Berlin Preview: The Scene

An eclectic mix of exhibitions, bars, stores, spirits and stats.

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Forever 21 on Tauentzienstrasse.

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Berlin Preview issue 06/25/2013

TAUENTZIEN TANGO: Tauentzienstrasse, which begins at Wittenbergplatz, where it’s anchored by leading German department store KaDeWe, and morphs into Kurfürstendamm just past Breitscheidplatz and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church, has long been Berlin’s most-well-frequented shopping stretch. With the exception of KaDeWe, which in the past few years has established itself as a luxury beacon, Tauentzienstrasse is more midmarket territory, housing domestic and international brands like Nike, Adidas, Zara, Mango, Bershka, Desigual, Vero Moda, Jack & Jones, H&M, Esprit, Quiksilver, Benetton, a slew of footwear specialists, German specialty store retailer Peek & Cloppenburg, and many more.

At 320 euros a square meter monthly (which translates to $475 a square foot annually), according to realtor and property consultant company Comfort, Tauentzienstrasse also commands the city’s highest commercial rents.

The German capital’s tourist boom and the recent renaissance of Berlin West, however, is adding even more wind to Tauentzien’s sails. This month, it witnessed the German debuts of two young fashion powerhouses, Forever 21 and Pull & Bear, not only on the same day, but sharing the same building.

The American chain moved into four floors and 36,000 square feet of a former book store at number 13 Tauentzienstrasse for its Forever 21, Forever 21 Plus, Love 21 and 21 Men’s collections. Pull & Bear, Inditex Group’s very Palm Springs-inspired guys’ and gals’ label, took a more airy and quirky interior design approach on two floors and 7,500 square feet. Neighboring to the left is H&M, while Levi’s — and the start of Ku’damm — is across the street to the right.

“We’ve never actually opened right next to Pull & Bear, but we’ve been next to everyone else,” noted Kristen Strickler, Forever 21 public relations and social media marketing manager. “It creates a synergy. Plus, we think we offer something different. Everyone has their niche.”

Uniqlo is slated to open its first German door in the former NikeTown premises farther down at Tauentzienstrasse 7b, while Nike is said to be moving into Esprit’s two-floor store at number 9. Esprit already opened a second store across the street at number 15.

Bigger still will be Upper West, a retail project of approximately 37,600 square feet now under construction on Breitscheidplatz, a few steps farther along Ku’damm. Due to open in 2016, Jones Lang LaSalle Retail will start officially marketing the project in the next weeks. The focus, said Andreas Kogge, national director and team leader Berlin, will be on “so-called high-street renters.” Observers said these could include the likes of Zara, Gap, River Island and Topshop, which reportedly has been actively seeking space in Berlin.

There’s been considerable activity at that junction already this year. The new chain from H&M, & Other Stories, opened its first German door in April; Berlin’s first Apple store opened in a former movie theater two blocks down in May, as did a fifth G-Star Raw Berlin door nearby.  

— M.D.

NEXT: Spirits of Berlin >>

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