Berlin Wall to Be Razed for ... Luxe Housing

Petitions spring up to protect East Side Gallery

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 27, 2013 8:42 AM CST

(Newser) – Once again, the Berlin Wall is coming down—but this time, it's so swanky apartments can rise up in its place. And Berliners aren't happy about it, the Local reports. Thousands have signed online petitions against the move, confirmed by an eastern Berlin mayor, who argues that razing the wall will also give access to a planned pedestrian bridge connecting the east and west sides of the city. But the section of the mural-covered East Side Gallery that would be destroyed is, at nearly a mile, the longest remaining chunk of the wall.

It's also Berlin's second most-visited tourist spot, and is covered in more than 100 paintings, notes the BBC. About 1,000 visit it each day on average, according to estimates. Heavy days can see 10,000 visitors. "The longest remaining part of the wall on the former death strip, along with the public river bank, would be completely and permanently destroyed," a petition says. The planned building, set for construction this spring, would be 200 feet high and contain 36 private apartments, which could sell for as much as $900 a square foot.

Tourists walk along the East Side Gallery, a painted section of the Berlin Wall in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Aug. 10, 2012.   (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
In this Oct. 21, 2009 file photo, tourists pass a painting on a segment of the former Berlin Wall, the so-called East Side Gallery.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber. file)
Tourists take photographs of a painting on a segment of the East Side Gallery in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Nov. 6, 2009.   (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
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