Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) said she wanted to “express her joy”, smiled and explained: the Senate Commission was able to get 5,500 apartments off the ground at the end of its third session – from construction projects that have been stuck in some cases for years.

And building senator Andreas Geisel (SPD), who presented the latest projects in Lichterfelde-Süd, seconded: In Berlin there is now a “culture of making things possible”.

An interim assessment, shortly after the Senate decision to set up the Senate Commission in March and one day before the final negotiations on the housing alliance – the government apparently wants to force success. Behind the scenes, both business and political circles are confident that the alliance will be settled on a rather low common denominator – for the sake of the mood.

For the first time in years, eight out of 192 blocked construction projects have made progress again as a result of “political decisions” (Giffey). At the “maximum level of escalation”, as Geisel said, because there are two levels upstream of the commission of governors: an administrative level and a group of state secretaries.

And so, although the building project in Lichterfelde has now been decided by the Senate Commission, several other blockades have already been decided by the upstream committees – in order to avoid treatment in the threatening Senate Commission, as Giffey said with a wink.

[We report weekly from the twelve districts of Berlin in our People newsletter. Free and compact: leute.tagesspiegel.de]

How were the blockages resolved? In Lichterfelde-Süd against nature conservation and the Berlin forests, which wanted to postpone a conversion permit for forest areas for 20 years in favor of the investor, who only wanted to wait two years. And by securing the compensation sum due for sealing the plots with lots of concrete of 1.5 million euros through a guarantee from the investor.

And in Hohenschönhausen, where 1,200 apartments are to be built, two elementary schools with an integrated sports hall will be stacked on top of each other so that there is enough space left for the construction of the apartments. That costs Berlin around 25 percent more because of the better statics required. But that was politically weighed against the urgently needed apartments.

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“In the next few sessions, we’re going to tackle the remaining projects and clear that up,” Giffey said. The fact that blockades of already well advanced construction plans urgently have to be solved is important because of rising construction prices.

Success news from the third major political construction site in terms of housing misery also contributes to Giffey’s satisfaction: the 13 members unanimously agreed on the rules of procedure, the schedule and the meeting dates of the expert commission for the expropriation of large housing groups and even the issues to be dealt with. Even Justice Senator Lena Kreck from the left, a supporter of socialization, said: “The effort was worth it.”