Developer vows to tear down portion of Berlin Wall despite opposition

By Sophia Weimer

Published: Saturday, March 2 2013 11:05 p.m. MST

German police officers protect a part of the former Berlin Wall in Berlin, Germany, Friday, March 1, 2013.

Markus Schreiber, Associated Press

BERLIN (MCT) — A property developer behind plans to demolish a remnant of the Berlin Wall to make way for luxury apartments said Saturday he would carry through with the action despite protests.

"On Monday, the work continues," Maik Uwe Hinkel told Berlin newspaper BZ. "We have the permission and think the building is good for Berlin."

Demonstrators on Friday at the East Side Gallery — a 0.8-mile stretch of the Berlin Wall that features some 120 paintings by international artists — prevented a crane from removing a 72-foot section of what is considered to be the world's longest open air gallery.

Among other officials who have expressed surprise at the partial demolition have been the city's culture minister, Andre Schmitz.

But Hinkel said plans for his Living Levels condominium project should not come as a shock, as they had been approved by the proper Berlin agencies and the city-state's Senate.

"The current work can, therefore, not come as a surprise to the people in power in the Senate or the district administration," he said.

Hinkel, of the Living Bauhaus investment group, said that, in addition to providing an access road to the apartments, the demolition would allow for the reconstruction of a pedestrian bridge destroyed in World War II.

Protesters plan to gather today at 2 p.m. at the stretch of the Wall, but observers say that it appears unlikely the project could be permanently blocked.

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