berliners.”

Tenant Protection State Secretary Radziwill emphasized the special nature of the mixed residential area. “We learned from 2015 that we shouldn’t just provide a room, but should offer such a level of living comfort that people can settle in here.”

In the run-up to the project, there had been protests from the surrounding residents since 2015, reported Treptow-Köpenick’s district mayor, Oliver Igel. “We have to explain to people that we don’t differentiate between people.” It was agreed that one did not want large accommodations in which over 500 people were housed together. “We want to live integration and that means that people of all origins live next door to each other.”

The 105 apartments are so-called modular accommodation for refugees, for which an accelerated procedure applies due to a special federal regulation. When asked whether she was in favor of expanding the special regulation for general housing construction, Giffey told the Tagesspiegel that basically everything that contributes to planning acceleration and simplification is good. “We will also use the opportunities we have from the federal government.”

However, participation processes would also be shortened in accelerated procedures. “We have the balancing act that on the one hand we have to take the surrounding residents with us, but on the other hand we also want to build quickly.” You have to think carefully about abbreviating certain things.