The New Tempelhof Garden City, the formal name rarely used by residents, has approximately 1,000 homes built in the 1920s on curved, tree-lined streets and small squares named for German airmen of World War I.
The houses mostly are two-story row and semi-detached residences, unusual in a city where most people live in fairly bland apartment buildings. They are brick with pastel-colored plaster and stucco facades; roofs are made of ceramic red tiles shaped like fish fins.
Since Tempelhof’s closing, the western Berlin neighborhood has become a thriving real estate micromarket in which prices have risen 50 percent or more and established property agents play a limited role in sales, according to local residents. The increase, while high for a middle-class district in the German capital, actually is not far off Berlin’s average, pushed up in recent years by dramatic increases in the value of lower-class housing. (The Jones Lang LaSalle real estate agency reported a 44 percent rise in average values of the city’s homes between mid-2009 and mid-2012.)
Sellers generally advertise Fliegerviertel homes with suggested prices on the Internet and invite sealed offers from potential buyers — often young, professional families from outside Berlin who want homes in the area.
For example, Locanto.de, an online site, has a post for an unrenovated 130-square-meter, or 1,399-square-foot, house offered at €439,900, or $584,400. It was built in 1920, stands in the middle of a terrace row and comes with 380 square meters of land.
Anna Winger, an American novelist and creator of the National Public Radio program “Berlin Stories,” moved with her family into Fliegerviertel in 2010. They had been living in an apartment in Charlottenburg, a relatively densely populated district also in the western part of the city.
“The proximity of a busy airfield was the neighborhood’s liability,” she said. “But this turned into a huge advantage when the airport was decommissioned and the field was turned into a park.”
Ms. Winger cites good schools, old trees and long-held local businesses as examples of the difference between living in what was West Berlin and in the former East, where almost everything in its trendy residential districts is new.
But “it’s fun to be part of regenerating a neighborhood,” said Ms. Winger, whose 2008 novel “This Must Be the Place” was set in a West Berlin building. “And Tempelhof is a neighborhood with a lot of memories. Some of our older neighbors literally caught the ‘Candy Bombers” gum as children during the 1948 air lift. Now my kids ride their bikes down those same runways. Then again, in Berlin you are always living in a monument to history, one way or the other.”
Potential buyers’ interest in Tempelhof-Schöneberg, the city borough that includes the former airfield and the Fliegerviertel, is seen as part of a widespread revival of the property market in the former West Berlin.
At its heart is the Kurfürstendamm, what was the West’s “downtown” during the Cold War and now is a handsome, wide avenue of grand cafes and generally high-end boutiques. It is in the middle of a real estate boom spurred by redevelopment around the nearby Zoologischer Garten railroad station. A project called Bikini Berlin is scheduled to open there later this year, with 54,000 square meters of retail, cinema, hotel and office space. Opposite the site, a 32-floor Waldorf Astoria hotel opened for business in January.
In Tempelhof-Schöneberg, 4,700 new homes are to be built on the fringes of the former airfield in a project called Tempelhofer Freiheit, with construction scheduled to start in 2016.
But less than two kilometers, or just more than a mile, west of the Fliegerviertel, about 1,300 people already work at the EUREF-Campus, a mix of research institutes, university lecture halls and high-tech companies clustered around a decommissioned gas tank on a 5.5-hectare, or about 14-acre, site. And it is expected that 5,000 people will be employed there when the €600 million project is completed in 2018.
Claudia Wünsch, a public relations consultant in the fashion industry who is originally from Stuttgart, bought a semi-detached house in the Fliegerviertel in 2010.
Full Article – http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/09/greathomesanddestinations/berlin-neighborhood-thrives-at-edge-of-old-airport.html?_r=0