Event organised by crenet e.V.: RLI takes part at a guided tour through the Berlin International Congress Center (ICC)
On Thursday, October 1st, 2020, Claudia Austen, our transaction and asset manager, and Pablo Moll, intern at RLI, took part at a guided tour through the Berlin International Congress Center (ICC), which was closed in 2014, at the invitation of crenet e.V. RLI has been a member of crenet e.V. for years and likes to use the crenet network for professional exchange on one or the other occasion.
The ICC was once one of the largest convention centers in the world. Only memories seem to remain of the former fame. Shut down since 2014, this colossus is now in the middle of the Berlin district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and is exposed to time and weather. The last major task of the property was to accommodate around 750 refugees who found accommodation there between 2015 and 2017.
If you stand in front of the building, it is difficult to imagine what awaits you inside. Upon entering, however, it quickly becomes clear that no money was saved in the interior design and materials; the construction was also completed on time within 5 years (1975-1979). If you only see the aluminum facade from the outside, you immediately feel as though you have been transported back in time inside
In addition to mechanical display boards and clocks, suitcase drop-off stations and information counters, the flawless interior, which appears as good as new, is immediately noticeable. If you hadn’t known it better, you might think the building is still in operation and will open its doors to visitors the next day. On a gross floor area of just over 250,000 m², there are rooms with 20 seats as well as entire halls that can accommodate 3,000 (hall 2) up to 5,000 (hall 1) people.
The style, which was highly modern during these times, is also reflected in the construction of the building. Entire stands could be moved with chains and hydraulic drives to make space for all kinds of events.
But what were the reasons for shutting down the whole project in 2014? Right from the start of construction those responsible were aware that it won’t be possible to cover the costs of the asset through congress events, shows, concerts or even tennis tournaments. In addition to 80 halls and conference rooms, the building has huge traffic and foyer areas, which cause high operating costs. The constant availability of the technical systems, the extensive safety equipment and the maintenance of the building fabric to maintain high quality standards led to continuously rising costs. In addition, after years of use, renovation work was necessary, which would ultimately have blown the financial framework.
The only operational management up to know are energy and maintenance costs for maintaining fire protection and the operational systems necessary for shutdown operations. In addition to the impeccable quality of the building and the nostalgic atmosphere inside, one question remains unanswered: What is the future use of this monument?
More about crenet e.V. and the program of events at crenet.com.