Google Pulls Out of Berlin

John Hill
30. October 2018
Old transformer station on Paul-Lincke-Ufer in Berlin's Kreuzberg district: aka the proposed site of Google Campus Berlin (photo: Gunnar Klack / Wikimedia)

Google has announced that it is withdrawing its plan to transform an old electric company building in Berlin's Kreuzberg neighborhood into an incubator for tech start-ups.

The project — discussed as part of Oliver Pohlisch's two-part series, "The Urban Strategies of Internet Companies," earlier this year — met with opposition from local anti-gentrification groups. Those groups are cheering Google's decision, both for not moving ahead with the planned project and for making the building available for social service and local advocacy groups.

Nevertheless, Google will not ascribe their decision to the opposition: "An incubator specifically for start-ups was no longer as needed as it was two years ago," they said in a statement quoted in the New York Times. And reportedly their initial goal was "also to open the space up to social organizations," which will take place next year after renovations are done.

The Times article also mentions that "Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has faced opposition in Toronto, where it plans to redevelop a section of waterfront." That project was discussed in the second part of Pohlisch's series, "Toronto Falls into Google's Clutches." Opposition comes with any large plan, more so when a giant like Google is involved. But in the case of Toronto, it looks like Google will get its way: In July, Waterfront Toronto's board agreed to work with Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs to develop a 12-acre swath of the city into a high-tech neighborhood.

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