Further Renovation in the Works Part of the building is being rented by an art gallery, which is currently housing an exhibition by British artist Mike Nelson. But after the show ends on Oct. 13, Moritz plans on closing the building down again to draw up plans for further renovation, budgeted at about €1.7 million ($2.2 million) and due to start by the end of the year. One of his ideas is to turn it into a mixed-use art gallery and temporary residence.
Returning the building to its original use as a cabaret theater and restaurant, however, isn't feasible, he says. Its cramped surroundings and close proximity to residential buildings present a logistical nightmare. But Moritz does plan on bringing back at least some of the interior's original feel, and continuing to dig into the building's past.
"We would be ecstatic if someone turned up with an old menu from the restaurant or a program from the theater," he says.
Moritz is careful to distinguish his firm from the many other real estate developers in the German capital, who are often despised for their big building projects that some residents believe push up property values and trample on the city's alternative vibe. He says Moritz Group goes after the most complicated and ambitious properties and tries to flip them for better use -- in this case, something well within reach.