"We came here in 1990 (…) with the idea of breathing life into this wasteland."

Moritz Hillebrandt, 2021

Who are Heike Püschel and Moritz Hillebrandt?

The goal: Breathing life into wasteland

A player in the city

Metropolis Berlin

2000s: Building land along the River Spree

Building at the East Side Gallery

Entertainment and a monument

A small town on Mercedes Platz

Neighbourhood support

Heike Püschel and Moritz Hillebrandt work for the US consortium Anschutz Entertainment Group Development GmbH (AEG), which bought the land between Mühlenstraße and the railway in 2001. The group built a large, 16,000-seater hall in the centre, today’s Mercedes Benz Arena. Moritz Hillebrandt from West Berlin worked for AEG at the time. Now head of company communications, he recalls the group’s objectives of enlivening the wasteland and building an arena to act as a "catalyst" for development. Heike Püschel came to Berlin from Münster and is responsible for Mercedes Platz. She says it is important to involve the neighbourhood in development, although she concedes that a neighbourhood can only evolve from within.

"We mark a contrast to what is here. And that is Berlin, too."

Moritz Hillebrandt,2021

Contemporary witnesses