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Central library could move into Quartier 207

Zentral- und Landesbibliothek

Shelves full of books stand in the Berlin Central and State Library.

Berlin's Senator for Culture Joe Chialo (CDU) has proposed a new location for the Central and State Library (ZLB) to the Culture Committee of the House of Representatives.

According to Chialo, Quartier 207 on Friedrichstraße, which at the moment houses the Galeries Lafayette department store, is the most suitable location. The head of the ZLB, Volker Heller, commented positively on the senator's proposal.

Around 35,000 square meters for the ZLB

Chialo called his move a "strong sign of new beginnings" for Berlin. "The site offers ideal conditions for a contemporary library in a metropolis of millions, right in the heart of the city," the senator said. With four basement floors and seven upper floors totaling 35,000 square meters, the building is the right size, although slightly above the identified needs, the press release added. Chialo stressed that the building complex would be ready for occupancy more quickly and would be more sustainable than new construction. In committee, he mentioned that the "Galeries Lafayette" should move out in 2024. The cost of the proposal has not been discussed yet. He said the idea of alternative use had been developed with Quartier 207's owner, real estate firm Tishman Speyer.

"This is an opportunity of the century for Berlin!"

The director general of the ZLB showed enthusiasm over the idea: "This is an opportunity of the century for Berlin! Having the Berlin Central and Regional Library on Friedrichstraße is a really good proposal." He added that Quartier 207 fully meets the requirements for the use of the space. The only drawback: "Only the ZLB's outdoor stacks, currently located in Westhafen, would have to continue to operate." Heller added that a quick solution for the ZLB was urgently needed in view of the overused infrastructures in the previous buildings.

Current locations too small and in need of major structural repairs

The press release from the Senate Department for Culture went on to say that the two locations on Blücherplatz and Breite Straße had become too small, the structural condition was dilapidated and the need for repair was enormous. Originally, the location on Blücherplatz was to be expanded, something the previous Senate advocated for in 2018. Last year, however, the project was put on hold for financial reasons.

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 30 August 2023
Last updated: 30 August 2023

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