The plot of real estate at Leipziger Platz generally referred to as the Wertheim site has come another step closer to development. It is one of the major properties in the heart of Berlin remaining to be constructed upon. In September of 2007, ORCO Germany and the Berlin Senate Administration for Urban Development initiated an urban design competition for a master plan for this prestigious and well-known property. On 18 March, 2008, the jury awarded first prize to the design by the Berlin-based architectural firm Kleihues + Kleihues.
ORCO Germany S.A. purchased the undeveloped plot of real estate at Leipziger Platz in late 2006. Up until 18 March, it was not possible to develop the site since its ownership status had not been resolved in legal terms. An urban design competition was begun in September of 2007. Its objective was to prepare an architectural concept as part of the urban planning context in order to obtain a master plan that can actually be used to build on this property at Leipziger Platz. In the course of the "diskursives Gutachterverfahren" procedure (meaning that participants are specifically invited by the organizers and are given the opportunity to present their designs in a colloquium), nine architectural firms known in Germany and abroad met with the members of the jury, the owner and with other experts involved to discuss the task at hand as well as the results of their work. In the course of several such colloquia, the project was subjected to review from many different perspectives. On Tuesday 18 March, 2008, the jury and experts held one final meeting and then awarded first prize to the draft master plan submitted by Kleihues + Kleihues.
ORCO Germany is planning to provide for the following individual usages on the site: 55% for shopping and entertainment, 30% residential, 15% for office spaces and 760 parking spaces. Now that the competition has been concluded, the more specific plans for the new development will go forward, which will be done in cooperation by the owner and the Senate Administration. The construction is scheduled to begin in spring of 2009 and is planned to be completed in mid-2012.
The urban design competition was structured as a discursive procedure. Nine architectural firms were invited to participate. The following expert judges were present at the jury meeting: Prof. Christoph Langhof (Chairman), Langhof Architekten, Berlin; Thomas Baumann (revision phase), Berlin; Christoph Sattler, Munich. The following acted as non-expert judges: Rainer Bormann, ORCO Germany S.A., Berlin; Regula L