From 1990 until today
Panoramic view onto Alexanderplatz, 2002 photo: Philipp Eder
Even 12 years after reunification the "Alex" remained nearly unchanged.
After reunification on October 3rd, 1990, a fundamental re-evaluation of inner-city areas and their potential for development took place. Together with areas around Potsdamer Platz, Bahnhof Zoo, as well as Friedrichstraße, Alexanderplatz moved into the centre of the debate.
Most of Alexanderplatz had been in the nationally-owned possession of the former GDR and after the reunification went over into the possession of the Federal State of Berlin or the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). The buildings were sold by the "Treuhand" – a newly founded institution that worked on commission of the FRG – or were given back to the successors in interest. The prime plots of land on Alexanderplatz were purchased by seven investors and pressed for rapid legal security for their planned investments.
1991 an international competition for urban design ideas had been accomplished for Potsdamer and Leipziger Platz which form a very important gateway between both parts of Berlin. Shortly after that the Federal State of Berlin, in joint cooperation with potential investors at Alexanderplatz, announced in January 1993 an urban design competition for Alexanderplatz. The architects Hans Kollhoff and Helga Timmermann (Berlin), who were awarded the first prize, planned to build thirteen high-rise buildings with a height of 150 metres and perimeter blocks with a total height of 37 metres including two set back terraced storeys on the top. Altogether a gross floor area of 1.6 million sq.m. was planned. The bottom floors of the perimeter blocks were dedicated for public use and in combination with the future design of the square of Alexanderplatz the basis for a city-center with a high sojourn quality should come into place.
After the conclusion of the second stage of the competition in October 1993 and upon the recommondation of the jury the practice of Kollhoff/Timmermann revised their scheme. On June 7, 1994, the Berlin City Government decided to make Kollhoff´s revised scheme of March 1994 the basis for the binding land-use plan I-B4 for Alexanderplatz and its surroundings. The revised scheme foresees only ten of the formerly 13 high-rise buildings and implies the preservation of the existing residential zones at Karl-Liebknecht-Straße and Mollstraße.
In 1999, by signing an urban development contract, the investors at Alexanderplatz agreed with the Federal State of Berlin to realize their projects in a stepwise approach between the years 2006 and 2013. The agreement also obliges the investors to bear parts of the costs for the required infrastructure developments at Alexanderplatz.
In April 2000 the binding land-use plan I-B4 "Alexanderplatz" was constituted as key element of the urban general plan for Alexanderplatz.
After Alexanderplatz had mostly stayed the same in the 1990s, meanwhile construction sites and many already accomplished projects have changed its appearance. At first the renovation of Alexanderhaus was completed and in 2001 the new multiplex cinema "CUBIX" opened its gates. In 2004 began the modification of the department store "Galeria Kaufhof" (accomplished in spring 2006) and the new building of the "ALEXA"-Shopping Mall in Alexanderstraße.
In 2003, the Senate Department for Urban Development carried out the competition "Begrenzt offener freiraumplanerischer Ideen- und Realisierungswettbewerb Alexanderplatz – Mitte" (qualified open international competition for urban and landscaped design ideas Alexanderplatz – Mitte) in order to get detailed proposals for the reorganisation of the open space at Alexanderplatz. The architects Gerkan, Marg und Partner (GMP) in co-operation with WES + Partner were awarded the first prize. The building-costs are shared between the Federal State of Berlin and the investors.
The decreasing demand for real estate since the beginning of the decade led to a reduction in the investor-activities at Alexanderplatz, but this fact has no effect on the firmness of the urban concept of the architects Hans Kollhoff and Helga Timmermann. A great advantage of their concept is the possibility of a blockwise realisation depending on the temporary fluctuations of interest and need.